Antonio (Tony) Giulione

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“What do you mean Allen Ginsberg’s ‘America’ is not a poem?”

Tony Giulione vividly recalls the poetry class’s heated reaction to his discussion of the Beat Generation’s Allen Ginsberg and the celebrated poem, “America” (1956) at McGill University in 1976. It had been a far cry from the freedom and liberty he grew up with in Mondragone, Caserta, where life in this small seaside town represented a tightly-knit community who supported and cared for its families and neighbours.

Migration and Separation in Italy

In the aftermath of World War II, when postwar inflation drove many men and women to leave their families behind and find work in the Italian industrial triangle, Tony’s father, Giuseppe Giulione headed north to Milan in search of work in the construction industry. Though young Tony had grown accustomed to his father’s infrequent presence, he drew comfort from the constant affection of his mother and his younger brothers, and extended family members like his grandparents, his uncles, aunts and cousins who lived nearby. In the decades that followed Tony Giulione’s arrival in Montreal, his family’s close ties would continue to resonate strongly across time and space.

Creating a Home Across the Atlantic

In 1963, Giuseppe Giulione and Angela Aflieri finally had all their documents in order to immigrate to Canada where Giuseppe’s brother awaited them in Montreal. They settled in Montreal’s East End where the Olympic Stadium would become a defining marker to the city scape in 1976. Tony remembers those early years well—trying to fit in with French-speaking neighbours, attending English school a couple of grades behind his Italian schooling, finding solace and support from his cousins—with whom he had grown up in the same home upon arriving in Montreal, his university years at Concordia University in the company of friends, meeting the woman of his life, becoming a father, and initiating a business enterprise in medical technologies, which would eventually become ProMed Technologies.

The immigration of his grandparents in the late ’60s, followed by the migration of their remaining children signified to Antonio family unity in full circle. He especially recalls the arrival of his grandmother—whom he would visit daily in Mondragone—and the rekindling of her endearing affections, and the food she would always prepare for him. Memories of this nature resurface with his recalling of her arrival in Montreal when he, still just a kid, happily remarked to her: “Nonna, now I can have penne with tomato sauce again!”