Saturday, January 7, 2017

Celebrating Adolfo Caso's Birthday...and Latest Book, Boy Destined to America! and More!


Happy Birthday Adolfo!

Now We Are Free

Adolfo wrote this book in 1956, as a challenge to Professor Holmes, who, in his creative writing course, made the following recommendations to would-be authors: 1. Write about things you know intimately. 2. Write about things within your reach. 3. Remember grammar can be corrected; a good story is not generally easy to fabricate...
Against all odds, Adolfo completed the manuscript of more than 300 pages, and put it away for a later revision. However, he forgot about it...

until now...



Two weeks after the big movement, before the sun was setting, Adolfo came out of his kitchen to feed the chickens in the barn. When he came in the open, he saw a rubicund sun projecting brilliant and colorful rays across the heaven. Few cumulus clouds travelled the sky along the horizon where the sun's rays penetrated them, making a heavenly picture. He had seen the picture of Heaven on Holy Cards which the church gave out to the parishioners. These were only concepts of artists. Adolfo saw where the so-called inspired men of art received their inspiration. The heaven was as beautiful and fantastic as the cards showed, with all the colors, the clouds, the rays. They were all part of a painting he had once seen in his church. It was one by a certain Fra Lippi who painted "The Adoration of Christ," The air itself was sweet and placid, with breezes pervading through, making Adolfo feel exhilarated, as if something wonderful was about to happen. He stood there motionless, absorbing this strange sensation as he let his soul soar up into the sky to wander with clouds, rays, and emptiness...
~~~






Given the circumstances under which this book was written, i.e., 30 years ago, as a creative writing class activity challenge, I hesitate to say that this is a real biography of the author during his early life. It is written in fiction form and reads as a family drama and easily grabs readers attention... Nevertheless, with the main character's name being Adolfo, it was hard for me not to make the assumption that it was the author's story...

At least until later in the book when a murder occurs. It was then I thought that it might really be the first fictional novel written by the author. I still don't know. What I do know is that, since I have been on-line friends with the author for more than 10 years, I realized how we really have little personal experience and knowledge of that individual...

When I began to read the story, I found myself starting to cry almost immediately. This is the story of a young boy, born into a family that was created by an arranged marriage. The father was cruel and abusive of his new wife right from the beginning and treated her as a second-class citizen. He would, supposedly to show respect to his father, make every cent of the household funds be given to his wife through his father. In my mind, I believed that he was not even interested in establishing a partnership of any sort with his wife...except to bear children. Even then, he was not satisfied because so many of their children were girls...

Adolfo never met his father until he was near his teens. His father had left to seek work in America and stayed...Then he made arrangements for his first son to go. Then two daughters. His wife, Prisca, Anne a daughter and his youngest, Adolfo, were left back in Italy. She was taking care of his parents! While she barely had time and opportunity to visit/care for her own father...

Fictional or not, I hated the father character!

What came next in the book startled me...We are there in the little village, Passo Eclano, where Adolfo lived with his family, when the Germans invaded during the early part of WWII...and through to the time when the Americans had arrived... Notable to me was that, with the naive youth of a boy, Adolfo was soon talking and friendly with soldiers from both sides. With a sweet tooth that later got him in trouble, Adolfo was thrilled when soldiers would offer candy and other gifts, sometimes hoping to get things back that should never have been bargained for, like the young daughters of the village families.

One of the first things I noticed in reading the book was the brilliance of this author, as he was accepting a challenge from his creative writing instructor. Anybody reading this novel will quickly verify that this man was a man born to write. Even as a child, he was already searching for and looking to the external world, at its beauty, at its majesty, and forming his thoughts in words, trying to capture a vision through his words.

The second thing I came to know was that Adolfo was a sensitive boy, prone to become emotionally involved with his surroundings--the good and the bad--and quickly learning to apply his intelligence toward solving issues that his childhood was thrusting upon the happy young boy. It was when he first saw the slaughter of bombs, with pieces of men, women, and children lying about him on the road where he was walking, that readers actually begin to see him beginning, early, to a maturity that he really should not have been facing... We are proud of him as he began to see what was wrong, both within the family and in the world around him. This is a "coming of age" book that no child should have had to go through...

Getting to know his mother, his sister, as well as grandparents and other relatives prepared us, but still proved to be heartbreaking when it seemed that the family remaining in Italy were pushing them out so that they could take the good name and reputation that had been held...and claim it, only to use and abuse it for their own benefit. It was clear that Adolfo and his mother had a deep, close personal relationship with God, even though it seemed that He never listened to their prayers...

The knowledge that the fears and hardships during the war, were far less than what pain and anguish had been poured on the three family members who had been left in Italy, was difficult to understand... just as it is for all of us in family disputes...

The combination of the war, together with an absent father from part of his family being purposely kept in another country creates a provocative, infuriating, story line that tears emotions from readers without hope of being able to understand or put aside how cruel man can be to another man, including family members...

The book closes soon after Adolfo arrives in America where he was destined to be. Anybody doing a computer search about this man will quickly realize what he was to achieve as an adult. It is impossible to not wonder, would he have achieved as much if he'd had another early childhood. This book is engaging, easily able to sink into the story...but there will also be poetic prose where Adolfo explores philosophical issues that affect all of us who live in this world together. A superlative, inspiring story...


GABixlerReviews


And more congratulations are due...

Col. Adolph Caso


Added as Honoree by
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

  • Wall of Honor Location:

    Foil: 12 Panel: 4 Column: 1 Line: 30
  • Wall of Honor Level:

    Air and Space Friend
  • Dedicated Panel:

    Tuskegee Airmen





Col. Retired, publisher of first edition – 1955 – of Charles Francis Seminal work: – the Tuskegee Airmen; co-author of 4th edition of same.
Added: December, 2016!

Adolph Caso, Italian publishing company Executive. Decorated cavaliere Republic of Italy; Fulbright scholar, 1966; Teaching fellow Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1964. Caso, Adolph was born on January 7, 1934 in Mirabella, Avellino, Italy. Came to the United States, 1947. Son of Raffaele and Prisca (DeLuca) Caso. Bachelor, Northeastern University, 1957. AM, Harvard University, 1965. Director binlingual education Waltham (Massachusetts) Public Schools, 1964-1983. President, editor Branden Publishing Company Inc., Boston, since 1983.