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Groovy Highway: Planting the American Dream

Amato Tassa is an ancestor of mine. I believe him to be my great great uncle on the paternal side of my family. He would be my father’s father’s uncle. My granpa, Vincent Amato Tassa’s uncle… I think. Either way, I’m a direct descendant of Uncle Amato.

Uncle Amato emigrated to America from Naples, Italy in 1902 at the turn of the 20th century; along with him he brought a little plant. A tiny fig tree.  The tree was but a mere eighteen inches tall. He had a dream and a plan. He carried the little tree on his long arduous journey aboard a steamer ship headed for America. It was an adventure to a land of opportunity which held endless possibilities unknown to my uncle, but he had hope and he had his dream of a better life. He knew he had to nurture the tree with the utmost care and love until he could plant it in American soil.

When the ship arrived in America, he came in through Ellis Island in New York as most immigrants of the day had done. It was like a rite of passage. His name, along with Granpa Vincent Amato Tassa, has been inscribed on the immigrant wall at Ellis Island. Once here in America, He, like my Granpa, became a United States citizen. He settled in Washington DC, the Nation’s Capital. He planted the little eighteen inch tree in the yard of his new American home in Northwest Washington DC. He was now a United States citizen and he was proud. Uncle Amato was proud to be an American.

Uncle Amato had a dream to move the family to America to provide a better life for them. In just eight short years, by 1910, the tiny eighteen inch fig tree had grown to a massive twenty-five feet with the love and care from my great uncle’s hands. He went on to support the family with the fruit from the massive tree, sharing figs with his neighbors, as well. The tree would bear three to four bushels of figs annually; well enough to take care of the family and realize his dream.  Through hard work and perseverance, his dream had come true.

My Uncle Amato was a great man. An ambitious man. A proud man. I am proud to be related to such a good, hardworking man. A true visionary. I am proud and it makes me happy to share such wonderful family history with you. A true story and a reminder that dreams can come true if we work hard, believe in ourselves and make them happen. Dream big. Work hard… and your dreams will come true.

Until next month, keep the rubber side down and stay groovy. Peace, the Random Prophet.Thoughts? Email me at

If you’d like to read the original article from the Washington Times newspaper, (Saturday, October 8, 1910) you can go online to the National Archives. Here is the link:

– Random Prophet, HashtagWV #102. June 2018.

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