UNFOCUSED? OR JUST OLD AND WORN?  Either way, I decided to submit this photo.  This is my family.  Or I should say, my mom’s family.  We are Italian.  Mom was born there. (So was dad.  I was made there and traveled here to be born.  I’m sure there’s more story to this, but I digress…)

The beautiful woman in this photo is my maternal grandmother at age 35, and grandfather, age 37.  The photo was taken in 1925.  And the rest of these lovely, but unfocused people are my aunts, uncles, and my dear, sweet mom.

Left to right:  Next to my grandmother is my Zio Ivo. He was a policeman.  He was killed returning home from work, when his motorcycle was struck by a drunken driver.  He was 46.

Next to Ivo is my grandmother, Gemma.  I am named for her.  I am lucky she had such a beautiful name.

Next to her, grandfather, Cesario.  He worked for the railroad.  I know very little about him. I think he worked a lot and left family matters to my grandmother, as was the custom.

Next to grand dad is my Zio Umberto.  During World War II, on his 30th birthday, my grandmother was informed that her son went missing in action.  He was never found and is presumed dead.  How does a mother cope with that kind of sadness?

In front of Zio Umberto is Zio Victorio.  He died of cancer at the age of 68.

Back to the left, two below grand mom is Zio Alessio.  He died of cancer at the age of 59.  Just recently, I started emailing his son, my cousin, named for Zio Umberto.  He writes to me in Italian, I respond in English.  Talk about unfocused!  Neither of us is very good at each other’s language, but we manage.

The little boy at the bottom left was my Zio Rubes.  He was the only uncle that came to America.  I’m thankful that I, at least, got to know him.  He died at the age of 72.  Cancer, as well.

The girl in the middle with her head tilted back a bit is my Zia Maria.  She had traveled to America with her American husband before my mom came here, and her house became my home away from home.  Italian families can have their trials and tribulations and ours was no different.  My Zia Maria’s house was my safe haven. Zia died when she was 68.

Since this photo was taken in 1925, my Zia Iole didn’t make the picture.  She wasn’t born until 1932. Iole was the baby.  As an adult, she married and moved to Australia with her family.  Her husband, daughter, and two grandchildren, Kurt and Gemma, still live there. Zio Iole died of cancer  several years ago.

All left this earth when they were way too young.

And finally,

the little girl with the hat is my mom.  She is 89 years old now.  Yes.  I said IS.  Mom is still here with me, thankfully.  She lives in her own apartment, walks everyday – weather permitting – and doesn’t look a day over 75!  I am grateful every day that I have her here with me, nearby, safe, and still as feisty as ever.

A clearer picture of an unfocused photo.