Termini Imerese Stories

Tarantulas and Bananas


Submitted by Paul Caito




After reading so many stories from folks on our mailing list whose parents had fruit stores and told of spiders in their banana shipments, I thought I would send along a clipping from 1947 showing my great-uncle unloading a shipment of bananas. The article notes that tarantula's and snakes were common stowaways among the bananas but now they dipped the bananas in a "harmless" green solution to prevent the problem! The newspaper reported the story only because bananas had been in such short supply during the war years and large shipments of bananas had become a rarity. Evidently, prior to WW II, it was not an uncommon sight to see large bunches of bananas near the front door of fruit stores, like my great uncle's store (actually it was my great uncle's and my grandfather's store, but only my great uncle made it into the photo.)

I should have told you he was Ardizzone Caito, and Paolo Francis was his given name at birth. Although locally known as "Caito" his legal name was "Ardizzone Caito' Actually, my dad's legal name was Ardizzone Caito also. Funny thing, when my dad went to apply to college in the 1940s, they required a copy of his birth certificate. He expected to obtain a certificate that listed his name as "Samuel Joseph Caito," but instead received a certificate listing his name as "Salvatore Ardizzone Caito." He thought they sent him the wrong record until my grandparents told him that was his "real' name. He subsequently had his name legally changed to Samuel J. Caito.


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