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Wednesday, September 18, 2019
 
 
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(Io sono il padrone della mia casa, ma chi commanda ... mia moglie!)

(I am the master of my household, but it is my wife who commands!)

The past decades have seen many changes in the Italian family of Windsor.

The first generation of the Italian family tended to be more patriarchal. The father was the sole breadwinner of the family. He had authority and it was respected by all the members of the family. He was busy working, trying to support his family. The mother was the centre of the domestic life. Her duties inside the house included: raising the children, homemaking, caring and serving the family. The families were large and they always gathered during holiday celebrations or special feasts. The culture was transmitted primarily by the family. The Italian family had a very active community life; it was a strong family.

Later, in the following decades, the Italian family life began to change. Many women started working outside the home. Italian culture is transmitted primarily by the family, and as a consequence family size started to decrease.

The first generation prefers to speak Italian at home. The second generation, mainly born in Canada, prefers to speak English, but they have good knowledge of Italian or a regional dialect. The parents try to promote the Italian environment from movies, records, clothes, friends etc. The parents always insisted that their children obtain a good

 
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education, raised by proper values, attitude and skills that benefited the family.

But this family background is neither completely Italian nor Canadian. It is an immigrant culture which combines the elements of their parents’ world, Italian culture and selected elements of the industrial Canadian society.

It is not yet possible, however, to formulate a complete view of the achievements of the Windsor Italian community in the last thirty to forty years. Because it is a reality too close to us in time and space, distortions in perspective may occur. It is also a reality which is still evolving. The process of settlement and growth begun in the fifties is as yet incomplete. It may be in its final phase since the community is growing old and is not being renewed by large numbers of new Italian immigrants. This final phase may reach completion when the second generation has completely replaced their parents in the active society. (Walter Temelini, The Italians in Windsor. Polyphony, Vol.7 No.2)

 
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P11117 A&B-Letter of Ilde Rusich on September 18, 1953, to her sister Maria in Italy. Courtesy of Nevi Rusich
 
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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