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Enter at your own risk an eclectic journey through a cluttered mind, streaming consciousness, not to be understood by all, but freed by me to you...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Armando from Avezzano in Abruzzo

Abruzzo is my ancestral province, and home to L'Aquila, its local capital city. Other important cities are Avezzano, Paterno, Celano and Sulmona, confetti capital of the world. Nonno Salvatore Ranelli was born in Paterno di Celano, as I remember him telling me. He was so proud of his roots. He only passed on one name and address to me, that of his niece, Palmina Ulanio, whose address was in Paterno. Thankfully, Gabriele picked up on that and today I actually have contact with relatives who are descended from Giovanni Ranelli and Maria Trotta. Oh, how I wish I hade a photo of them, to see what they looked like. The cemetery in Paterno didn't yield any luck. Unbelievably, though, their descendents have voices that transcended the generations and their stories are priceless, more than diamonds or gold. Gabriele felt my heart crying out for some long, lost information on my family, where they came from, how they lived,what they did, and what they thought. He introduced me to Antonina, Giovanni, Gisella & Emmanuele, to LeTizia, Adelaide & Carlo. We visited il castello of Il Principe. Most important were the remains of the Statue of the Madonna, the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1915 the area of Avezzano was leveled to ground zero by an earthquake, a terrible terremotto. The broken pieces of the column of the statue still remains. Was Great Nonna's spine broken, too? Figuratively and literally? She went to that statue and threw herself down where she drowned. Was it a canal, a lake? She had lost her husband, Giovanni, in a violent accident on the train tracks where he worked. She had many children, but why no hope? Suicide is a peaceful ending to their pain but the travesty it wreaks on those left behind is unmeasurable. Wasn't there something anyone could do to prevent it? It makes one tremendously guilty. Who raised the children? How many were there? What were there names? Why didn't my grandfather or Great Zio Riccardo ever tell any of us? It must be the stigma, too taboo to talk about it. Their children survived and are healthy, and beautiful, artistic and creative. Their blood runs in my veins and carries the same DNA. Ranelli is a beautiful name, uncommon in the United States, but alive in Italy, and it is Abruzzi. How soon will it be before I return? Thank you, Gabriele, Gisella, Armando & Valeria!


At 6/4/09 5:43 PM, Blogger evresbo said...

HI Donna, my name is Sam Rulli (I don't know if you remember me or not but I was a friend of your brothers and very good friend of your grandparents and uncle John). I was trying to get some information on Paterno today to find out how much damage there was and I saw your note. It was great to read it and it brought back some very nice memories of your family. I hope that you are well.



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