Interview with Antonia Maria (Ninetta) Ricci

Antonia Maria (Ninetta) Frenza was born in Italy in October of 1926. In 1932, Ninetta and her mother, Assunta Frenza (née Sauro), came to Canada via Ellis Island to join her father, Leonardo Frenza, who came to Canada six years earlier. The Frenza family settled in Montreal, Quebec. Leonardo was a shoemaker by trade and worked sporadically at factories during the Depression. He was active in the Order of the Sons of Italy. Assunta was a housewife. Ninetta talks about living with her neighbours who were well off before moving across the street to a two-room apartment on Cartier Street. In 1940, Leonardo was arrested and interned at Camp Petawawa for 22 months. He worked in the kitchen while he was there. During Leonardo’s internment, Assunta earned money by doing chores for other people and cleaning a church. After Leonardo’s release from the camp, he worked for Tarsales, a shoe manufacturer, and eventually opened up his own men's clothing shop. At age 20, Ninetta married Galileo Ricci, who during World War II, was designated an enemy alien and ordered to report monthly. The couple moved to Dorval and then to Toronto in the late 1960s, because of Galileo’s job. Ninetta finishes her interview talking about some of the people on the street where she grew up: the neighbours that helped them out during her father’s internment and the landlady who almost evicted the family. She also speaks a bit about her family changing their religious affiliation from Catholic to Protestant when they came to Canada.