That just plain me, would be so talked about in a tiny pocket of the mountains of Italy! It’s been a couple of weeks now since I’ve made the connection with family in Melfi, Italy. They all use Facebook, once the “word” got out that I am also on Facebook the requests came fast and furious. Many write in Italian, some in English. I have responded to everyone, my “friends list” has grown and suddenly I’m the popular kid!
We have each posted old family photos to share with each other. One photo in particular showed a large family group and named many cousins and other relatives for me to know. I posted a comment which I translated into Italian via google. I noticed later that many of them had also commented but all in Italian. My curiosity drove me to translate each one as I spotted 2 of my sisters names and mine. Much to my amazement they were, in a sense, competing with each other over who “chatted” with which of us. They all said how kind and loving I am, my sisters much the same. Since I was the one to initiate “the letter” I have been the talk of the city. Get that! What a hoot. It turns out that the one cousin I have had the most contact with, Filomena, works in what she calls the “MaxiMart”. She tells me that all of the family shops there so I assume it is a grocery store. Apparently she has told each and every relative about every communication she and I have had. To say she is thrilled is probably an understatement.
Wow, I never expected this. I had only hoped that one of my 39 letters would reach someone who might know something about my grandfather. It has turned into….well….um, I can’t describe it other than to say it is surreal. I have learned that Melfi isn’t really as small as I had originally been told. Apparently it has risen to Citta’ status, with the largest Fiat plant in Italy there I guess it was to be. However, statistical reports still have the population numbers fairly small. I suppose it only seems small to me.
I’m wishing now that we were not in full Christmas mode. Everything I want to do has to wait until the frenzy of this holiday is over. We here in Rochester NY have been doused with a large blanket of snow in the past couple of days, it slows things down tremendously. It takes me much longer to get to work or anywhere else for that matter. More of my free time is spent shoveling what my plow guy doesn’t get. So anyway, I want to go around my “Citta’ ” with my camera and shoot some pictures to send them. Today I think I will take my little Flip video camera to work. Later this afternoon I am meeting with an author friend at the Italian American Community Center to share all of my findings and correspondence with Melfi family. He is very interested in my results and may also open a door or two for me to continue an idea I have. Being a retired professor at a local college I think he may have some names and connections that could put me on track. He is also very involved with the IACC, that might help too.
This process has opened up a new world for me. It has given me much needed confidence and in some ways validation to my life. Little did I know….