Only after I grew up and moved away from my hometown of Tonawanda, NY, did I realize and appreciate the Polish and Italian ethnicity of our community.
Now when I get a chance to return, I love to see all the old familiar Polish and Italian names on the businesses, restaurants, and funeral homes (Am I Gone?)
How fortunate to grow up in this tightly knit community! To this day my all-time favorite meal is a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
I’ve started doing the research for a new novel.
The story begins in Manila, in the Philippines, during WWII. My character, an Army nurse, will be among those taken prisoner by the Japanese on December 8, 1941 and interned in the infamous San Tomas prison camp until their liberation in February 1945.
In honor of my beloved hometown Tonawanda, I am going to make my character Polish-Italian.
This will be so fun!
Right now I’m thinking she will have a Polish father and an Italian mother. Just think of the possibilities!
I would love to have my fellow Tonawandans weigh in on suggestions for Polish and Italian names. Have your parents told you any interesting or funny stories about their time during WWII? In the military or in Tonawanda? I’d love to hear them and possibly feature them in the story.
I’m going to be researching Tonawanda in the early 40’s. If you have any cool photos, I’d love it if you could pass them on.
Any and all insights into Tonawanda during WWII would be welcomed. I am excited to get started on this!