5.0 “I Got the Message”

by Elizabeth Stephens

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David preparing for arrival at Ellis Island in New York.

David had a favorite expression. It was, “I got the message.”  When David arrived by way of Ellis Island on July 19, 1950 (yes, he came over on the boat), the relatives in New York picked him up and took him out to an Italian restaurant so he could order in his own language. As David tells the story, one of his favorite, he said he only knew one thing on the menu, “beef steak.”

After the relatives had an attack over the price, he changed his order to spaghetti. For the next 40 plus years, David complained that the dish was really from Sicily, made with red sauce, full of spices, and not to his liking.  He was from the town of Torino in Northern Italy and they loved white sauce.  After his first disastrous encounter with the family, Helen and David settled on the other side of the country.

They first moved to an apartment in Los Angeles and later to a house in Venice, California, complete with canals, reminding him of Venice, Italy.

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Venice, California

According to some old receipts they lived at 1208 Venice Blvd and then bought a house at 2408 Cloy Street in Venice. David worked for a furniture business, doing deliveries. I knew this because it was on my birth certificate and from the following picture.

In the fifties, there were a lot of photos with men showing off their muscles and their cars.    David was no exception, with the addition of a plane as well. He later told me, ‘Make your photos interesting.”

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