106. A Message from Italy

I’ve had two lovely surprises during these terrible times.

I was showing my husband Ben something on my Facebook account, and he said, “Hey, you’ve got a lot of messages here!” “A message? What’s that?” I replied, not being the swiftest with all this social media stuff. Well, it turns out that sitting there for three months, out of the blue, was a note from my cousin Giacomo in Rome, including a photo of my extended family on Christmas Eve. He writes, “Tomorrow, I’ll celebrate New Year’s Eve with my sisters and our friends in my home. I am very happy that I can talk to you now, but for the next time, we can talk also in Italian. (Clara and Angela said to me that you speak Italian Very well!!!) Buon Anno to you, Ben, Lizy, Maria and Rocky!!”

In the photo, my first cousins Giacomo, Angela and Annalisa, the three children of my Uncle Pasquale, are at the far end of the table, surrounded by children, spouses, and grandchildren.

The whole gang on Christmas Eve
My father with Angela and Annalisa, circa 1950

I have not seen my cousin Giacomo since my family’s trip to Italy in 1965, but I would recognize his Simeone hairline, just like my father’s and replicated in his son, the young man in front in the photo.

The other lovely surprise? I decided to use the stay-home edict as motivation to take on an hour of household cleaning or organization every day. On the first day, I tackled the dining room closet. closettrash2Amidst all the junk I was apparently saving for no good reason, I came upon a long-forgotten envelope of century-old family photos, from both my mother’s and my father’s side. My wonderful photography instructor George Tate always says that photos are one of the few things that gain value as time goes on, until they become priceless. He’s right.

My father in white, with his big brother Pasquale

There’s a bittersweet quality to Giacomo’s message, of course. Filled with holiday spirit and the joy of togetherness, they look innocent to us, not knowing as we do now that a murderous public health catastrophe is headed right their way, full steam. I hope they’re all right.  I hope and pray that next year, there will be another holiday picture waiting for me.

The next two generations

5 thoughts on “106. A Message from Italy

  1. Great looking family and terrific old photos. Your father as a young child was so cute, and his big brother was already a handsome dude. The inscription under their photo is puzzling. I used a translation service to come up with: Daisy Format. What the heck?

    And “margherita” means daisy? So how did the classic pizza get that name?

    Finally, I share your concern for your relatives. They, as well as us, had no idea what was heading our way as we celebrated Christmas.

    Happy New Year indeed.


    1. Pizza Margherita was created in honor of Queen Margherita of Italy on the occasion of her visit to Naples. Yes, it means Daisy. I figure Formato Margherita was the name of the photography studio.


  2. An uplifting story in these horrific times . Hope your family will be okay and you too! Love seeing your family photos and reading that you found a treasure in the closet. It’s inspiring me to tackle one in my house. Joy


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