Mt. Lebanon Neighbors Bond in the Joy of an Immigrant
Togneri, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Five years ago, Otto Limongi moved his family from Venezuela to America in search of a better life.
On Saturday, in the Mt. Lebanon neighborhood where they settled, strangers picked through the remnants of the Limongis' life here during an estate sale.
Otto Limongi died two weeks ago of cancer. His death spread sadness through a now-tight neighborhood that credited the Limongis with bringing them together; and because Limongi, a general contractor, was the family's only breadwinner, it left the family with no way to support themselves.
Otto Limongi's wife, Ragna, and their five children are moving back to Venezuela. The neighborhood organized yesterday's estate sale to offset shipping and travel costs.
"I feel like I'm packing up a good friend," said Aimee Lamendola, 37, a friend and neighbor. "I met them the day their containers arrived. I helped them unpack. They were so open and welcoming and warm. I took to them immediately."
Ragna Limongi was too emotional to watch the sale. She left early in the morning with her youngest children.
Friends and neighbors also struggled to maintain their composure. But, they said, at least it gave them something to do other than mourn Otto Limongi's death and the impending departure of the family.
So they laid Otto Limongi's tools out in the garage and driveway and hung the children's clothes on racks in the kitchen. Ragna Limongi's oldest daughter, Anjuli Manriqui, 19, tried to sell the family's beds straight out of the upstairs bedrooms.
As neighborhood kids sold lemonade to raise more money, the adults talked quietly about how the family had changed their lives. Before the Limongis came, they said, people on Vermont Avenue were friendly, but closed off from one another. …