Jacomo Darin & Maria Corsini circa 1924.
I was born in 1949, two years after Nilza Darin died of tuberculosis in 1947. Even though I never had a chance to meet her I heard a lot about her ever since I was a small boy.
Nilza Darin was born in São José do Rio Pardo in 1927. She was the only daughter of Jacomo Darin, one of my Mother's six brothers and Maria Corsini, their first cousin. Maria Corsini was the daughter of Antonia Billò, my grandmother Erminia Billò's youngest sister.
Jacomo fell in love with Maria and spite of their being first-cousins - they ended up getting married. Maria's father Dante Corsini was dead-set against the marriage - having tried his upmost to stop such an unholy alliance. Dante even got to the point of pursuing Jacomo with his rifle in order to discourage the young man to woo his daughter.
Dante Corsini was born in Pistoia in 1875; died in S.José do Rio Pardo in 1947. He was against his daughter Maria marrying her first-cousin Jacomo Darin but he eventually relented and they tied the knot.
Jacomo (24) marries Maria Corsini (19) in 22 November 1924, who becomes known as Mariquinha at the Darin home to tell her apart from Maria Darin, their eldest daughter. We should not forget that Italian families always called Maria their first-born daughter. First-born males could be called Giovanni or Antonio, depending on the Italian region they came from.
Maria Corsini gives birth to a still-born boy in 21 August 1926 at 3:00 AM in Fazenda Apparecida, the seat of the rural property belongin to her father-in-law, my grand-father João Baptista Darin.
Nilza Darin was born in 11 September 1927 in Canoas-SP a small town by the river that separates São Paulo and Minas Gerais - the end of the train-line of the Mocóca-SP branch. Two months later, in November 1927, the Darin family left the Mogiana Railway region and resettled in Marilia-SP the last station in an off shoot line of Companhia Paulista Railway.
Canoas-SP was at the end of the train line from Mococa-SP.
Canoas-SP railway terminal as it is today.
Nilza grows up in Marilia in the thirties in a big family of many uncles, aunties, cousins and three younger brothers: Ecidyr born in September 1929, Odyr in August 1931 and Jurandyr in 1934.
Nilza was 11 years old when her father Jacomo died of pneumonia in 15 November 1938. They had been living in Oriente-SP, a small town near Marilia where Jacomo was a primary teacher at the local school. Her mother was left a widow with 4 young children to raise. Mariquinha was given a chance to work as a servant at the 3rd School Group in Vila São Miguel. She worked there until she retired in the 1960s.
A very dapper Valdemar Darin, Geny Corsini wearing a three-strand pearl neck-lace and Eikichi Kaneno in Marilia in the early 40s.
In 1939, Geny Corsini, Mariquinha's youngest sister was sent by Dante & Tonina to Marilia to help the newly widow take care of her 4 orphaned children. Geny was 17 years old and very attractive. She caused a sensation among her male cousins and their friends. Actually João Baptista Darin (18) started dating her but they soon went their separate ways. Geny got involved with a Japanese fellow who had been drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army. The young nissei had to go back to Japan but left his friend Edmundo to 'watch' her while he was away. Edmundo started harrassing Geny and the police had to be called in.
Geny Corsini, Nilza's young aunt had a sense of 'stardom' that she may have learned from watching too many Hollywood movies at Cine São Luiz: Geny on horse-back.
I don't know much about the early forties in Marilia, except that Mariquinha, her 4 children and sister Geny were living in a wooden house on rua Santa Ernestina, 51, up on a hill just opposite the Bavaria Beer factory. The house was built in a bigger lot where there were 2 other smaller board houses all of them owned by Frank Milaye Milenkovich, a big-shot who owned the Ford dealer outlet in town. Mariquinha supported her family working full time at the public school.
Sammy Saad, a car salesman who worked for Milenkovich was a bon-vivant who had a lover called Vivi (Viviane?) who lived in one of the smaller houses on rua Santa Ernestina. As Mariquinha spent most of her day out, I guess Nilza had a lot of free time and became a close friend of Vivi's, who had been given a refrigerator as a gift from Sammy. Having a fridge in the 40s in Marilia was almost unheard of.
Nilza Darin on the day of her 16th birthday in 11th September 1943.
Nilza was good looking but had always been a thin girl. I don't know details about Nilza's sudden illness but only that it was a very hot day and she, Vivi and Geny had gone to see a movie at Cine S.Luiz on rua 9 de Julho. Suddenly Nilza was seized with a violent coughing fit that would not stop. Soon she started vomiting blood. Valdemar Darin who worked at the projecting booth was called to help his niece. Valdemar had grown up with Nilza, he was only 6 years her senior.
They took Nilza home but the bleeding would not stop. They all knew it was tuberculosis and something had to be done quickly. Frank had a special railway car fitted and they boarded the 17:00 train to Campinas where Nilza would be taken to Campos do Jordão. Nilza reached the destination only to die soon after... on 30 January 1947. She was only 19 years old.
The family was in shock. Marilia was in shock because of public nature of Nilza's sudden illness and death. Tongues started wagging about how vicious Vivi had been to Nilza. Some even said Vivi would shut Nilza inside the refrigerator. They blamed the young woman for 'perverting' Nilza while her mother was working. That's a lot of nonsense. Nilza must have had the Koch's bacillum for quite some time and it was unfortunate that she didn't have any earlier sign that she was on such a dangerous ground.
Nilza Darin was transported in a car like this from Marilia to Campinas and then to Campos de Jordão in January 1947.
The whole town was deeply in mourning with no corpse to grieve because Nilza's body was buried in Campos de Jordão. It was probably too expensive to transport coffins long-distances.
Nilza was the 3rd member of Darin's family who left the city sick in a hurry and never returned. Her father Jacomo had died 9 years earlier at Santa Casa in São Paulo and was buried at Araçá Cemetery. Her uncle Luiz Darin died 2 years later in 1940 at the same hospital and was buried at the same cemetery.
Maria Corsini, Nilza's mother, was 42, Ecidyr was 17, Odyr was 15, Jurandyr known as Nezinho was 12 and Geny Corsini was 24. Mariquinha became a bitter person ever since she was taken her only daughter. Even though sometimes she was really funny in a biting sort of way. Mariquinha liked to mention coffins and funerals in common conversation. She actually liked to shock people.
My cousin Ecidyr told me in the 1990s that he never forgot that day in January 1947. He said he was riding his bycicle going some place and was stopped by someone who told him the bad news: 'Your sister has died!'
One can imagine Mariquinha arriving back in Marilia with nothing but empty handed. She had left the body of her only daughter buried in a far away land. She must have remembered the time she arrived in Marilia 17 years before holding her baby daughter in her arms. She must have gone to her house and seen Nilza's empty bed with her favourite doll on it. A week later Maria received the news that her father Dante had died in São Jose do Rio Pardo.
Valdemar Darin never forgot his favourite niece who was almost like his younger sister. Valdemar eventually had three children whose names were: João Baptista honouring his father; Suely, his first daughter; in 1955 - 8 years after the tragedy - Valdemar and Zezé had their second daughter who they named Nilza!
Nilza Darin's longhand in the back of the photo she sent her cousin Ivo João Darin; Nilza (15) dedicates her photo to her aunt Yolanda Darin (23) - 17 December 1942.
The last picture show - Cine São Luiz on rua 9 de Julho, where Nilza Darin took ill and had to be rushed to hospital.
Ford Dealer on Avenida Sampaio Vidal where Sammy Saad worked as a salesman.
Maria Corsini AKA Mariquinha; Nilza Darin had her mother's features but her dad's mouth.
Ecidyr Darin, Maria Corsini's first male child - here seen in 1948, a year after Nilza's tragedy; Odyr Darin, Corsini's 3rd child.
Jurandyr Darin AKA Nézinho, Maria Corsini's baby child.
João Amorim, Yolanda & America Darin visit Maria Corsini in the 1970s.
Last Act - This is probably the last time the Darin Family, as it used to be known, met - for the wedding of Jurandyr Corsini Darin in Marilia.