Letters from my father


I wish I had some letters from my dad that he’d written to me but I think I might have found something a little better. I think I have mentioned that in 1998 my dad and his eldest brother went to Italy. They visited many relatives and the town in which my grandparents and uncle were born. They also visited some other tourist sites but mostly spent time with family in Campolieto. Today I was cleaning out a cabinet and found the bag of papers and pamphlets my dad brought back from his trip along with the trip journal. I found among the pamphlets a typed letter dated July 1998. It was from my dad and uncle to their relatives in Italy!

In reading those letters, I was able to get a glimpse of what my dad felt and experienced while in Italy. I also learned that he and my uncle planned to try to return in 2-3 years after that trip but I am sure that after 9/11, things changed.  I guess I’ll never really know why they could not return since both have passed on. I still plan to go myself one day. I hope that day is sooner rather than later at this point. The longing I feel to make this trip is so deep, words will not do it justice so I won’t try.

My dad did say in one part of the letters that being in Campolieto was like being home. He made many comparisons to the homes of relatives and his parents’ home while growing up. I am certain the similarities are still there. Dad mentioned that the food and homemade wine tasted the same as his parents did which is amazing since they left in 1923 and 1929 and never were able to return. Sometimes the thought of my grandparents not being able to visit their homeland makes me sad. I know their siblings and parents had to have missed them along with numerous other relatives.  I can only hope that I am able to make the familial connections when I finally get to go visit.

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9 thoughts on “Letters from my father

  1. Hi Michelle,

    Great post. I really hope you get to go someday. When I was able to visit there, (it was a backpacking trip across Europe so my aunt hooked me up with my Italian relatives who didn’t speak English) I felt like I became aware of a hole in me that I didn’t know existed before – and now it was filled in. It wasn’t a soul searching thing, but it was that feeling that this is where I (my genealogy, my history) was from. It was really cool. Start saving and make the goal happen!

    One thing through – I was only there for 10 days and I really missed our American conveniences – like dishwashers and clothes dryers!

    • Liz,
      Thank you for sharing your experiences. I also feel like I have a hole in me and I know it won’t get filled until I visit there with my family. As soon as we get Christmas out of the way, I will be saving as much as possible.

  2. Michelle – I also hope one day you and your family get visit your family in Italy. It will be memory you will cherish forever and be able to share with your children, grandchildren and other family members (me).

    Aunt Pat

    • Aunt Pat,
      That means a lot to me and I can’t wait to share my trip experiences with my family as well. Thank you for being a faithful reader and supporter of my blog and work.

  3. The beautiful things about are family history are so important! I am glad you found your letter. I so hope you get to make that trip.

    I’ve always wished my grandfather had left me a letter. I grew up with my him and my grandmother. Then when I was going through all my stuff and reorganizing it for the move – including going through a stack of papers from which my grandmother died, I found a letter I don’t remember ever reading – right before my grandfather died of cancer when I was 11 (and not living at them at the time) – I had sent them a book of poems I had written and my grandmother included a quote from my grandfather about how impressive he thought them. Well, I just sat down and cried. Those words meant so much to me:)

    I think you need a Giada-like traveling experience through Italy – letting us see all the yum things you eat!!!! And, how to make them!!!

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