Cristarella Ancestors

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Fioravanti Bruno Joseph Cristarella was born on May 27, 1921, at home at 68 Division St, Manhattan, NY.  He was the first male child born after six females. According to the 1925 New York State Census, 4 year-old Fiore was living with his family in an apartment at 88 Herkimer St in Brooklyn. He was baptized at St. Lucy's Church, 802 Kent Ave in Brooklyn on July 11, 1926.  He attended David A. Boody (PS 228) Junior High School, where he won an award for Leadership.  He attended one year of Abraham Lincoln High School, leaving in 1938 to go to work.  His family nickname was Sonny, but he was also called Fiore

He loved to dance and his partner was his soon to be wife Calugerina Sabella.  They were part of a dancing club called the Avalons. They applied for a marriage license on January 6, 1942, and just about a month later, on February 1st, they married in St Simon and Jude Catholic Church, in Brooklyn, NY and had four children. A month after his first child was born, on February 13, 1943, he joined the army and worked his way up to Staff Sergeant as a clerk typist stateside. His wife joined him in Nevada, but had to return to Brooklyn to deliver their second child, Joseph born in 1945. During his service he attended Auto Mechanics school at the Mt. Rainier Ordnance Depot, Tacoma, Washington; Radio Operations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Mechanics School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Munitions School in Salt Lake City, Utah. For fun he was a drummer in a band and fought Bantam weight boxing. He was stationed in Mountain Home, Idaho in the 802nd Bomb Squadron;  Mount Rainier, Washington; and in Clearwater, Florida; but what he spoke fondly of was his time in the Army Air Force in Tonopah, Nevada. The Tonopah Army Air Field was complete with runways, barracks, mess halls and a hospital, as well as other facilities. It's mission was the training of aircrews flying Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers. He served until November 27, 1945, and separated from the Army at Scott Field, Illinois. After the service he went into business for himself doing electro-plating, die cutting and eventually went into plastic blister packaging. On the April 3, 1950, census, it states he owned his own die cutting business making cardboard forms for pocketbooks. At that time, him, his wife and three children were living with his in-laws at 194 Avenue U in Brooklyn. A few years later, they moved into an apartment on the first floor of a cold water flat in Coney Island in Brooklyn. They lived there about a year, and with the help from his veterans benefits, he purchased a home in West Hempstead, Nassau County, NY and lived there for seven years. In 1960, as the family grew, they moved to a bigger home future east on Long Island in Massapequa. When three of their four children were grown and out of the house, in 1966, they moved back to Brooklyn, renting an apartment to be closer to family.

Fiore died unexpectedly at home in their apartment on East 17th St, Brooklyn on April 8, 1985, The day after Easter, of a heart attack and was buried on April 11th in St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, Nassau County, New York. His US Army Memorial Flag, which was draped over his coffin and presented to his wife, was donated to the Bay Shore Volunteer  Fire Department on Long Island. (Mouse over images for more info.)    

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Concetto Joseph Cristarella had always told people his middle name was Joseph and that he was born on August 10, 1888, in Molochio, Reggio di Calabria, Calabria, Italy. His recently acquired birth certificate says his middle name was Peppino and he was born in Molochio on August 11, 1887. He was one of at least six children born to to Grazia Maria Muratore and Bruno Cristarella. He came to America to find his father who abandoned his family. He arrived in New York through Ellis Island on the ship Florida, (pictured left) out of Naples on November 26, 1906.  He is listed as a shoemaker who was able to read and write.

The family story is that Concetto was waiting for someone who was arriving on a boat (or ferry) when he saw Maria De Luise coming off of that same boat. He fell in love with her immediately and took her out for coffee. He married Maria on July 2, 1910, at the Church of the Transfiguration on Mott Street in Manhattan, NYC and they had 11 children together – Grace on December 5, 1911, who married Anthony Russo, died on November 26, 2010; Concetta known as Connie, on March 27, 1913, married Peter Donnachie and died on March 27, 1913; Yolanda born on May 21, 1914, married Vincenzo Ragone, and died on February 14, 2005; Jenny, who was called Jeannie,was born on February 24, 1916, married Ben Palillo, and died in November of 2018 at the age of 102; Josephine born on February 14, 1918, married Frank Clemente and died on August 25, 1983; Helen on August 5, 1919, never married and died on May 19, 1985; ancestor Fiore; an unnamed daughter born on the night of October 3, 1922, and died four hours later on October 4th; Gloria on March 11, 1924, married Al Pagano and died on January 25, 2006; Joseph on February 28, 1926, married twice and died on April 3, 1991; and Luigi Joseph known as Louie still alive at age 89. 

On March 1, 1921, he applied for US citizenship and was denied for being of Immoral character. On July 30, 1923, it looks as if he applied again. On November 25, 1925, a Judge states on an Order of Court Denying Petition that the Petitioner is man immoral character. No further explanation was given. It could be because he and his family did not attend church nor had anything good to say about organized religion. He probably complained about signing a document that said So help me God in all capital letters! This denial of citizenship caused him to mistrust the government his entire life.

The 1915 New York State Census, states he, his wife Mary, four children and Mary's Aunt Louise Esposito lived in an apartment at 66-68 Division St. in Manhattan and they were still living there in January of 1920. By 1925 the family with eight children, had moved into Brooklyn to an apartment at 88 Herkimer St, where Concetto had a barber shop by a Masonic Temple. Sometime after 1926, Concetto purchased a house on Bayard St. in Brooklyn. That house burned down and the family purchased and moved into a house at 2041 West 6th St, near Marie's parents. From June to December of 1926 Concetto worked for the United Fruit Company as a barber on ships going to and from Havana (Cuba), Limon, Cristobal, and NY. Family lore says that Concetto’s brother Lugi came and stayed with them for a few months, but documentation can’t be found to confirm this. The April 20, 1930, census has his occupation as a barber in a tonsorial shop, and the family was still living at 2041 West 6th St.

Sometime after that he opened a stationery and candy store at 189 Avenue U in Brooklyn, and lived just around the corner on West 6th St. (Mouse over image of candy store on left for more info.) On July 18, 1936, their house at 2041 West 6th St was foreclosed and sold at auction on August 6th. The family apparently moved, a few blocks away, into the De Luise home at 2230 West 6th St. By this time, Maria's parents were deceased, and the other De Luise children had moved away. There is a Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum ad in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, dated November 26, 1940, that list C. Cristarella as the owner of a candy store at 189 Avenue U.

Concetto's World War II registration, dated April 27, 1942, lists his home address as 2230 West 6th St. and his business as the stationery store on Ave U. The description on this document says he was 5'2" tall, 155 pounds with gray eyes and hair, a ruddy complexion and a scar on nose. Sometime after that he and his wife moved into the small apartment behind the candy store.  The April 5, 1950, census has them living in the apartment behind the store with their unmarried youngest son. It states they both are proprietors of the store and their son is a clerk there. Their eldest daughter Grace and her family with her unmarried sisters Helen and Connie were living in the West 6th St house.

Concetto loved opera, cooking-he made a great spaghetti sauce, smoking Italian cigars, and grew figs and basil in the candy store's backyard, which was small but full of greenery. He was a stern father and kept a cat-o'-nine tails hanging on his doorknob. He became a diabetic later in life and died at home on May 10, 1962, of an insulin overdose. It is said when he drank whiskey, he'd double his insulin dosage. He is buried with his wife and daughter Helen, in St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, Nassau County on Long Island, NY. (Mouse over images for more info.) 


Maria Mary De Luise was born on March 31, 1886, in Naples, Napoli, Campania, Italy. She was the first child born to Giuseppe De Luise and Concetta Esposito. Not much is known about her before she came to America except that she had a good life in Naples and wanted to sing opera. There is a story that says she first came to America with her father, but they would not let her in the country because she had an eye problem. She then came later with her brother Alfonso on the Montevideo, which left Naples on July 23, 1905, and arrived in NY on August 10, 1905. She was 19 years old at the time and was listed as a laborer, able to read and write on the ship's manifest.

Five years later, on June 20, 1910, Maria and Concetto Cristarella applied for a marriage license, and they married less than a month lateron July 2nd, at the Transfiguration Church on Mott Street in Manhattan, NYC. On their marriage certificate, they were both listed as living at 5 Chrystie St, a tenement building, which was right near the entrance to the Manhattan bridge on the south end of Little Italy. Listed as witnesses were the DeLuise neighbors at that same adress, Gaetano and Francesca D’Amica. (Mouse over and click on the marriage certificate image right to enlarge it in a new window/tab.) 

Maria had 14 births, a child every other year between 1911 and 1929, but only 10 children survived to adulthood. Besides her 10 surviving children listed above in her husband’s bio, she delivered prematurely in her 6th month, an unnamed daughter who was born and died on October 4, 1922, living only four hours. Maria worked in the candy store on Avenue U in Brooklyn, behind the counter making shakes and cleaning up. She enjoyed first listening on the radio, than watching her soap opera Guiding Light and told many that it taught her English. Many believe she lived so long was because she just had to know what would happen next on her soap!

When she was in her early 60's she had Cervical Cancer and was operated on and cured. After her husband died, the candy store was sold and she moved back to the West 6th St. house with her unmarried daughters Connie and Helen. She outlived her husband by almost 30 years, and three of her children, which was very hard on her, including her unmarried daughter Helen who lived with and took care of Maria. After Helen's death in 1985, Maria was moved into the Dry Harbor Nursing Home in Middle Village, Queens, NY where she died on January 25, 1990, at the age of 103 years, 9 months and 25 days. Maria De Luise Cristarella is buried in St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, Nassau County on Long Island, NY with her husband and daughter Helen. (Mouse over gravestone image above in her husband's bio for more info.) 

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Bruno Domenico Cristarella was born in Molochio, Reggio di Calabria, Calabria, Italy on July 13, 1855, the only son of at least seven children born  to Filippo Cristarella and Agapina Peppina Maria Giuseppa Verni. He met Grazia Maria Muratori, who was five years younger than him and lived in the next comune north of Molochio called Cittanova. They married on March 7, 1883, in her hometown and had at least six children together. After 17 years of marriage, Bruno left his wife, Grazia and their surviving children in Italy, traveling to America to find work. He was supposed to save enough money to send for them later which was a common practice in Italy at the time. This is where the research got a little troublesome, as there were two Bruno Cristarella's who immigrated to the US from Molochio. After finding a NYC death record, it looks like we now know which one the ancestor was. Our Bruno traveled north to Naples and on May 17th he left Italy on the ship Hesperia and arrived in New York on June 5, 1900. The ship manifest listed him as a married workman, carrying $16 who was going to see Nobody. After arriving in America, he somehow decided not to send money home to his family. He may have had trouble getting a job, or keeping himself alive. After six years had passed, his son, ancestor Concetto, went to America to find him and when he did, they had a fight and never spoke again. It is believed that when his son found him, Bruno either ran or worked in a brewery. To the rest of the family, Bruno was considered dead and never spoken about again.

There is a New York City Municipal Death record for Bruno Cristarella, which very well may be our Bruno, as he seems to have died all alone. He was 68 years-old, but no birthdate is written on the form; he was married, but no wife or parents names are written either; he was born in Italy, but has been in the USA for 23 years; he was a porter who lived at 54 Morton St, NYC; and died in Bellevue Hospital of a Hemorrhage into cerebrum on August 16, 1923. He was buried in New York City’s potter’s field on Hart Island sometimes called City Cemetery. The cemetery is dotted with white markers, each denoting a mass burial of 150 bodies laid out in two rows, three coffins deep. None of the dead have personal grave markers, but there are two large monuments dedicated to all. Hart Island is located east of City Island on the Long Island Sound in the Bronx. There is a wonderful website, The Hart Island Project, that tells about the fight folks are having trying to visit the grave sites of their loved ones.  (Mouse over image left for more info.)


Grazia Maria Muratori was born on June 14, 1860, in Cittanova, a twin and one of at least twelve children born to parents Giuseppa Piromalli and Antonino Muratori. Cittanova is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Reggio Calabria which borders Molochio. (Mouse over map on right.) She met Bruno Cristarella, who was from the neighboring town of Molochio and they married on March 7, 1883 in Cittanova. Five of the known children of Grazia and Bruno have birth documentation and were born in Molochio – ancestor Concetto is the first child listed in the Molochio birth records; Luigi who was born on April 16, 1890, was married in 1920 in Molochio, came to America for a visit in 1926 and stayed with his brother's family while Concetto traveled while working for the United Fruit Company. Luigi died on April 20, 1962, in Molochio; Fioravanti was born on February 22, 1892 and died before he was 6 years-old; a daughter Lauretta Gaetana Angela was born on March 17, 1894, and died twenty days later on March 17, 1894; a daughter Peppina, who was two years-old when she died on November 15, 1897, putting her birth at about 1895, but a birth record can not be found for her; and the youngest, Fioravanti Secondo born on December 3, 1898, was married in Molochio in 1927, moved to Genoa and remarried in 1967 and died there on June 22, 1975. Fioravanti Secondo visited his brother, ancestor Concetto, in America, traveling tourist class on the Andrea Doria, leaving Genoa on August 30th and arriving in New York on September 8, 1955. He visited for almost two months leaving on November 5th on the Cristoforo Colombo. It is believed by family members, that there was a son named Jerome, who probably was named Girolama, and was said to have been the oldest, but Molochio birth records do not exist for him, so we know nothing about him. He may have been born in Cittanova, but records for this town are not yet available for this time period.

It seems odd that the names of their children do not fit in with the Italian naming convention, where the first son and daughter are named after the father's father and mother respectively. It may be that in this part of Italy, this tradition was not followed as closely, as ancestor names do appear as middle names throughout the Cristarella line. Their son, ancestor Concetto's middle name was Peppino, the male version of his mother's nickname, Peppina.

Grazia must have had a hard life raising her young children without a father. Her youngest was only two years old when her husband left and there is no indication that she ever remarried. Grazia Muratori’s death certificate says she died at age 63 on January 30, 1925, in Molochio. 

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Giuseppe Joseph De Luise was born on July 23, 1859, probably in Naples.  His parents' names as listed on his death certificate were Pasquale and Orsola De Luise. There is a family legend that Giuseppe or his father was a Roman illegitimate child who was adopted by a single woman who owned a hotel in Naples. Unfortunately nothing is known about Giuseppe's parents except that both of them are listed as being born in Italy. His mother's maiden name is listed as Orsola De Luise, so she may have been a distant cousin or her maiden name was unknown when the death certificate was filled out.

Giuseppe married 16 year-old Concetta Esposito in an arranged marriage about 1884 and they had eight children born in Naples. Here they ran a hotel, were wealthy and had servants, but lost everything when the hotel burnt down and they had all of their savings hidden in a mattress.

Giuseppe came to the US sometime between 1903 and 1904. It is said he came with is eldest child ancestor Maria, but she was turned away because of an eye problem. His oldest son Patsy followed him to the US arriving in New York on January 26, 1905. Then his next eldest son Alfred came with Maria arriving in August of that same year. Later in the year, his wife and other children joined him. In each case, they all said he was living at 71 Mulberry St, NY (pictured left). Giuseppe called himself Joseph once he arrived in America.

His granddaughter Connie said “although he was a gambler, he was really nice and had deep blue eyes.” On both of his last two children’s NYC birth certificates, in 1906 and 1908, he is listed as an Artist. On the 1910 US Census the family was living at 5 Chrystie St, in Manhattan, Giuseppe was listed as a 51year-old cook in a restaurant, had already applied for citizenship, was married for 26 years and came to the US in 1905. On the page prior to the Cristarella's 1915 New York State Census, the entire De Luise family is listed, even the married children lived next door or nearby in the same building on 66 Division St on Manhattan Island. On that census 54 year-old Joseph De Luise is listed as a Janitor who had been in the US for eleven years. On the 1920 US Census the family living on 63 Sand St in Brooklyn.  Joseph was a Porter in a candy factory and states he came to the US in 1903 and his citizenship was still pending. The 1925 New York State Census has the family (with five adult children) living at 2230 West 6th St, the same house ancestor Fiore grew up in. On this census Joseph's given name is listed as Louis, 65 years old, retired, an alien who has been in this country for 21 years. He is retired and living at the same address on the 1930 US Census. Up until the purchase and move to the West 6th St. house, the apartments the family lived in were all very near the Manhattan Bridge.

Joseph De Luise died of Lobar Pneumonia with a contributory of Cardiac Failure at 11:30pm on February 26, 1933, at his home on West 6th St in Brooklyn, two months after his wife's death. The information on his death certificate is confusing, as some things don’t make sense. For example the person said to have hired the undertaker was Salvatore De Luise, the son of deceased, living at 2230 West 6th St, but there is no record that Joseph had a son named Salvatore. Francesco was the only son living at that address in 1930. The other confusing item is that Joseph's occupation was listed as Photographer. It could be that Joseph did take up photography in his retirement. What we do know for sure is that Joseph was buried on March 1st with his young son Joseph Jr. and wife Concetta in Section 41, Range 3, Plot G, Graves 12 & 13 in Second Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens County, New York with his wife and son Joseph. (Mouse over images for more info.)

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Concetta Esposito was born in in Italy on January 1, 1867, to parents Raffaele Esposito and Maria Cardillo or possibly Petrella. Family legend says that Concetta's ancestors were somehow connected to a political or royal family. Unfortunately no proof of this exists. This legend may come from the fact that Concetta's grandchildren said she made them kiss her hand when they visited her.

Concetta married Guiseppe in an arranged marriage about 1884 in Naples when she was about 17 years-old and together they ran a hotel in Naples and had a good life. Besides ancestor Maria they had seven other children born in Naples – Pasquale known as Patsy born on May 9, 1887, married Giuseppina Lo Bianco, and died on January 21, 1948; Alfonso, known as Alfred, was born on September 25, 1890, married Lucia Galuppo, was naturalized at Camp Upton in Suffolk County so he could fight in World War I, and died on March 20, 1960; Orsola, known as Elizabeth or Lizzie, was born on October 10, 1891, married Carmello Ciaurella, and died in September of 1987; Luisa, known as Louisa, was born about 1893, married Rocco Russo; Francesco known as Frankie, was born on December 26, 1894, married Josephine Paladino, served in World War I, and died on October 13, 1954; Giovanna, known as Jennie, was born on June 29, 1898, never married and died in December of 1983; and daughter Gelsomima, known as Jessie, was born about 1903, also never married. Maria, Patsy and Alfred all went to America after their father, but before their mother arrived.

Concetta left Naples on November 21, 1905, with her youngest five children, to join her husband in America on the Nord America (pictured) arriving in New York in the late afternoon of December 7, 1905. On the manifest it states she was joining her husband Giuseppe who lived at 71 Mulberry St. Although she is listed with five children in the manifest, she is listed with four children in the ship's Record of Detained Aliens list. The eldest of her children traveling with her, 14 year-old Orsola's name was crossed out on the manifest, with a note which reads “Dr. Merino, Conjunctivitis.” The others have an X next to their names. It seems that Orsola was rejected entry into the US and sent back, by herself to Naples. Guiseppe arrived at 5:20 that evening, after the detained family was served dinner, to pick them up. Alone, 14 year-old Orsola came back to America on the Brasile, which left Naples on December 31, 1905, and arrived in New York on January 14, 1906. On this manifest it states she was admitted, but there is a note which states, “Dr Merino. Internal . . .” something unreadable.

The life Concetta had here was much harder than expected and she became bitter and overweight. They had two more children born in NY. The first was Giuseppe, called Joseph, who has a birth certificate that states he was born at home on Mulbey St 71, on December 8, 1906, but his tombstone, pictured above in his father’s bio, states he was born on November 28th of that year. This birth record also states that Concetta had one other child. In the box that asks How many now living (in all), it simply says 12 December 1906. This birth record was not filled out by Concetta or Giuseppe, but someone named Bruce Mare, who wasn’t even a neighbor of theirs. Being that Concetta arrived in the US in late 1905, she couldn’t have had another child in the US prior to Giuseppe, so this birth record contains several errors. It is probable, that someone recorded the birth incorrectly in haste to get it recorded in time. By the time he was 8 years old, Giuseppe Jr. was being called Joseph, and the family was living at 66 Division St. He was hit by a Rega's bakery truck at age eight while playing in the street and died on October 8, 1915, in Gouverneur Hospital (mouse over grave image above to see a close-up of Joseph's photo). The official cause of death listed was “Tetanus following Laceration of arm. Run over by automobile.

The second child born in the US was Marcherita, known as Margaret, who was born at home on Chisty St 5, on May 18, 1908. On her birth certificate it states that there were 2 previous children, and again in the box that reads How many now living (in all), is a date, but in Italian, 20 Maggio 1908, which is probably the date this birth record was filed, May 20. So it is possible that these boxes were not used as originally intended. Margaret married James Rienzo sometime after they obtained a marriage license on November 30, 1940, had two sons and died on April 12, 2000, 36 years after her husband’s death.

Concetta is listed on the 1910 and 1920 census as not being able to read or write. The family moved several times within Manhattan, then they moved to Brooklyn by 1920 on Sand St and then they finally settled by 1925 at 2230 West 6th St in Brooklyn.

Concetta Esposito De Luise died of Bronchopneumonia with a contributory of Arteriosclerosis at 3pm on December 10, 1932 at the West 6th St. address in Brooklyn. The information on her death certificate was given by her husband Guiseppe, and it lists her mother’s name as Maria Cardillo, but this may be incorrect. Concetta was buried on December 13th in Second Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens County, New York, with her young son Joseph. Later, her husband Joseph, her daughter Margaret and her husband James Rienzo were buried with her. (Mouse over images for more info.)


Raffaele Esposito and Maria Cardillo’s ancestries are unknown. Maria’s surname is uncertain, as it is taken off of her daughter ancestor Concetta Esposito’s death certificate. Names on death records, have been known to be incorrect. Maria’s surname may have been Petrella, and if so there are at least four 1858 to 1863 records for the children of Raffaele Esposito and Maria Petrella in Vicaria, Napoli. But none of these records prove the parentage of ancestor Concetta. It is assumed both Raffaele and Maria were both born in Naples, Italy, got married and had at least three children there— ancestor Concetta; a daughter named Luisa who was born about 1869/70 and a son Pasquale, whose birth date is unknown. On May 11, 1909, Luisa, who was listed as 40 years-old, single, and a dressmaker, left Naples, where she was living with her brother Pasquale, and sailed to New York, arriving on May 25th to live with her sister Concetta at 71 Mulbery St. But on the 1910 census, Luisa is not listed as living with the De Luise’s. On August 10, 1909, a 40 year-old Lusia N Esposito married a much younger 28 year-old Pasquale Schioppa, who was a cook-like her brother in law, ancestor Giuseppe De Luise. Her father was listed as Raplacle, and mother as Maria Petrella, and both the bride and groom were living at 5 Chrystie St. This is the same address that the De Luise family and ancestor Concetto Cristarella were living at in 1910. On the 1910 census, Luisa is living with her husband at at 130 West Houston St. in Manhattan. Just five years later, things had changed. On the 1915 NY State Census, Luisa Esposito was again single and lived with the family of Concetta's daughter, Maria De Luise Cristarella. Unfortunately, is the last record found for Luisa. It is not certain that the Lusia who was married above is the same Lusia who was Concetta’s sister. It is not known what became of Luisa or her brother Pasquale.

It should be noted that the surname of Esposito was given to abandoned children, normally left in front of places of charity, such as churchyards or monasteries. The Royal Holy Annunciation Home of Naples was an ancient institution devoted to these abandoned babies. It was created in the fourteenth century along with the ruota (wheel), a kind of wooden cylindrical drum where the children were placed, a bell would ring and inside the nuns/nurses would take the child into their care. The wheel was closed June 22, 1875, but infants were admitted to the orphanage until 1980. Residents of the institution were called sons of the Virgin, Children of Nunziata or espositi (exposed ones), meaning exposed to the protection of Our Lady. Hence the surname Esposito, of which the first written evidence in the archives is dated January 1, 1623. This surname was used for all the abandoned children until 1814 when Esposito was no longer allowed to be used. But it is still the most widespread surname in the region of Campania. Somewhere along Raffaele’s line there was an abandoned boy.

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