Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Family Legend

An old school friend recently found me on Facebook and after reading my profile and seeing my photos asked, “What is your connection between doing genealogy and the Italian Military?” I will try to answer that question.  
Yes, I do major genealogy work on all my family lines. I have gone back as far as the 1400’s on a couple of our family branches. I researched as far back as Earls & Dukes and royal bloodlines using only encyclopedias, before there was the internet! I followed family trees back to the Tudors and then read every book I could find afterwards to back my findings. I wrote letters to many government offices both in the US and in Italy and obtained all the needed birth, marriage and death certificates to claim our surname ancestry. I earned my family as well as myself, Italian citizenship for my hard work endeavors. It was quite the feeling of accomplishment to secure foreign citizenship thru genealogy. I was born with the desire to research and find my ancestors. So, when I married into my Italian family, I wanted to know not only bloodlines but who the ancestors were....
This is a story that ONLY close family members know. I live under cover as a photography enthusiast surrounding myself with flowers from my gardens and wild songbirds… usually I have a half-dozen German Shepherds protecting me at all times… my dogs bring me great comfort.
I found recently hidden in a long-lost, un-tagged web-blog: “HELP-WANTED! DO YOU KNOW THIS PERSON?” It read; ”Do you know this Italian Princess? " I had discovered that I was the sole, lost heiress of a Sicilian cannoli boss, that made his money under the guise of THE VIVONNI CANNOLI, The Best Sicilian Pasticceria (bakery) and Cannoli boss in all of Sicily! The bakery boss, Francesco Vivonni, made BIG Tube Cannoli vs. the small standard size tube desserts, so giving him the nick-name, (you guessed it) “The Grande Vivonni Cannoli!” After I married the Trapani's great-great grandson, Rossi Vivonni, the Italian intelligence sent out an agent to find me. The undercover agent was named CarloPier. He pretended to love my daughter, just to get to me! He married her at a big Italian wedding in our Oklahoma backyard! He took her away, where they had 3 little bambinos just so that I would come to Italy and visit them and hopefully claim my inheritance from the cannoli boss and continue the family business of The VIVONNI CANNOLI Pasticceria!
But alas, I could not leave my family here in the U.S. scattered about like overcooked penne pasta in Oklahoma & Arkansas... I am content living my life happily as a wife, mother and gram in OK/USA, (but with a constant craving for cappuccino & cannoli ! : ) 
In my blood, I believe there is a true connection between myself and England's royal bloodline still waiting to be proved. My genealogy endeavors will continue in many directions and I plan to travel to the places that my soul longs to see.
When I travel to Italy to visit my daughter’s family, living hidden away, behind a high wall of protection in the boot-heel of Italy, I watch from her many balconies the Italian Military jets fly over and wonder if they see me too?
But alas... I live disguised as an American tourist with a camera, a journal and a pen and a royal imagination! :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don't AIR Your Dirty Laundry In Italy

After one of my daughters became engaged to an Italian AF pilot during his training in the U.S., she and I traveled to Italy for an extended stay. My husband and I wanted to get a comfort level for the lifestyle change our daughter was about to experience in Italy. Italian homemaking would mean living a culture that was less dependent on household conveniences such as a dishwasher, microwave or a clothes dryer. We found an apartment to rent in a small town close to her fiancĂ©’s base. Learning to use the wash machine to do our laundry was easy enough but drying our clothes meant hanging our wet garments on a drying-rack on the balcony. We didn’t like the idea of our new Italian neighbors seeing our “unmentionables” so we hung them to the back of the drying-rack. On one of our morning strolls to the open market, as we got to the main street we both gasped at the sight that blocked our path. There in the middle of the sidewalk, framed by her doorway was an old woman, seated in a dining room chair. Above her hung a clothes-pinned line with big white GRANNY UNDERWEAR waving like a billowing banner in the breeze! We had to assume that MODESTY had been thrown out like dirty wash water and that the saying, “don’t air your dirty, or CLEAN laundry in public,” was not relevant in Italy!