Rina Ferrarelli

As Interviewed by Maggie Provost, March 16, 2018

Rina Ferrarelli: In Her Own Words

My Name in Italy I was called Ranutia and my name now as a writer I go by Rina Ferrarelli. My father died when I was 7 years old in an accident and he was one of the people that died 7 people died in that accident and he was 37 years old when he died and I was 7 years old when he died. When my mother was young all her family came to this country her mother and father, her brothers and her sister, even her grandmother and they all came at different times in the 1930s and she was the last one to come and I think she came in 1939- 38. She made sure that my mother was married before she came. So, her relatives, her parents, her mother who was still alive at the time, they made all the papers for us to join them however my mother was stricken with grief, she didn’t care, she didn’t take care of herself, she neglected herself and she contracted tuberculosis and then she died too when I was, at then I was 10. So our relatives then had to do the papers all over again because before they were for my mother and two minor children and my mother was a close relative so we were like on top of the list. It took us five years, so they made the papers when I was 10 years old and we didn’t get the visa to come here until I was 10 *15* years old. So the reason we came was because we were orphans and my mother wanted- we were orphans and we did have an uncle there my father’s brother who was appointed by the courts to be our guardian but our mother had told her family that she wanted them to raise us you see and so this is why we came.

One of the stories is that- schools in Italy don’t have any extracurricular activities they’re just for intellectual pursuit you know they’re just educational and they’re nothing else but when I stayed with the nuns the the girls who boarded with the nuns, we had all kinds of other activities that we did, they would put on plays and I was one of the stars of some of these plays that we put on mainly because I could memorize anything at that time, I could memorize a very long script, some of the old fashioned plays had long long soliloquise and I was able to memorize these long soliloquise you know and no problem whatsoever you know and I had experience on the stage putting on all these plays and usually it was a drama, I was the leading lady of the dramas but most of the time somebody else was the star of the comedies but one time the person was supposed to lead this comedy was not there so they had me be there thing, and I was so upset because I hadn’t had time to prepare, well what happened was, this woman was supposed to be an old woman, because I remember they put flour in my hair and my hair was supposed to be white or whatever you know and I was supposed to be a little bit i guess not quite right in the head and so the fact that I didn’t know anything worked real well for the for this farce that I was in because it turns out that some of the people from the school that was attending in town had come to the play and they were talking about the comedy that I was in. Where I had been very upset the whole time because I didn’t know what was going on I was turned this way and that somebody would always turn me and say you have to go this way and do that or whatever you know. But I was the character it turns out the character was supposed to be this woman who was a little bit confused.