Treasure Chest Thursday July 22, 2010

July 22, 2010 at 02:48 | Posted in Amore di Italia, Carnival of Genealogy, family history, family research, genealogy, Hints and Tips, memories, Treasure Chest Thursday | Leave a comment
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I took off a bit of time from writing to concentrate on family and some changes we are experiencing along with some test of family loyalties through some trying times. Thankfully love for each other has triumphed in every situation we faced. During this time we have each in our own way found what matters most to us. We have each come to the realization that even as we face anger and or disappointment in one another, we can still know overwhelming love and loyalty and even respect for each other. My treasure chest is full of love for all my family and memories of all the special moments we have shared, the tears, laughter, hurts, and joys. This time has made us grow closer and more committed than ever to each other. As a parent I have been touched by the depth of feeling my sons have shown one another as they have grown. Valentino and I are proud parents as we watch each son make the decisions for where their place is to be in life. We can rest assured our sons will never lose their bonds to one another whether we are here to guide them or not. Rather now we can see that even as they may or may not agree with all decisions the others make, they support one another through good and bad ready to offer a lending hand when needed or just an ear to listen.

In the midst of this we also have been enjoying the visit of a family member from overseas. I personally had not seen this person since he was a young boy of about four or five years old. My sons had never met him. When we first met, there was instant love. I was enthralled with his precious smile and his sparkling dark eyes. I just knew our own children (not yet born) would share those same wonderful handsome good looks! Sure enough – they did! And still do! We met our nephew at the airport and immediately we recognized him in the crowd at the same instant he connected with us. The years melted away and once again the smile and dark sparkling eyes dazzled us. Now however that sweet boy is a handsome charming 6 foot plus professor. His personality fit right in to our family mix easily. His quiet strength has been a plus to us as well as his humor. He is an outsider willing to listen and not judge but he is also a beloved family member who is respected and treasured! We are his chance to practice and polish his English as my sons and I practice our broken Italian. For our granddaughters he is the charming gentleman who has captured all of their hearts. I have warned his mother I am going to find it very difficult to return him back home to her! I suspect his uncle is going to find it even more difficult than I will!

One enticing fact is that he shares a deep love of family history. His long term plans include writing about a particular part of the family history. He began to talk about the trials and dead-ends of attempting to find information on the distant relatives. He knew I had already written of more recent family and he also knew I had worked on the family genealogy. What he didn’t know was how much more information I had accumulated in the last few years. As I began bringing out workbook after workbook and file after file, he was in amazement over all the information laid out. It covered the entire pool table – and filled many folders on my laptop! But the best part was that suddenly I was being forced to do what should have been done already. And if he wasn’t enough encouragement a phone call from another relative in Rhode Island was the final prodding I needed. It was time to actually name and label and date as many of the digital images as possible and fit them to their “proper owners” on the family tree. Every trip to far flung relatives meant I gained more scanned copies of old photos or digital images I made of them with my camera. Needless to say there is not a photo for all of the twelve hundred plus people but it felt like double that number as I have been working on them diligently for over a month using every spare moment. For some family members it meant cropping their face out of a group photo. For still others it meant dating them through many photos showing them as they changed over the years of their lives. It also meant labeling all the digital images of the villages and towns and churches and schools and even the old family homes when possible. There are even photos of the streets where family members lived over 200 years ago. I may not be able to prove which house belonged to them but thanks to information on birth certificates I was able to ascertain streets!

So this brings me to today’s treasure chest moment. My treasure chest has become my laptop. Everywhere I go it comes along for the trip. Blessed with a 6 hour battery life, I can steal many moments no matter where I am to work on the photo project. My laptop wallpaper is a replica of an antique print of the family village in Italy. Somehow I find that relaxing as I flip through files and folders saved across my desktop. As I have worked I also made certain to save frequent updates to my portable hard drive. At this point although I am not finished I have also burned CDs to send home to Italy with our nephew and to mail to Rhode Island to another cousin! Let me use this opportunity to once again admonish you all to make backups of all your work. If my laptop crashes, I would be one unhappy woman to have lost all of my hard work! It is not enough to save work only for myself. If a hurricane or other natural disaster were to destroy our home, I would risk losing all of my research. Knowing that copies have been sent to reside with other family members is double insurance against such a loss!

Tombstone Tuesday – the Burial of Winter Blues!

May 11, 2010 at 11:39 | Posted in Bits and Pieces, Carnival of Genealogy, family history, Italian Cooking | Leave a comment
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Last night we were treated to a wonderful dinner at the neighbors – our dear friends Anne & Paul. They also adopted a rescue pet recently – the most delightful German Shepherd – what a lover she is! Paul grilled a gorgeous pork loin that wafted through the house with its delicious aroma! We sat outside and shared good food and better friendship! A true pleasure! One of the best parts of this neighborly friendship is enjoying our children – now all young adults. To see each as they have grown up and headed off to their futures has brought us joy and pride. Yet each has maintained their friendships through the years, a wonderful thing to behold!

Anne and I share many common passions in our busy lives. First and foremost – she was the true friend to encourage me on a new career trend when I was worried about Valentino. She sent her husband and me both to class to obtain our certifications in Cardiac Dysrhythmia! That was over ten years ago already. We both love our yards and gardens – and we have both at points in our lives suffered major physical disabilities that we have learned to control and live with or in spite of.




Anne has now also taken herbal classes and like myself is enjoying growing the herbs. Our gardens are not just for looking at but also for good health. We are enjoying the sharing and exchanging of seeds and cuttings. Every spare planter inch is being filled with one exciting new addition or an old time favorite – Sweet Ann, Garlic Dill, German Thyme, Italian Basil, Provence Lavender, Sage, Oregano, and more. The tomatoes and Green Bell Peppers are already showing first blossoms. Soon these will be followed by Fennel, Chives, and Comfrey. Next will be chamomile. Already fresh Rosemary hangs in the kitchen – how I love the aroma! And of course, I can’t imagine cooking potatoes or chicken without it!

My mother in law was one of those fabulous cooks who cooked without the aid of a cookbook. Instinctively she knew what would enhance the flavor of a meal without over-powering the natural flavors of a main ingredient. Concetta was also the village midwife and an unschooled herbalist. Whatever ailed someone, she had the perfect remedy. Chamomile teas or comfrey compresses were common items as well as egg whites and mustard poultices. While on our honeymoon, I watched as Concetta first went out to find wild rosemary. She brought home a huge quantity that she then prepared for us to bring home. She worried about a perfect kitchen not having enough rosemary and she was right! She taught me well! Even now I feel her presence with me in the kitchen as I prepare a favorite meal for our family.

 I have been so enjoying my days off – these 3 or 4 day off weekends have done amazing things to restore my soul – it was a long ugly winter season between work, family stressors, and Valentino’s health issues. But sunlight and greenery with the gentle sounds of water fountains trickling and bubbling have gone a long way to rejuvenating me once again. Nothing is sweeter than sitting pool or pond-side listening to birds come awake at first light! That first cup of cafe latte in early AM is heavenly to be sure!

Day After Mother’s Day Monday

May 10, 2010 at 12:08 | Posted in Carnival of Genealogy, Madness Monday | Leave a comment
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It’s Monday morning and I am sitting outside enjoying the morning after Mother’s Day almost as much if not more than yesterday. Yesterday we had one of those glorious days where I knew I was a very spoiled woman! All week my sons had worked tirelessly, endlessly to clean the yard and re-landscape sections that had been neglected for too long. Valentino was not up to doing yard work the last several months and my work hours were long and tiring for me to be able to do as much as I wanted alone. My poor koi pond suffered from a pump that no longer worked and storms last year had killed the fish. Our sons bought a new pump with upgraded filter system – and hooked up all the fountains and waterfall again! They even got a birdbath fountain working that used to leak – now it no longer does. Sophia, our newest addition to the family is enjoying the perks of a huge backyard to play in.

Of course our little Sophia needed a warm sweater for chilly nights so I knitted her a sweater last week – showing off Italian pride!

Naturally Tyson also enjoys the backyard – but takes a more relaxed approach to all the commotion of a BBQ. He’s a Catahoula Hound – with one amber and one blue (called a glass eye) eye.

Sophia seems to want to share a secret with Tyson – probably plotting how to get table scraps from us!

Normally this would be a Furry Friends Friday post but today is a day of enjoying the weekend memories. I worked all night Saturday and so naturally had to take a short nap when I arrived home at 7:30 AM. I woke to find my sons had the brick oven/grill cleaned and ready to cook with wood already heating. They had vacuumed the entire house and washed 2500 square foot of tile throughout the house – and polished the marble countertops. It was pure heaven to not have to sacrifice a precious day off cleaning house.

So here it is Monday morning and I am sitting out on the patio listening to Andre Bocelli drinking a cappuccino and listening to the birds. A magnificent peacock has been wandering the neighborhood showing off his fine feathers too! All is right in my world!

Treasure Chest Thursday 4/29/10

April 29, 2010 at 02:52 | Posted in Carnival of Genealogy, Treasure Chest Thursday | 1 Comment
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Right after WWII, the family was much too poor to afford random photos so very few exist of Valentino as a very young child. But this is of he and his Papa standing near an old vehicle out near their home.

This expression is one I often still see on his face of intensity and questioning. Almost anticipation of what is to come next. What I love in this photo is the smile on his father’s face. Everyone remembers him as so serious but the hand to his son’s shoulder and smile speak volumes of love and pride to me.

Liberation Day April 25th

April 25, 2010 at 22:00 | Posted in Carnival of Genealogy, Current Events, Itri, Italy, memories, Political Opinions, Somber Sunday | 1 Comment
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Liberation Day is celebrated in Italy on April 25th. This is a day to remember being liberated at the end of WWII. There are wonderful parades in all the small towns as well as the major ones all throughout Italy. We enjoyed watching the parades in Cavezzo, a small town not far from Carpi and Modena in the Emilia-Romagna Region.

Sadly this year saw demonstrations turned nasty even in Rome – people the world over are frustrated with their governments, but let’s not forget that Liberation Day is to commemorate the sacrifices made on behalf of freedom-loving people suffering through WWII. Don’t toss that off lightly because we are unhappy now. Rather let us all remember and appreciate the awful prices our ancestors paid to give us life and for the hope of future generations. I have written before about Valentino’s family and the horrors they went through. I often wonder how they managed. I too often suspect we of this generation would not have the strength of spirit or heart to face those challenges now. How would those who live in 40 and 50 floor apartment buildings manage without electricity to run elevators? How would all those city dwellers manage to grow food without yards? It was a different time, granted. Yet we need to consider how very brave and daring they were – how self-sustaining and independent they were, willing to meet all challenges to bring about the end of the war. They often prayed it would be the war to end all wars. Sadly there are those who are only too willing to forget that. I don’t claim to know the answers to end war or to broker peace. But I do want to say thank you for those ancestors who did play a part to bring about Liberation for Europe (and Asia later) and pray we never become insensitive to their sacrifices on all our behalves!

This memorial stands outside the Church of the Annunziata in the center of Itri. The inscription reads:

revered corpses

Itri

To her heroes of all the wars all who come of the cross without waiting for the resurrection.

So too we offer prayers for all those of all the towns of Europe and everywhere!

Furry Friends Friday 4/23/10

April 23, 2010 at 00:34 | Posted in Carnival of Genealogy, Furry Friends Friday, memories | Leave a comment
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Life has been hectic and filled with sad endings as well as happy new beginnings.

One of the sad occasions was the farewell we had to give our beloved English Bulldog Contessa Bue (Countess Bull for the non-Italian speakers) – or as we called her, Baby. She was with us for ten joyful and love filled years. One of my sons bought her as a new pup and she immediately became the dowager of the family! She controlled and trained us well! Horribly she was the product of a disreputable breeder and pet store – so disreputable, the animal control and licensing folks shut the store down. In spite of her disabilities, she was playful almost to the end and positively gentle and loving. Where I went, she followed. My son claimed I spoiled her rotten and I have to admit I did. What Baby wanted, she got always! What she wanted was tons of affection and her back to be scratched – both easy chores for us! When it was obvious she was suffering too much, we made our final goodbyes. My heart broke watching her suffer and I wanted to spare her any additional pain. Letting her pass quietly at home was no longer an option. She is at peace now but she will always be part of our family and memories!

My dear sons realized I was aching so they took it upon themselves to research a dog breed that would live a long life if properly cared for. We had also lost an English Springer about 3 years previously so I was afraid to lose another pampered pet Sir Bramble Patch also had a long life (ten years) and was a member of the family so we knew we would not want another loss too soon. We love the concepts behind Rescue Pets so that was our first choice to find a new little one. Soon enough my sons found a beautiful 10 week old Rat Terrier pup through one of the local organizations. She is spayed and micro-chipped already and is housebroken. Within moments she was ours as she snuggled with first me and then Valentino. By the first morning she decided it is her job to wake everyone so she makes the rounds from room to room to gently lick faces good morning!

If you have never considered a Rescue Pet, please do so. Some are abused, some were given up because owners could no longer care for them, and some are puppies or kittens that need a good home. Often Rescue Organizations will rescue abandoned animals from kill shelters when they are in danger of being euthanized. Please consider this instead of encouraging puppy mills that subject their “breeder moms” to horrendous conditions. Those pups will often suffer as a result of congenital problems. Most Rescue Organizations try to care for the animals in home settings so they are aware of not only health conditions but also any personality quirks.

Our new little one was one of those special ones as her mama was found in a dumpster with her pups. We are grateful someone took the time to rescue them because we cannot imagine life without her already!

Meet Sophia – named for a famous Italian Sophia, of course!

Ancestor Approved Award 4/4/2010

April 4, 2010 at 19:32 | Posted in ancestry, Awards, Bits and Pieces, family history, family research, genealogy, memories | 3 Comments
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I might be considered too old for a visit from the Easter Bunny but this morning I did indeed find a pleasant surprise: an Ancestor Approved Award thanks to Roots’n’Leaves!

There are a few things, obligations so to speak, that go hand in hand with this award. The first part is to “list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened you” and then to “pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud.”

My ten:

  1. Humbled: My mother in law Concetta did not learn to read and write until well into her seventies. She wanted to be able to

    read the bible for herself!

  2. Surprised: My father in law Francesco was the cook for the railroad crew he worked with because he cooked better than anyone else in the group! He was quite proud of his cooking skills.
  3. Enlightened: The official in the anagrafe – the office of vital statistics in Campodimele, Italy is a relative of my husband.
  4. Surprised: Facebook is a wonderful social medium to find family members. We have now made contact with several relatives overseas who have also now made additional contacts with extended family. It surprises and humbles me to witness the joy of family reconnecting over such long distances and time.
  5. Enlightened: When I started my family genealogy journey in 1996, I had no idea how passionately I would feel about this quest. What started as a chance to introduce my sons to their dad’s family has become a bigger blessing to me in some respects! I was not sure how my sons would look at all the information. In the beginning they questioned what purpose it would serve. Now they simply enjoy learning about family and meeting them either in person or via the computer and emails.
  6. Surprised: Valentino Pannozzo, my husband’s grandfather wore regular shoes instead of Roman sandals for the first time in a photograph taken two weeks before he died.
  7. Humbled: This same man Valentino Pannozzo in his eighties was still in love with his wife and referred to her as his “little doll” to everyone! How unusual for his era!
  8. Humbled: The love and mutual respect for each other in this family has survived in spite of the separation by distance and has even grown stronger over the years. They are fiercely loyal to one another in all aspects of their lives.
  9. Surprised that once I discovered the name of a grandparent (long forgotten by most in the family) there were suddenly many people (unrelated) I met who knew her and have begun to share stories!
  10. Humbled: I met an elderly gentleman who knew a grandfather well. The day I found his death certificate via the help of an official in Campodimele, I met this elderly man in another town. It was a chance meeting and yet I know there was nothing just luck about it. He regaled us with stories about both the son (a great uncle to us) and father ( the grandfather) that we had never known. And he touched my heart as he cried about the death of his best friend (the son) sixty years earlier. His memories of the incident and how it affected the father touched me profoundly. I understood then how Grandfather Valentino still wore a black armband two years after the death of his son!

Ten Blogs That Also Do Their Ancestors Proud:

  1. Rootdigger
  2. Digging in.. To My Past
  3. Elyse’s Genealogy Blog
  4. Family Tree Writer
  5. Geneapprentice
  6. Keeper Of The Records
  7. Kick-Ass Genealogy
  8. La Mia Famiglia
  9. Our Family Tree Bears Fruit
  10. Sharing Our Family’s Memories

I think you will enjoy these blogs, each nominated for their unique styles. I find something of worth in all their posts each time! I hope you all do too!

Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter to All!

April 4, 2010 at 17:59 | Posted in Amore di Italia | 1 Comment
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When I was a teenager I worked at a local department store. I worked in gifts and candy selling primarily Russell Stover and Wedgewood. I enjoyed working there and found I loved selling. More importantly I discovered I was very good at it while being totally honest with people. I didn’t have to resort to lies or trickery to sell.ple responded to the truth and I was able to meet sales quotas and bonus marks consistently! Over in the next department was the infant wear and accessory items. At Easter they offered wonderful stuffed animals in soft pastel colors to appeal to all the children. Way up in a high display sat the softest sweetest beige mama bunny in a pink velvet skirt. She held a baby bunny in her arms. But the selling point at least for me was that she was fitted with a music box too. When the music played she rocked her baby gently. I was no longer a young child but for some reason this bunny spoke to me. I was captivated by her. She was not an inexpensive creature so there was going to be a nice bonus to whoever sold her. I dreaded seeing her leave. My mom came to shop that week for special Russell Stover chocolates for the adult family and friends we shared Easter with. Unbeknownst to me, she had already done some shopping. I never caught on but she had listened when my friends and I talked about this sweet bunny. Within six months I would be leaving Connecticut to go to college. She knew I would need a reminder of home and maybe even a silent friend to be with me.

Easter morning there in place of chocolate in my basket sat this precious velveteen rabbit with baby! When September came, she and baby traveled to school with me and was given a place to sit in my dorm room. She was indeed a reminder of how loved I was whenever I was feeling homesick. Today she sits atop an armoire in our bedroom, still reminding me of home so long ago! She carries with her still a reminder that our greatest gift was the one given freely for us at Easter. May you all know be blessed with the peace of Easter. I pray you are all blessed with joy, health, and more this Easter! Io prego Lei è tutto benedetti con gioia, salute e più questa Pasqua!

Treasure Chest Thursday – Concetta’s Earrings

March 26, 2010 at 05:01 | Posted in Carnival of Genealogy, memories, Treasure Chest Thursday | 2 Comments
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When her son brought his bride home, she gave the newlyweds her bedroom. Every morning she would insist on bringing them the first coffee in bed. She planned a huge party for the couple as a wedding reception. All of the family came from all around Italy for the party. Furniture was cleared out of the main room and huge tables were set around the walls of the room in a big square so no one would feel left out. Neighbors and friends came all day to bring gifts for the couple and take photos of them together. The big table in the front room displayed all of the presents for everyone to view.

It was Concetta’s gift to Bonnie that was the most special of all.

The women all went to the bedroom to help Bonnie prepare. They fingered the beautiful wedding gown and touched the little seed pearls. Laid out on the dresser was a pair of obviously gold antique earrings. The daughters and granddaughters were all talking about them. Each remembered watching Concetta


 

polish these beautiful earrings and replace them in her dresser. Everyone gathered close as Concetta picked them up one at a time to place in Bonnie’s ears. It was then she embraced Bonnie and told her, “Valentino, my tesoro, is my baby son. But now you are my daughter. When the two of you disagree, I will stand beside you so that you will not be divided by me. These earrings are yours now because you are my daughter. You come before nieces and granddaughters.”

And this was the love she gave to the American girl who loved her son. Unquestioning, unwavering, steadfast love for all of her life. Bonnie vowed she would follow the path this woman taught her when it became her turn to be a mother in law too.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Miei Tesori!

March 18, 2010 at 01:43 | Posted in Carnival of Genealogy, family history, genealogy, Treasure Chest Thursday | 4 Comments
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 My best treasure here on earth? My four sons. Each of them would by themselves would be a blessing to any parent. For me to have been so blessed has been joy beyond belief! Never, not even for one moment have we regretted being their parents! Four decent young adults now – but they were four rambunctious delightful boys growing up. We were never a wealthy family but we were rich in our identity as a family. I began my hobby turned passion of genealogy in order to teach my sons their heritage, to introduce them to family they had not met. When Valentino became disabled, all four understood we had to make changes and adapt. Later when I was forced into a wheelchair due to an injury, again they adapted. Whatever needed to be done, was accepted and done. Yes, of course they had moments they did not agree with or enjoy. We encouraged them to always speak freely and honestly even with complaints. We asked only they do so respectfully. Our lives revolved around home and church. They developed close bonds with one another. Yet they were typical brothers with disagreements, anger, frustrations. Their personalities like their looks were and are totally different. They could hardly be called “four peas in a pod.” Still they loved one another then and now. A shared special bond that nothing will break. Each is opinionated and stubborn in their own ways. They voice those opinions freely to one another. Each is always eager to tell the other right from wrong, how to look, how to act, even how to react. But they are always brothers. They stand for one another against the world when it counts. And they love deeply. They are family, blood. They learned well the lessons of family we wanted them to know. Time, age, none of it matters. Only the bond of family stands the test of time. Nw as they look at the next generation in the eyes of children and nieces, they know well what family means. For me as a mother and grandmother, I could ask for no more. I miei tesori! These are my treasures! I thank God I was and am so blessed!

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