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You are standing on the piazza of centuries old stucco home looking out over the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The afternoon conversation of the townspeople blends with the clatter of a passing cart and the cackle of scattering chickens. The air is thick with the aroma of prepared meals, fresh fruits, spices and vegetables. The land lies fertile and green. This is Sicily. And this is where our story begins.
Like many Italian family men from small villages, my father, Salvatore Tinervia, wanted more for his wife, my mother Vincenza Tinervia, and his sons, my older brother Giacomo and myself, Giovanni. So, in 1971, the allure of America brought my father’s young family to Detroit where he found work in construction with my uncle Giuseppe. My mother worked as a seamstress. They worked hard and saved until, in 1976, we moved to Grand Rapids.