Everyone has a story. Some of these stories are good, some are bad, some are memorable, and some are best left forgotten.
In By Any Means Necessary: My Personal Struggles with Good and Evil, Emivita—a baby born in Europe to Italian parents, a child who moved to America, and a woman who struggled to build a better life in her adopted country—shares a lifetime of her stories. She shares the confusion of beginning a new life in a new land, the thrill of first love, the pain of abuse at her mother’s hands, her fascination with testing traditional gender roles, vacations, college, lifelong battles with violent impulses against herself and others, a complicated marriage, motherhood, depression, and more.
Emivita’s life has been one of struggle, pain, and growth, and her only concern is the footprint she leaves behind. But through it all, she has always felt deep compassion for animals. She cares about how her actions will impact the future of both man- and animal-kind alike. A vocal advocate for animal rights and welfare, she works to enhance our understanding of compassionate care for the creatures in our lives.
Hers is a very human life lived By Any Means Necessary, and her story is still being written.
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By Any Means Necessary
My Personal Struggles with Good and Evil
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Emivita
All rights reserved.
Molding into the establishment
I want to first give you a snapshot of the times leading to my arrival on this rock we call earth. It was perhaps around the late fifties when my biological mother Luciana Scordato found herself struggling to survive within her homeland of Catania, Sicily and forced to make some life-changing decisions. Records reveal she had begun traveling north, hopping a boat onto the coastline of Southern Italy and continuing her travels until she made it through West Germany in search of steady employment. I never figured out why she trekked so far inland. She finally reached the far western region of West Germany. From talking with elders living in similar hard times, it was presumed that work was scarce for a female foreign national in search of a safe haven and steady wages. The area she fled must have posed some threat to a single Italian woman traveling through hundreds of miles of unfamiliar territory until she finally settled in a region known as Saarbrucken around 1959.
While settling within the small town of Dillingen off the Danube River, she initially conceived two children. Those particular newborns later found themselves in rather unique chains of events as you will see further on in the book. I can only visualize what she may have been faced with throughout the time I was a newborn and up through my third year of existence whereby I, along with my baby brother, was adopted out then. Opportunities from the late fifties through the beginning of the sixties were scarce and it was very tough to make ends meet for initially a single woman, and later the mother of two who had to survive during a post World War II era.
Historical documents revealed that my mother's hometown of Catania was the principal location of many crime bosses that controlled much of the region and established their large families along the fertile coastline with key members of their association known as the Mafia. Many of those criminal networks situated themselves throughout regions of both Sicily and Southern Italy. Upon further investigation, the Mafia apparently was responsible for taking over many of the construction companies throughout Europe and the surrounding regions after the war leaving many devastated communities vulnerable to internalized corruption. The fragile provinces surrounding Catania, notably the town of Vizzinni was an area hit especially hard during intermittent skirmishes that occurred during the war leaving many of the residence there to face years of economic devastation. The greater part of Catania citizens were very poor. Few found work within the fishing and farming industries along the eastern coastline of Sicily. Some civilians either reluctantly or by free will opted to form alliances with newly formed criminal enterprises to keep afloat. Residents living in extreme poverty commonly fell to the Mafia's harsh monopolies to survive hard times or stay in businesses they had already established for themselves. Several Mafia leaders were prevalent within the small town of Catania, Sicily where my mother grew up. There were basically two classes of citizens in Catania; the impoverished innocent laborers and the criminally wealthy ranks. Though no recordings of any spouse, Luciana may have lost a husband or mate by any number of reasons during those tough years; war, famine, or disease and perhaps never anticipated having to trudge alone to a foreign country in search of work as a single woman in her thirties. Many Italian citizens were either displaced because of the post war economic opportunities developing in West Germany or escaped from criminal tyranny within the tiny island of Sicily. She was one of the immigrants who decided to leave. As an Italian refugee, she worked wherever she could. Saarbrucken was one of the many German regions that was recovering from the Hitler era and rapidly growing into a productive town whereby numerous assembly plants and factories were flourishing. Many included industrial, engineering and electronic commerce. Luciana decided it was in her best interest to settle in the ever developing industrious town of Dillingen. She settled into a life of hard labor and meager wages that sustained her throughout the rest of her life.
Incomplete records revealed there may have been other children before my brother Vincenzo and me. I could not however, gain any definite information as to their whereabouts or background. It was told to me that their father was of Sicilian decent and those children may have remained in Sicily within a larger network of connected families around the towns of Vizzinni and Catania. Luciana never married the fathers of any of her children that were born prior to 1962. She decided to adopt two of her children out that were born during the years of 1961 and 62 due to apparent economic woes. She eventually married a German citizen and bore her last two children in 1964 and 65. Her husband of seven children from his past marriage remained with her until his untimely death somewhere in the early seventies; their children totaled nine that at least survived to adulthood. It was rather a late discovery for me to find out about all those additional children from different lineages so I had difficulty retrieving too much information about my family genealogy. Up to this point, I found out most of my mother's children were now deceased and the few perhaps still out there could not be located as of yet.
I came into this unfamiliar world innocently kicking and screaming in the harshest month of winter; late February of 1961. Born in a town between the Danube and Brenz rivers, I greeted the world with my curly brown hair and blue eyes while created yet another mouth for my mother to feed. I, Alessandra Scordato, lunged out into the hands of a local midwife; quite common during that era. I may have been conceived from either a German or American man while she was working between the towns of Dillingen and Bechingen, Germany. Looking at the few old photographs I uncovered, my features didn't give me any indications of an Italian ancestry. I was unable to find any records of my father to disprove any origins otherwise. All I knew was that my birth certificate had my Sicilian mother's name and hometown typed in very clearly. The few documents I did find were vague or incomplete which made it difficult to accurately determine my full lineage for certain. It was however, easier to ascertain where my mother's side of the family came from.
During and after the war, it was common practice for many seasonal laborers to leave their young children with someone while the struggling parents were gone for weeks at a time working in fields or factories. My mother relinquished me into the hands of nuns working a local orphanage on the outskirts of town while she spent weeks at a time working away in a factory to make ends meet. As a result, the bonding between her and I was compromised since she did not see me for weeks on end. My early development was left in the hands of the nuns running the orphanage while Luciana was resolved to take work elsewhere. She sacrificed my early mother-daughter bonding to ensure I would survive. To exacerbate her situation, she became pregnant only two years later with a little boy, Vincenzo and again, no father in the picture. Luciana was then burdened with two children where their only perception of home was growing up in an overcrowded facility designed to care for orphaned children. Vincenzo and I were soon casted as "wards of the state"; sometimes referred to when a child was left with no guardianship. My mother became saddled with very few options by then thus adopting out her children was her eventual recourse.
Luciana struggled for nearly two years resolute in attempting to keep the family together before the decision to hand over any of her children. Finally, with Vincenzo being barely over a year, he was the first to be considered to be put up for adoption due to her financial woes.
It wasn't long until I became part of a complex adoption process along with my little brother. Luciana came to a decision to surrender both her children but not at the same time. The decision to relinquish me came about during my brother, Vincenzo's initial adoption process. Vincenzo was two and I was already three. A childless couple entered the scene and wonder in on the orphanage compound in 1963 considering adopting a child. Fate drew a young prospective couple into the institution where my brother and I were currently residing. The couple, looking to adopt, was a young army pilot accompanied by his German national wife of nine years. They were considering bringing in an infant into their lives since it was a probability they may never bear children of their own. It was the couple's intent to only adopt one child and had not actually considered adopting two from the orphanage.
The potential adopting couple, Jacob and Margaret Newman, learned of the orphanage located a few kilometers south of where Jacob was stationed at the time. Both of them were inclined to adopt one child at first; either an infant or young toddler. The process took well over a year to complete as they were told by the city officials and became quite demanding. They took some time to think things through and decided the process was worth the effort. Within a short time after only a couple visits to the aging facility, they came across a young male toddler running around the establishment barely old enough to walk yet. He was a dark haired, brown eyed little youngster with a broad face and puffy cheeks. Unlike me, he definitely displayed some Italian characteristics while showing off his sweet demeanor and boyish charm on his perky face readily proved by old black and white snapshots. He was one of many children in the facility that housed approximately fifty or sixty orphans along with some dozen or so displaced children that were there on a temporary status for various reasons. It came to pass the youngster born from a Sicilian mother soon caught the couple's eye whereby initiated the arduous legal proceedings to eventually bring him into their home. The couple embarked upon that new undertaking a bit late in life since they were both well into their mid thirties. My future father was an American soldier stationed northwest of Dillingen in a compound situated near the border of Luxemburg. His wife was born and raised in the town next to the post he was stationed. The couple went through the painstaking process required by two different nationalities; him an American citizen and her as a German national.
The orphanage was an old compound comprised of wood and cinder block buildings deep within the foothills of the Saarland region. The entire compound was surrounded by a broken down wood and wire clad fencing. The facility, as explained by our adoptive parents, was overseen by local nuns within a small village near the city of Dillingen. That exceedingly old and overcrowded institution was where my brother and I learned to crawl, walk and play amongst the several children residing there. It was minimal staffed and managed by funding provided by the nearby municipalities, private donations and the German government. Children were sprawled out in every corner of the establishment. My parents told us many of the children were tethered to wooden playpens and cribs to keep them from running around freely since there was inadequate staff to accommodate the abundance of youngsters. The rooms were large with huge columns holding up the high wood beam ceilings. One could readily perceive that old facility lacked basic repairs and was in dire need of a new coat of paint within the interior rooms of the peeling cinder block walls. Pipes leading to the plumbing were exposed and the place was heated by several old oil heaters affixed to the sturdy brick walls. Large shutters were attached to the exterior that opened and closed during times of severe storms and cold winters. The orphanage was not far from the nearby populated village along the Danube River.
I was the accidental discovery during the adoption process of my brother as it was told by my mother. Right before Vincenzo was about to be taken by our adopting parents, the young couple was surprised to learn that my brother was not alone in the orphanage. It was an unexpected surprise when they discovered Vincenzo had an older sister thus created some life altering decisions for the couple as one may imagine. My mother told me about one of the significant comments she heard from one of the staff that fateful day. She remembered a nun saying in German ... "Bitte, Sagst to deine kleine Schwester Alessandra, aufwiedersehen", simply translated as "Let's go say goodbye to your sister, Alessandra." My future mother said that I came running around the corner with my tiny hand clutched onto another caregiver there with pudgy smiling cheeks and locks of curly brown hair swishing about. I must have looked up at them having no idea that my little brother was about to be permanently taken away from me. Hugging my little brother, I perhaps envisioned as a young child nearing three years old that Vincenzo was going on a little trip for a while like my mom normally did for weeks at a time. I could not have realized the extent of the situation at such a young age. From that incident, my future adoptive mother, decided it was in everyone's best interest to adopt both of us.
Initially, our future father wasn't too keen in adopting two children However; Jacob's wife had a reputation as a very decisive and influential woman in the couple's relationship so they jointly decided to go ahead with adding to the family. It was known by both her husband and their associates after dealing with his wife's manipulative behavior that anything she wanted, she aggressively acquired. She was gaining power even in the early stages of their marriage. Through only minimal effort, my soon-to-be adoptive mother had them hold up the entire adoption process to include both of us. They made a choice to take me in because they didn't want Vincenzo separated from his sister. I also look back on that particular story and wonder if that was some cool tactic the nuns had to convince an eager and sympathetic couple into keeping siblings together back then. It just seemed kind of odd they weren't informed of my existence until almost the end of the adoption process of Vincenzo. It worked regardless if it was planned or not. I was about to get a new home and forever stay with my little brother. No male caregivers were employed at the orphanage so my adoptive father became my first encounter with a male authority figure. It became a rather unique bond that my mother-to-be was later less than accepting of.
During the adoption procedure, I was encouraged to refer to my prospective father as an uncle until the adoption procedure was completed. Strangely, I had no recollection of referring to my new mother as an Aunt though. It was told to me that I also spoke broken Italian with a healthy understanding of German from staying there since birth and my English was basically non-existent. By the time the entire process was complete, it was mid 1964. I was well into three years old and Vincenzo was nearly two. Soon after the adoption, the entire Newman family was transferred back to the states to settle down in Augusta, Ga. It was finally official. Margaret and Jacob Newman became forever known as my mother and father from that point on.
Once arriving into the Newman family as their legitimate children, my new mother claimed that I called my adoptive father, "Uncle Dad" for quite some time. It wasn't until I could fully comprehend he had officially became my dad that I dropped the reference of "uncle." Vincenzo had his name changed to Franklin Scott; my name (Alessandra) stayed the same though most of the time referred as Sandra for short. Our last name, Scordato, was amended to the family name, Newman.
Excerpted from By Any Means Necessary by Emivita. Copyright © 2014 Emivita. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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Table of Contents
ContentsAuthor's notes, ix,
About the Author, xi,
Unit 1: Developing a personal identity,
Chapter one: Molding into the establishment, 1,
Chapter two: Gaining mentally, losing physically, 53,
Chapter three: Defense mechanisms, 66,
Chapter four: Contemplating who should live and who should die, 82,
Unit 2: Relationship, intellect and intimacy development,
Chapter five: Burning the candle at both ends, 93,
Chapter six: Don't float your hopes on a duck, 106,
Unit 3: Comprehending relationships and work,
Chapter seven: Procreation breeds weapons of mass destruction, 143,
Chapter eight: They all descend into her dominance ... eventually, 158,
Chapter nine: Adjustments come as easy as a "hooah!", 165,
Unit 4: Achieving success through challenges,
Chapter ten: Balancing priorities with pleasure, 181,
Chapter eleven: Play enough that you can pay, 208,
Chapter twelve: Awkward encounters reveal extraordinary pleasures (f.o.t.c.), 231,
Chapter thirteen: Building on ethics and training, 251,
Chapter fourteen: Career above commitments, 262,
Chapter fifteen: The domicile I would come to dread, 270,
Chapter sixteen: Kuwait 2000 through "Nine-Eleven", 289,
Chapter seventeen: Trading in the boots to fight the homefront, 313,
Unit 5: Roads toward Achieving Maturation,
Chapter eighteen: Mid-life crisis; on calls and one night stands, 325,
Chapter nineteen: The "Benny Blocker", 358,
Chapter twenty: The Cause and effect, 373,
Chapter twenty-one: Michael, the conqueror of souls, 385,
Chapter twenty-two: Do the ends justify the means?, 397,