Coming Alive on North 35th Street
In this memoir, Admiral Narmi relates the trials and tribulations of his fraternal grandfather in fulfillment of his dream of a better life as he migrates from Sicily to America.
Giuseppe E’Narmie (later changed to Narmi) was an illiterate, dysfunctional, alcoholic, Mafia Associate, peasant whose determination and grit enabled him to fulfill his dream of a better life in America and in so doing, establish the Narmi family at 3500 Avenue D in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
This 760 square foot house was continuously occupied by members of the Narmi family from 1916 until 2000 and it was where the author and his ten siblings were born and grew; mostly in extraordinary poverty.
Included in the book are scenes of a horrific hurricane experienced by Giuseppe, his smuggling diamonds into the United States, his witnessing the killing of a sugar cane worker by an overseer, the lynching of a Black Man in Omaha, Mafia activity in the liquor and sugar trade, and extensive discussion of his railroad work as a Gandy dancer and truck gardener. The cruel and seemingly endless Great Depression of the ’30’s receives considerable attention.
In a way, the memoir is an uplifting celebration of the opportunity that exits in America. Giuseppe’s dream for a better life ultimately gives rise to a phalanx of physicians, lawyers, military flag officers, businessmen, successful farmers, stock brokers, and salt-of-the-earth solid citizens.