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February 9, 2014 6:45 AM Subscribe
What card game did my grandfather play on the voyage from Sicily to Ellis Island? Google is not giving me the detail I need.
posted by thinkpiece to Society & Culture (4 answers total)
Family lore has it that my Sicilian grandfather, Joe, who was fourteen years old at the time, won $75 playing cards on the boat over, ferociously protected his winnings from thieves and opportunists along the way, and this money gave him his start in America. He loved playing cards his whole life.
(Adding to the myth, my grandmother, Mary, used to tell the story from her perspective -- she was seventeen, below decks and terrified, having a miscarriage, and furious with Joe for gambling during her distress, but grudgingly, ever grateful (62 years ever) to him for getting them to Little Italy safely.)
I am picturing poker, but can that be right? Does Scopa involve gambling for significant stakes? In my storyteller heart, I want Joe to have played poker with an American deck of 52 cards ...