I am Agustin Pace, a student at Santa Clara University. I would like to take the time to post and share my story as an Italian American so that this platform can be used as a way to collect memories and histories. I hope that through telling my own story, I can inspire others on this page to do the same.
What makes my story different is I wasn’t born in either the US or Italy but in Buenos Aires, Argentina. To this day, that is where my entire extended family lives, it was only my immediate family that ultimately moved to Seattle, where I was raised. Still, Argentina has very strong ties with Italy, with a large majority of the population being descended from Italian immigrants. That had an impact, and much of what makes up Argentine culture and language came from Italian immigration. So, the feeling of “Italianness” is something I am intimately familiar with.
My relatives on both sides would speak regularly of their Italian history. Argentina was seen in the same light as the US in the late 1800s, and I learned stories of ancestors who would move there to find better opportunities and escape poverty. I learned that others moved because of the wars in the early 20th Century. One of my great-grandfathers even tried going to the US first but was rejected at Ellis Island because he had not paid the boat fare. So he was left with going to Argentina, where he met my great-grandmother. Personally, I am a fan of how that turned out, else I wouldn’t be here.
So, my Italian history and heritage played a large role in my life, and I am sure many of you can share the same sentiment. Whether first, second, or third generation, we are all very prideful of our Italian heritage and love to carry our Italian values in our families.
As far as my story in the Santa Clara Valley/Bay Area, it is still quite recent. I was raised in Seattle WA, my whole life, and only spent the last two years here in my time at Santa Clara University, but already I feel the welcome from the community. I started a major in Italian Studies, interned for the Museo Italo Americano in San Francisco last summer, and this summer I am currently interning for the Heritage Foundation. On July 12th, I went to the Villages where Ken and I did a presentation, with myself saying a piece about the Italifornian. That night I met some of the warm people of the community and was glad to learn so many also attended Santa Clara University! I finally spent the last few weeks working in the library side-of-things, looking over and exploring some other archives to learn more about the history of the community in the area.
I’m still young, and my journey in the area is still coming together, so my stories are still new or yet to be told. I am interested in hearing all about yours. How did your family get here? How was your upbringing? What of your heritage do you treasure most? Just a few guiding questions for you all.
Thank you for taking the time to read, and have a great summer! I may see some of you at the Festa the weekend of August 5-6th if you plan to attend.
2022 Family Photo - I am the fourth from the right