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.



    • Thanks for stopping back. And I appreciate your appreciation. 🙂 It’s odd how this blogging experience brings out the ‘share’ in people. I love it. The sad and the glad. Peace. G

      Sent from my iPad

  1. Thank you for sharing your family story. My Zia Elda is also in Australia (Melbourne) and Zia Silvana passed away a few years ago from a stroke. My own sweet Mama, Maria, is still going strong at 82. 🙂 She unfortunately lives in California, and we’re in Maine, so I don’t get to see her very often.

    Where is your family from? Mine is from Trieste. 🙂

    • SHUT UP!!!!! Trieste as well!! Thats wild! Thanks for visiting. I can’t wait to tell mom. Sorry your mom’s so far away. My mom use to live in Florida for quite a while. I’m so glad she’s back here now. Time for you to plan a ‘Road Trip!’ 🙂

      • HOLY CATS! Wow! What’s your family name? My Mom’s is Bensi. Her Mom (Nonna) was Giovanna (Gabrijel) Bensi, my Nonno was Antonio Bensi. Her sisters are Elda and Silvana; Elda is younger, Silvana older by a few years. So probably close to your Mom’s age.

        That would be SO weird if our families knew each other. Zio Carletto Gregorovich (Zia Silvana’s husband) still lives in the same apartment, over near the soccer stadium, and not too far from where the Risiera was.

        My Nonno was an alpini (skiing army) between WWI and WWII…he didn’t like the Nazis and rather than serve, he went “underground”. The Nazis actually showed up at their apartment and demanded to see him, but Mom and Zia S. were able to say with all honesty that they didn’t know where he was.

        I have some of Mom’s old report cards…her elementary school was Ruggero Timeus, I think that’s at Via del’Istria if I am reading them right. She was taught by nuns…

        You have to let me know what your family name is so I can ask my Mom. Trieste is a big city but still…you never know!!

      • Dad sent this information from my Mom…

        “Ma lived in San Giacomo on via Montecchi. Where in Australia is the sister. Melbourne ?????”

        He asks because a lot of Triestini ended up in Melbourne. Even my Zia Silvana went for a short time, but went back home to Trieste after a few years. Zia Elda and her husband, Giorgio Cusani, stayed. She’s still there–Zio Giorgio died some time back.

  2. This was WONDERFUL, Gemma. A real family portrait, complete with stories. And so fascinating to see — not the usual adults who come with the stories, but the adults when they were children! Poignant really, as you know what will happen to them even as they are young and hopeful and looking forward. Your mom was adorable, and has obviously graduated to beautiful, inside and out.
    P.S. That last line truly IS a winner. You’re entitled to be very proud of it.

  3. What a wonderful, unfocused photo and even more wonderful story. Knowing your family history so well is a blessing. Love your mom’s hat and that she’s near and dear to you. Bellissimo!

  4. Absolutely stunning post and photo Gemma! Wow! You are blessed to still have your mom with you hon and she sure is blessed at her age. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your wonderful history. 🙂

  5. You are blessed that your mom is at your side , sharing beautiful and loving moments everyday. You have a very rich and inspiring family tree. Sorry to hear that some of your relatives died young and a lot from Cancer. We need to celebrate our families everyday for as long as we can. Life is not forever but we can make every minute counts. Have a blessed day.

  6. Love, love, love this post. Gosh so many of them died young. Yayyy to your mum. And I thought out-of-focus was a terrible topic – you turned it into something wonderful. Well done.

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