We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finding my Italian roots

I've wondered about my Italian relatives my entire life. Who were these people, what were they like, what did they LOOK like?  My mother, who is native Italian but came over to America on one of those ships carrying war brides from Italy back to the USA during WWII, brought only one small suitcase with her. For reasons I'll never know, she did not bring photographs. Growing up, the information we got about our Italian relatives was pretty sketchy.  By the time my mother immigrated to the US at 18 yrs old, both her father and mother were deceased.  I always believed the reason there was not much talk about the family was because it was  a difficult topic for Mom. But that didn't stop me from wondering.

Since moving to Italy, I've had the oppportunity to get to know some of the family members on my mother's side of the family tree. About a year ago, during one of my trips to visit with my mother's cousin Carlo, who just turned 87, Carlo asked me what I knew of my Italian grandparents. Not much, I was sorry to say. As we sat around Carlo's kitchen table talking that night, he shared some stories he remembered about his uncle- my grandfather- Cesare.  Carlo remembered from when he was a young boy himself, that his uncle  Cesare was always singing and playing his guitar. And he knew that Cesare worked as a manager or supervisor for some government agency. Cesare died of a stroke at age 57. My mother was 12 at the time.

A few months later, an envelope arrived in the mail.  The only contents of the envelope was the photo you see below.   Carlo and his sister Maria Rosa had gone through the old family albums and sent this to me. This is my Italian nonno, Cesare.


Now framed, and on display in my living room where I see it regularly, this photo makes me feel a bit more connected to my Italian family.   

10 comments:

Yvonne said...

What a shame, not knowing at least some of the story of your ancestors. That photo must be so special for you.

karen said...

Yvonne- now I have my relatives in the south trying to track down a photo of my grandmother- Nonna Assunta!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

A precious photograph.

Michelle said...

Seeing that photo brought tears to my eyes.
I can only imagine how precious it is to you.

Sandra said...

What a special treasure. It too brought tears to my eyes.

Maïté said...

C'est triste quand nos parents ne sont plus là pour témoigner. Buona giornata, saro a Venezia dal 3 al 10 maggio!!!!que fortuna ! A presto !

Madison, WI said...

I loved Venice when I visited. Often think about how it would be to live there so it's fun to follow along. I'm reading your blogs and you state one of your daughters lives in Madison. It's a small world. By the way in snowed here today....

jpryf said...

Je découvre votre blog très intéressant. ce retour en Italie est captivant. Je suis moi-même un amoureux de l'Italie mais surtout de Venise et je séjourne tous les ans, trois semaines ou un mois dans le cadre de l'échange de mon appartement de Paris. cela me donne l'impression de vivre un peu comme un vénitien.

Maxine Oliver said...

Your story also brought tears to my eyes. I often think of my grandmother. I was lucky enough to have know her. But I wish there was a time machine so that I can go back and ask her all those questions that now plague me. I love the picture BTW.

Rita said...

Karen,
Every time I feel particularly homesick, and you know I don't meant for the US, I read something poignant that you've written that resonates with me and fill my silly Italian heart with a sospiro that brings a smile to my face.
Grazie per le tue storie e la tua generosita di spirito.
La tua amica Rita