Monday Madness Puzzle Madness

August 17, 2009 at 09:16 | Posted in Carnival of Genealogy, family history, family research, genealogy, Italy, Itri, Italy, Madness Monday | 2 Comments
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When we were married I wasn’t terribly young but I was naive. I foolishly believed life would be happily forever after, the stuff of fairy tales. We  were in love, what could go wrong? I had no idea my life would  take to so many twists and turns, it would rival soap operas and reality TV. In his early 40′s Valentino was on his way to work one morning when he was rear ended in an auto accident. Although he walked away appearing unscathed, he ended in many surgeries and permanently disabled. We were grateful he was alive and not paralyzed. More importantly our sons still had their dad! Then one early morning a few years later my world crumbled still further. My cousin was her way home from work the evening before. Stopped to make a left turn to her street, she was broadsided by an individual on house arrest (and wearing an ankle bracelet) who passed a line of cars on the wrong side of the road at over 100 miles an hour. She was rushed to the trauma center, into surgery, and into ICU. That morning I planned on visiting her only to be summoning the ambulance for Valentino! It seemed he had what we at first thought was a blood clot but later learned was a calcified piece of a heart valve that broke loose. We then were totally decimated to learn he needed immediate further surgery to repair and replace the heart valves but that the doctors gave him only a 10% chance of surviving! So now family went from ICU to CICU, back and forth in total shock as we watched, waited, and prayed for these two young and vital people to respond and pull through!

Once the immediate crisis passed and we knew both would survive, we helped them begin the long road to recovery. It was during this time I realied not only how blessed we were but also how horribly fragile life is. And then I realized it was long distance calls to family overseas in Italy that sustained me much of the time. Yet our sons did not know most of this extended family even though Valentino and I did. So began a new chapter of my life. I bought software to start work on a family tree for the boys. I wanted to put names and faces to the extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens literally for them. Then almost without realizing it, I was moving sideways into collateral lines and adding more people to the tree. We often referred to people as cousins but I knew they weren’t really the children of an aunt or uncle. Instead I would soon discover they were in reality second or third cousins! For me this was like working on a giant jigsaw puzzle. I wanted to fit all of the names and faces together into a bigger picture so to speak. Except now this puzzle had a lot more than a mere 1000 pieces and the borders weren’t straight edges of a rectangle – these were irregular and growing wider in some places while not in others! Here and there I would have two or three pieces that fit together nicely but I was (and still am) missing connecting pieces in many places. When you try to pick up a puzzle it usually falls apart unless you use some puzzle fixative or glue. The neat part about this family puzzle is that it doesn’t fall apart! The glue that holds it together is love, unending, unwavering love!

Treasure Chest Thursday

August 14, 2009 at 09:04 | Posted in Amore di Italia, ancestry, Carnival of Genealogy, family history, family research, genealogy, Italy, Itri, Italy, Treasure Chest Thursday | Comments Off
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This is the childhood home most of the family remembers best in Itri, Italy. Thiswas not the home until after WWII as it was a replacement for the one destroyed during the war. But it is the one that holds a special place in their hearts because it represents safety, security, love, and family.

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Wordless Wednesday

August 12, 2009 at 07:38 | Posted in Amore di Italia, ancestry, Carnival of Genealogy, family history, genealogy, Italy, Itri, Italy, Wordless Wednesday | Leave a comment
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La Famiglia

La Famiglia

Family after the War

 

View of Itri 2009

View of Itri 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday

August 6, 2009 at 00:02 | Posted in ancestry, Bits and Pieces, family history, Fun Reminders of Italy, genealogy, Italy, Treasure Chest Thursday | 5 Comments
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Don Camillo Series by Giovanni Guareschi 

Original by Giovanni Guareschi for Don Camillo
Original by Giovanni Guareschi for Don Camillo

(copyrighted to Giovanni Guareschi)

I grew up in the small village of Easton, Connecticut.  Once a week, Samuel Staples Elementary School would walk a class over to the Town Hall basement to the town library. I would check out the maximum number of books allowed because I so loved to read. Soon I was through all of the books in my own division and the librarian made the decision to permit me more mature books. I discovered Don Camillo! Written by the Italian author Giovanni Guareschi, they were wonderfully written simple vignettes of Italian life in a Po River Valley town. The communist mayor was constantly battling the local parish priest. Aside from the flavorful way Guareschi presented an ageless moral and political struggle, this series seeped deep into my soul. I so loved these books, I hated to return them and would renew them over and over. Recently I was able to purchase old fragile copies of a few of them online and fell in love all over again. As a child they burned a dream into my heart of living in Italy but in time I got caught up in life and the dream was buried until I met Valentino. The visits to Itri awakened those dreams again. It was as if I had always known these familiar little villages and towns.

So this series of wonderful books is my offering to this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday. Make an effort to read these books and discover as I did the lure they have. They’re my treasure because they led me to a desire to know Italy. When I met and fell in love with my husband, it was the icing on my cake to fall in love with a native Italian! He is my real tresure and the reason my heart bursts and sings!

It’s Tombstone Tuesday!!

August 4, 2009 at 15:19 | Posted in Amore di Italia, Bits and Pieces, family history, family research, genealogy, Italy, Itri, Italy, Tombstone Tuesday | Leave a comment
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In honor of Tombstone Tuesday here in Genealogy Blog-ville, and in honor of A. Coffin’s blog (great reading I might add!) at  We Tree   I am posting just a few photos of graveyards in Italy. It is interesting how the Italians have compensated for lack of available ground to bury their dead. Aside from the wall crypts, they also have chapels in each cemetery where after so many years, they remove the bones from graves and transfer them to bone rooms under the chapels. This too is consecrated area and where families place flowers and say prayers. Sadly the result is that not enough of the old graves exist for families to use then to track their ancestors. Records of those graveyards tend to also not be complete.

Memorial to Victims of Bombing Raids, WWII in Itri, Italy

Memorial to Victims of Bombing Raids, WWII in Itri, Italy

Just about every city in Italy has its own cemetery usually walled off with the chapel as in Itri.
Sidewall Itri, Italy Cemetary

Sidewall Itri, Italy Cemetary

Entrance to Cemetary Itri, Italy

Entrance to Cemetary Itri, Italy

Closeup Entrance to Itri Cemetary

Closeup Entrance to Itri Cemetary

Sadly many of the gravestones to the older existing graves are falling into disrepair due to lack of funds or to local family there to tend to them. Many localities are trying now to preserve the older graves. Interestingly many graves have simple flat metal crosses, many without names. Most gravestones will have photos of the deceased. I am not posting those closeups because Italy has been enforcing stricter privacy laws and it would not be fair to disrespect them by ignoring their wishes.
Broken Gravestone Campodimele, Italy

Broken Gravestone Campodimele, Italy

Old Gravestone Campodimele, Italy

Old Gravestone Campodimele, Italy

Odds and Ends

July 5, 2009 at 14:46 | Posted in Amore di Italia, Bits and Pieces, Fun Reminders of Italy, genealogy, Hints and Tips, Italy | 1 Comment
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Today I just want to offer a few of my favorite sites and blogs. These are places you will find I “hang around” at and use to make life easier for my research – they are also fun blogs to read, and forums that offer useful tips and hints to further your research.

Today I found a great new source while reading a favorite blog: Ciao Amalfi  This blog is always chock full of handy information but this ‘Sunday Shout Out’ offering will be greatly appreciated by those of us trying to master Italian. She suggests a great site WordReference that is an online dictionary – altho I have an offline program, it was rather pricey software – so this online site will help you given our fragile economic times. Laura of Ciao Amalfi also takes you to  L’italiano in Famiglia  - this fun site allows you to view the Italian series and learn Italian in the process. I often explain that my Italian is constantly improved by watching TV via DISH and RAI netweork programming. I sit with an Italian/English dictionary (or two or three) and revel in old movies, music videos, and yes, even reality TV and soap operas! I use more than one dictionary due to proper Italian and to modern slang needs!

A favorite forum I visit almost daily is Gente di Mare - here you’ll find a great website dedicated to researching family in Italy. Many of the same folks here also frequent Italian Genealogy - Gente di Mare is a web site with lots of great information as well as a members forum. Italian Genealogy is a forum members site with tons of information. There are folks from all over the world only too happy to help you further your research or answer questions from the most basic to the advanced! Membership at both is free although any donations to help defray their costs would be appreciated.

Another super blog I refer to often is Bleeding Espresso Michelle Fabio is found just about everywhere on the web but she is someone I so identify with on many levels – we have never met personally but that is something I hope to be able to change on one of our trips to Italy. As an American she also married an Italian and she now lives the live I dream of in Italy! This week she is offering a chance at another of her great give-aways so head over to her blog and read away – I guarantee you will be lost for hours of enjoyment and dreaming!

More Tears for L’Aquila

June 23, 2009 at 15:10 | Posted in Amore di Italia, Bits and Pieces, Italy | 1 Comment
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Today I ran across this article while surfing through news resports overseas: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/5610522/Aftershock-rattles-LAquila-ahead-of-G8-summit.html It seems beautoful L’Aquila has again been hit by an earthquake. It does not seem to be only an aftershock but was a 4.6 register on the Richter scale. We  need to all remember these folks in our prayers and if possible continue to contribute to the funds financially to help them.

Please check back to other of my posts to follow links for helping and for those news reports:

http://valentinoswife.wordpress.com/2009/05/30/l’aquila…-stan…moving-forward/

and also at:

http://valentinoswife.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/heartbreak/

Safe charity to send donations: CROCE ROSSA

 Originally I linked us to Bleeding Espresso  http://bleedingespresso.com/2009/04/niafabruzzo-relief-fund-for-victims-of-abruzzo-earthquake.html  where you can find links to information also.

 

L’Aquila… standing still, hopefully moving forward

May 30, 2009 at 16:54 | Posted in Amore di Italia, Bits and Pieces, Italy | Leave a comment
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L’Aquila.. standing still, hopefully moving forward – a shameless attempt to remind us all not to forget — please, please do not forget! We here stateside need to be reminded because our news agencies are shamelessly busy plugging Hope Change yada yada for Obama and ignoring those who do not fit into those neat little boxes needing help – you know the types: if you do not qualify for stimulus payment bailouts, you are not newsworthy! Well – in my jaded eyes, people who are true victims – not those who made themselves into victims – are more deserving of our remembering them. And true victims are the ones who could not stop what happened to them. The good people of L’Aquila fit that category completely! They had no advance warning – and no way to avoid what happened to them. Maybe the only issue to find fault is that according to news reports (such as found at http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0529/p06s05-woeu.html) state less than 5% of the people had insurance against earthquake damage. I personally blame that on the government failing to educate people about homeowners and business insurance. The mentality of many Europeans is that their government will handle it – except after a catastrophe many admit they don’t expect more from their government! At the rate we are all now learning to decide if governments should be socialist or fascist or total democracy/capitalistic or libertarian, we need to step up and help these victims rebuild their lives. Or at least we need to help them on the path to recovery. There are many needs and I hope you all consider doing what you can.

You can check out my previous post: http://valentinoswife.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/heartbreak to read about the initial attempts in aid for the victims where I suggest you visit: http://bleedingespresso.com/2009/04/niafabruzzo-relief-fund-for-victims-of-abruzzo-earthquake .  In the United States we can send help via NIAF and overseas use CROCE ROSSA . Another interesting mention is found in the UK news at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6153912.ece detailing Berlusconi’s plan to move the G8 Summit to L’Aquila. I am sure there are many problems others are happy to list and carry on over – but I see some upsides to this if handled properly. It will force public attention worldwide on L’Aquila and perhaps force both the Italian government and aid groups to acknowledge work needed to help these folks! Winter in tents is not fun camping – even though Berlusconi is often misunderstood when he attempts wry humor, he was letting us know in his usual sarcastic Italian manner that these folks are not going to be having fun camping forever! A day or two, a week or two, one can jolly each other along and then it is time to get solid plans in motion. That takes money and we need to remember these folks are out of work and running out of money fast! Please please remember them, pray for them, and help them! Thanks!

Springtime in Italy – Or Why It’s Easy to Love Italy

May 21, 2009 at 10:08 | Posted in Amore di Italia, Bits and Pieces, Fun Reminders of Italy, genealogy, Italy, Trip to Italy 2009 | Leave a comment
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gerber daisies

gerber daisies

cana lilies
cana lilies
grapeleaf

grapeleaf

Fields

Fields

There are too many reasons to even begin an attempted list of why it is easy to love Italy – but this post is one sure reason it is hard to not love Italy in the spring. There are no words that can state it better than these photos will show it.

 

It doesn’t matter if it is someone’s backyard, or the wildflowers of the fields, or a balcony.

windowsill

windowsill

strawberries

strawberries

pinks100_1873

The colors and smells carry one away, overtaking one’s senses, in brilliant displays of beauty amidst the ruins of bombed or crumbling buildings.

white wisteria

white wisteria

 

 

 

 

Trees in San Cristoforo

Trees in San Cristoforo

It is no wonder that flowers and romance go hand in hand because in this land of romance, Italians make use of every spot possible to include flowers. They are unashamed of their love affair with flowers!
apple blossoms with tractor

apple blossoms with tractor

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