On a Belated Tribute

Mother’s Day was this past weekend. Although time didn’t work in my favor to get a post together, mothers aren’t forgotten.

This is my mother. She learned her English by exposure, thus everyone noticed her Italian accent. Her strength was her kindness and her hands … that is, she could cook and sew with the best of them.

My Mother with her Tuscan hometown in the background

My Mother with her Tuscan hometown in the background

My mother died much too young … a month shy of her 59th birthday back in 1987. However, I was lucky to have someone else.

This is my mother-in-law (MIL).  Like my mother, she grew up during the depression, thus those times influenced her. Like my mother, my MIL was genuinely kind and cared about people … and always supportive of my wife and I. She and my mother were very close to the same age, but she lived much longer.

My mother-in-law - a kind, generous, and genuine person

My mother-in-law: a kind, generous, and genuine person

My MIL passed away this past December, so this past Sunday was new to me as it was the first Mother’s Day I exclusively relied on memories.

On Enchanted to Remember

Wedding

That was August 23, 1952. Their wedding eventually led to their daughter introducing me to them before a college football game in the fall of 1974. We married in April 1977. August 2012 was their 60th anniversary celebration, and the delightful footnote that the entire wedding party was still alive.

My mother-in-law loved both of these songs. A toast to a good person with the gentile heart that everyone enjoyed and respected. We will miss her, but the love and memories she gave us will last forever.


On an Unexpected Time

In life, there are times when the plate is too full. Overwhelming feelings are just that, but still real to us. Other times simply have too many things happening at once, but they too are very real.

In my case it is the later – most notably, both my mother-in-law and father-in-law are in the hospital. There are other important tasks also to juggle at this time, so it’s best I step away from blogging for a bit …  thus no new posts and maybe limited visiting. I’ll let time dictate that. Personally, I hope it is just for the rest of the week. My next post will be Monday Morning Entertainment, in which I will also provide an update.

My in-laws love these songs, so to spread hope for their recoveries, listen to as many as you want. Which did you choose?

Flashbacks: About Me

By having this blog for over five years, I’ve disclosed more than a few things about myself. Enjoy these flashbacks, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.

On A to Z

a-z-2013Someone declared April as A-to-Z Challenge Month. Sure, the challenge’s intent is to have a separate post for each letter, but hey – I have a streak of independence.

With 1,167 posts before this one, why not use my archives to meet the challenge? After all, even frequent readers aren’t aware of some of the posts.

Therefore, I present A Frank Angle’s A-to-Z. Visit as many as you like, because as in my tradition, there is something for all …. so hopefully you’ll visit at least one.

AFAa2zBadgeA is for Acquaintance – People that were not in my graduation class: set 1 and set 2

B is for Ballroom – … and ballroom dance delivers benefits

C is for Cruising – We like cruising, so start your trip with a click

D is for Dinner Group – … We hosted a night of Chopped

E is for Education Reform – Although the need is obvious, here are the obstacles

F is for Frank – Yep, that’s my name, but these are the All-Time Franks in baseball

G is for God and Government – I must say that this post about the separation of church and state is pretty darn good

H is for Handbells – It takes many bells to make one instrument

I is for Italian – I’m 100% Italian heritage, and Ellis Island is an important place

J is for Joys – To whatever give you joy, but for some of us, it’s reliving the cartoons of our youth, and here is where the series started, which led to the first honoree

K is for Knowledge – What do you know about supersonic kangaroos?

L is for LearnerLearning should never stop

M is for Moderate – This early post defines an independent moderate, thus shows why neither party wants me … well, except for my vote

N is for News – Staying informed is important, but there is something more biased than the media

O is for Ohio River – A story from my hometown on a river during my youth.

P is for Politics – I wrote this shortly after the 2008 election, but before the Tea Party’s emergence (which is what makes this post interesting)

Q is for Quantum – Actually, this past post was On a Quantum Thought

R is for Recipes – I’m sort of a Foodie, so try Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti or my own spaghetti sauce that offers a little crunch

S is for Science – Like sports, science has players, plays, rules, and boundaries

T is for Trieste – A beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea that is the place of my birth

U is for Universe – The universe is vast and inspiring, and this post includes one of my absolute favorite videos

V is for Victory – The raised arm created an unexpected moment in college

W is for Wonders – There are many wonders in our world, and let’s not forget Fibonacci, Pi, and Tau

X is for X-Factor – and one X-factor in life is forgiveness

Y is for Why because I can – This is the first main post about the religion-science interchange; now there are 44, plus here is the very first post

Z is for Zinfandel – I enjoy a wide spectrum of wines, especially reds, but zins were the first to capture my fancy – and cheers to the wine group at church

AAA+++ Bonus for the bloggers on my sidebar and on the More Bloggers page, for as without them and you, I wouldn’t be here, so try to visiting someone soon that you don’t know, and tell them I sent you.

Addendum: To learn more about the A Frank Angle A-to-Z Challenge, click here.

On April 2 1977

Happy 36th Anniversary to us!

Here’s some of the newsworthy events I could find about that day … besides me showing up at the church about 20 minutes before the service … enjoy the music!

15 tornadoes is the US, 1 fatality, injuring 70, longest 16 miles – but a F1 tornado about 20 miles away during our reception

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album goes to #1 & stays #1 for 31 weeks”

Montreal Canadiens set NHL record of 34 straight home games without a lose

Number one hit on UK music charts – Abba – Knowing Me Knowing You

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Kiss concert in Tokyo

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Born: Jelena Abbou (Serbian model), Per Elofsson (Swedish cross-country skier), Aiden Turner (British Actor), Annett Louisan (German singer), Jon Gosselin (Reality show actor)

Charlotte Brew becomes the first woman to ride in Britain’s Grand National steeplechase when she rides her own horse, Barony Fort

Red Rum wins a historic third Grand National championship at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England

The Eagle has Landed, a movie about WW II starring Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, and Robert Duval released

Stevie Wonder releases Sir Duke, a tribute to Duke Ellington

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Diana Shore is on the cover of TV Guide

US President Jimmy Carter is on the cover of Saturday Review with a feature article about human rights

Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies is on the cover of The Sporting News

Top 10 Songs on the Charts
10) Right Time of the Night (Jennifer Warnes) … Yep

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9) Dancing Queen (Abba) … We and Guapo love Abba

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8) I’ve Got Love on My Mind (Natalie Cole) … Always

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7) Hotel California (Eagles) … it took us almost 20 years to visit California

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6) Rich Girl (Hall and Oates) … nope, but we’re comfortable

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5) Southern Nights (Glen Campbell) … we honeymooned at Hilton Head

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4) So In to You (Atlanta Rhythm Section) …. absolutely

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3) The Things We Do for Love (10cc) …. I’m not telling

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2) Don’t Leave Me This Way (Thelma Houston) … of course not

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1) Don’t Give Up on Us (David Soul) … 36 years and counting

On a Heritage Walk

My desire to visit the small village of my paternal grandparent was different from visiting my maternal aunt and cousins. Besides, they didn’t fully understand my desire to go, plus they were unfamiliar with the winding road up the mountain – after all, there could be snow at 552 m (1716 ft).

My oldest cousin stepped forward, so the two of us headed into the valley toward the point of ascent. She is more than a bit high-strung, but with just the two of us, we had a wonderful day – and her personality did come in handy. We had lunch of wonderful tortelli at Ristorante da Vinicio in the beautiful setting of Bagni di Lucca. (This town is awesome!)

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During lunch, my hyper-cousin couldn’t resist mentioning my last name and that of my grandmother to the very nice man at the restaurant. (Debra, you may know him.) Interestingly, he quickly responded by saying those names are in San Cassiano, the place we were going.

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San Cassiano from a distance in 1964, but this time we drove there from the other direction

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After lunch, up the mountain we went. As we reached the main road’s peak, I exited the car and asked my cousin to drive ahead to meet me at the church – thus I would walk my own journey back in time.

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I started my downhill walk from here

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I recognized the first house as it served as the background for when my dad accidentally met a former classmate and long-time friend from Missouri. Interestingly, they didn’t know the other was vacationing in Italy. In this day, the owner was outside, so I started a conversation with him – which was very enjoyable, but I received only a few useful snippets of family information.

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Dad and his long-time friend from Missouri (1964)

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As I walked toward the church, my eyes wandered as my brain kept retrieving memories from long ago. Meanwhile, (and unknowing to me) my cousin’s personality was working the people at the bar, so she set the stage for when I arrived.

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San Cassiano is the highest village on this side of the mountain

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The woman behind the bar introduced me to Alvaro, a retired man probably in his late 60’s-early 70s. He was a true pleasure, and he eventually directed us to a house of one of my grandfather’s brothers, which two of my dad’s first cousins (who live in Scandinavia) still own and visit in the summer.

From the bar, it was down the street to the main church and an important town monument across from the church.

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The church ahead is dated 772 C.E.

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Unfortunately, the church was locked, but I discovered the sign that dates the church back to 772 – that’s a long time ago!

I had to see the monument across the street from – the monument for the fallen WW I soldiers from this town. I knew the majority of the last names, including

  • My family name
  • My dad’s uncle after whom he is named
  • My grandmother’s maiden name and the maiden name of her mother
  • Family names of those who lived in my home area of rural southern Ohio
  • The family name of my dad’s friend from Missouri
  • The family name of a man I didn’t know, but will soon meet
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There are more names not captured in this photo

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From the church, down the path I went searching for the house of my grandfather’s brother. Again, my cousin came through by asking a person who also just arrived in the parking lot. He led us to a British couple, who led us to the house, which was only two houses away.

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Path beside the church leading to the lower neighborhood

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While talking to the nice British gentleman, a slow-walking elderly man came along – the one whose family name is on the monument. Interestingly, he happens to hold the keys to the house for my Scandinavian cousins. He not only mentioned by grandfather’s name (who died in 1976), but also recalls meeting my dad. What are the odds!

I don’t know how to describe the moral of this story. Perhaps this small town is a magical place – after all, how else would two friends separated by two states on a different continent meet on a street across an ocean and up a hill to a small village meet in 1964? How else would I have so much luck on this short journey? What kind of luck would I have had if I had a family tree with me?

Thanks to the magic of San Cassiano di Controne, this day was extra special for me.

Enjoy the view cross the valley from the town of my paternal heritage. Ciao!

Note: For more pictures, visit this past post by Debra.

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