My grandfather was a man of great ambition and desire. He knew that to gain the opportunities needed for his family, he had to move to Canada. In 1955, on a ship packed with eager Italian immigrants just like him, he was finally making the voyage that he had always dreamed. During the grueling ship ride, he had found something he didn't see much of growing up poor in the small town of Segusta, Sicily. What he found was a brand new 1955 fifty lire coin. Figuring someone must have dropped it, he put the coin in his pocket and kept it.
On one side of the coin, the words "REPVBBLICA ITALIANA" are inscribed on the edge. The face of a man who looks like Caesar is in the center. On the other side, a well-sculpted man who resembles Michelangelo's David appears to be using a hammer and rock as tools to write something down.
The number "1955" is inscribed on the upper-left of the coin indicating the year, and "L. 50" is inscribed on the centre-right indicating the face value. Just looking at the coin brings out feelings of boldness and hope.
I don't know if fifty lire was much in that period in time, but it didn't matter. The coin symbolized the last memory of a nation that had shaped who he was as a person. It symbolized the dream of providing for his family that he had always prospered for. All those feeling represented in a small piece of metal.
I remember the day he decided to give me the coin. He approached me with his distinctive limp, cane in hand, and said dryly, "Don't lose this", in his memorable Italian accent. He put it in my hand and I put it in my back pocket. I...