Retired Cook County Circuit Court Judge Gloria Coco performed the world premiere of her one-woman show, “Finding Uncle Alfio,” in June at the Center at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Garden, New York.
Now a writer and actor, Coco began the search for an uncle no one had seen since 1921 in response to her mother’s death-bed plea, “Gloria, find my little brother, Alfio.”
The 4-year-old had died on Ellis Island while the family waited for their papers to begin their new lives as Americans, but Coco’s grandmother never knew what happened to her baby. “I knew my mother’s soul would never rest until the mystery was solved,” Coco says.
As she uncovered the truth of her uncle’s demise, Coco unearthed a horrible secret regarding the fate of so many children who came through Ellis Island in those turbulent years of mass immigration.
After the performance, Coco led a procession to the mass grave where her uncle was buried.