Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Happy New Year in Tasso

Bright and early on New Year's Eve Day Jim and Gloria headed back to Tasso in a rented car in hopes of finding Wilma and Franco Ferrera and getting more information about Grandpa Andrew's family. With the help of a phone book and our Tom Tom GPS we lovingly call, "Susan" they were able to drive up into the hills between Chiavari and Genova and were able to drive right to the home of the Ferreras.

As they progressed along a country road that got narrower and narrower and more winding they were concerned that Susan had lost her way but their faith was restored when they saw this...

The road got smaller and smaller until they hair-pinned around a turn and saw a little tiny town with a few buildings and a cathedral.

We have discovered through our research that Tasso was never really a town. When Italy became the United Kingdom of Italy in 1860 and was organized into the country we know it as today, many of the little villages and hamlets and in some cases, clumps of houses were organized into Communes. Tasso is a little Frazioni or fraction of the commune of Lumarzo. One can see how sometimes it is imperative to actually go to a place where an ancestor is from in order to "get it."

Wilma Ferrera and Gloria

Following the increasingly narrowing road they eventually came to the very house where the Ferraras lived. They had only a few common names that helped them communicate with Wilma who spoke no English at all and thought they were selling something. Their limited Ciao and Grazie didn't get them any farther. But through gesturing she recognized they were familia and then she relaxed and tried to understand what they were looking for which was Gloria's father house.

Jim's question to her was could he drive to it? She then gestured for them to get in her car and they all went up to the actual site of Grampa's home a short distance away. The house is crumbling in despair and within a few years will be completely gone...but for now this is what they found.

We are not sure if the dormant vines are being held up by the remains of the house or vice versa! Part of it had completely crumbled away. Part of it still remains but for how long is uncertain. The important thing is they got there in time. Both Jim and Gloria were able to make that connection to this native soil of their past and it was an emotional moment for them. I knew it would be and I really wanted this moment to be just for the two of them. Wilma sensing the same, remained in the car while they visited what was to them, this sacred place. They were able to bring a brick back from the house as a keep sake.

Gloria approaching the home where her father was born
114 and a half years ago on October 4, 1895.
I know she never dreamed this day
would or could happen

~what a blessing!

"Grampa Green Doors"

It has been interesting for me to see these photos and to realize that this house with its green doors was the inspiration for the Grampa Green paint.

We purchased their home when they no longer could care for it in their advancing years and every possible thing that was in his part of the domain (the yard and the garage) was painted this "Grampa Green color! I mean it was everywhere, the fence, the picnic table and benches, the shed, the name it...Grampa Green was on every conceivable, paintable surface outside. Oddly he would mix this color himself until it was perfecto!

At the time I wasn't overly thrilled about that but now...30 something years later...I can appreciate it with new eyes and a greater love for a wonderful man whom I called Grampa, that came a very long way from home in his life time. And now I understand that he made this green paint to remind him of that first home with the green doors and his family and childhood memories of his early life in the old country.

This life is full of wonderful surprises and lessons to be learned. Wasn't this a totally touching, serendipity experience? It is not hard at all for us to see God's hand in it.


Shaun at Oak Den said...

I LOVE this story. Thank you for sharing it!

Marie said...

Wonderful post as always Bonnie. I enjoyed this trip back to Jim's roots and the photos. The older I get, the more important my roots become to me. It's pretty special isn't it?

Deanna Munoz said...

That is absolutely amazing. An unforgettable experience I am sure. Thanks for sharing, I loved the pictures.

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Morning Bon Bon,
Wow! what a neat story. I better Jim and Gloria were amazed and awed and so grateful for this opportunity. And you are such a great wife to let them enjoy that experience together by themselves,
that is your Mother's heart that understands how that would feel!
Bless you too for giving them that time together! A lot of wives would not have done that!!
That is so neat that there were at least parts of the home still standing and the green doors. How neat that he loved that so much he put it everywhere in his yard. It is so amazing how something that we don't appreciate about someone can we totally transformed in a second by the revealing of knowledge that we did not have before. God is amazing in that way!! Course, God is amazing in everyway!! lol
Who would have thought at 83 she would even be able to take this trip let alone get to see where he was born. Had she ever seen it when she was younger??? Know Jim didn't but didn't know if they met in Italy or they lived in different areas or what?? What a joyful story and thanks for sharing it, and tell Jim and Gloria I am so happy for them.
What a great experience, I am sure it was very moving!!
So how is your bathroom coming along??? Hope they are done or at least nearing that point by now,
and hope it is warmer in your house
now. Course, don't know what your temps are like right now.
We were only suppose to go to 37
last night and we went to 25. We simply can not believe how long this freeze is lasting. Amazing!!
Well, you have a Wonderful day,
hope you are starting to get back into the swing of things. I've got my family room and part of the dining room and the bathroom back to normal, so I need to finish the dining room and do the living room.
I love to use my Burgundy reds until spring, it is warm and cozy!
This is my french country time of the year! I have a few Roosters, so they come out into the family room for Winter, then in spring go to another part of the house. I am taking them from my computer room this time.
Have a great day hon,
Love and Blessings, Nellie

LA Adams said...

Hearts of the children have turned to their fathers......what a connection! And you're still connected with family and children living there and keeping the circles turning.