It also emails, sends Facebook messages, Facebook Friend requests. It has been a whirlwind ride since Thursday November 11th. On Thursday Nov. 4th I sent almost 40 letters to Melfi, Italy. And then I waited, and worried, and wondered. The Post Office lady said it would take 6-10 days for the letters to be delivered. By the 8th day the emails started to come. First, just two, the next day; two more and it has been non stop since.
Those of my father’s generation ( all of them his cousins ) are in their 70’s plus. My dad would have been 88 this past October. Of course most are not computer literate, so their children ( my generation ) are writing on their behalf. And they are writing for themselves as well. Then there is the next generation, they are writing and Facebooking, in numbers.
Melfi is a very small city. As a matter of fact, as of only 10 years ago it hadn’t changed much since the time of my grandfathers childhood. It’s funny because I’ve always known about Melfi and known it was a very small village not far from Naples. Many years ago I had a regular customer in my store who is ( still ) the head of the language dept. for a large private boys Catholic school. During a conversation one day she insisted that there was NO Melfi. She insisted that I was thinking of Amalfi. I kept telling her that it was near Naples and she would not believe me. HA! Well, I will be contacting her to see if she will give me private lessons in Italian, I can’t wait to slip in Melfi….
I have found Google Translator to be of great value and service! Some know English, most do not. It’s funny because they apologize for their English and I tell them “Please do not apologize. Your English is better than my Italian!” It’s true though, I have been paying attention to basic words. Even with the translator though, the words get mixed up some to accommodate the language. Some correspondence has been difficult to understand because the translator does the same thing back. But we figure it out and the willingness to know each other has overcome the barrier.
I want to say something here that my family might not understand; I am so proud of myself! They know I have spent a lot of time doing this research, but I don’t know if they realize how much time or how difficult and tedious it was. The more I worked on this the more determined I became and I found myself very protective of my findings. Of course I want to share with them but it seemed like they would take what I found and share it with the rest of the world with no recognition for me. Selfish right? Needy? I feel bad that I feel that way. But I also feel like I worked so very hard to get here. Any one of them could have gotten the phone listings for Melfi. It took me all of about half and hour to do that and print it. It took a bit longer to compose the letter, get it translated into Italian, have it checked BY an Italian here, put old photos together so they might see who I was inquiring about, address each one, stamp (.98) each one and mail them. I guess since I have no life outside of work, I don’t understand. They all have children, family and/or lots of friends to do things with. I don’t. Maybe that’s the difference.
Well, anyway I’m happy so and like I said, I am so proud of myself. This has been a great ego boost for me.