Triangle Fire Victims’ Families Gather To Affirm Ongoing Legacy – Forward.com
from the article:
The Cherry Street connection
Earlier on March 25, descendants of Triangle victims marched down the streets of Lower Manhattan, carrying handmade shirtwaists (blouses) with sashes bearing the names of the dead. Mary Alice Del Castillo of Baldwin, N.Y., in Long Island’s Nassau County, bore a shirtwaist with the name of her aunt, Josie Del Castillo.
Another Long Islander, MaryAnn Lupinacci, approached her. “Are you related to Josie?” she asked.
“Yes,” Del Castillo responded.
Lupinacci told Del Castillo she was the niece of Josie’s best friend, Santina Salemi, who also died in the fire. In fact, their names were on the same tombstone. The families had a lot of catching up to do.
As it turns out, Lupinacci’s cousin Loo Miano, of the Astoria section of Queens, had been trying to find out more about the mysterious Josie for years. His mother was named after Salemi, so he felt a close tie to the fire.
“I did some genealogical research and tried to figure out this name on the grave,” he said. Both came from Cerda, a village in Sicily. After moving to America, Santina and Josie lived on Cherry Street together with Santina’s cousin Rosie Cirrito, who also perished in the fire. Salemi’s sister, Frances Salemi, survived. As the fire raged, she prayed to God for her safety — and promised that if she survived, she would devote her life to God’s work. She later became a nun.
“I was really thrilled,” Del Castillo said. “We didn’t know that much about Josie.” She first learned about her connection to the fire 45 years ago, when her husband’s great-aunt mentioned it. “We will definitely stay in touch.”