On October 2014

All things on earth point home in old October: sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken. (Thomas Wolfe)

October, the tenth month, but it was the eighth month in the old Roman calendar – after all, octo- means eight

For we in the northern hemisphere, October is about autumn, but to those south of the equator, they are enjoying the emergence of spring

In leap years, no month starts on the same day of the week as October, but during common years, only January does

October ends the same day of the week as February every year, but only January does in common years

October’s moon is known as the Hunter’s Moon

Flower: Calendula, Birthstone: Opal, and the Zodiac signs: Libra (until October 22) & Scorpio (October 23 and beyond)

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October. (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

Sometime in October, all the four major professional sports leagues in North America are playing

Slavs call it “yellow month” because of the colors of leaves, but the Anglo-Saxons refer to October as “Winterfylleth” because at winter begins with this full moon … yet the Germanic use “Wein-mond” for wine month

Neil Gaiman wrote a story personifying the month in his collection Fragile Things entitled October in the Chair

Some movies with October in the title: October Sky, Hunt for Red October,
The October Man, First Monday in October, The Hunt for Red October, Mr. October, October Sky, and October

Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill–several thrills? (L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)

October is the month to increase awareness for AIDS, Antidepression Death, Blindness, Breast Cancer, Caffeine Addiction Recovery, Domestic Violence, Down Syndrome, Emotional Intelligence, Dyslexia, Eye Injury Prevention, Fair Trade, Global Diversity, Audiology, Chiropractic Health, Critical Illness, Cyber Security, Disabilities Employment, Depression Education, Ergonomics, Liver, Orthodontic Health, Spina Bifida, Substance Abuse, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Work & Family, Rett Syndrome, Workplace Politics, Menopause, and Squirrels

October is the month to celebrate American Cheese, Pharmacists, Apples, Children Magazines, Church Libraries, Class Reunions, Country Music, Eat Better – Eat Together, LGBT History, Free Thought, Books, Bake & Decorate, Arts & Humanity, Medical Libraries, Right Brainers, Spinach Lovers, Cosmetology, Photographers, and Stamp Collecting

October is the month to promote Adopt a Dog, Black Speculative Fiction, Bully Prevention, Bilingual Children, Church Safety & Security, Co-op Awareness, Energy Management for Families, Halloween Safety, Health Literacy, Home Eye Safety, Strategic Planning, Walking to School, Intergenerations, Long-Term Care Planning, Animal Safety & Protection, Crime Prevention, Dental Hygiene, Family Sexuality Education, Kitchen & Baths, Hearing Protection, Gourmet Adventures, Car Care, Tackling Hunger, Window Covering Safety, Organizing Your Medical Info, Self Promotion, Reading Groups, and Toilet Tank Repair

October is the month to appreciate bats, caramel, chili, cookbooks, field trips, popcorn, pork, roller skating, seafood, pizza, sausage, pretzels, desserts, apples, pickled peppers, tomatoes, cookies, and pasta

October is the month to Embrace Positive Attitude, Vegetarians, Family History, Hispanic heritage, German-American heritage, Polish-American heritage, and Italian-American heritage (yea me – Do any of these apply to you?)

October is nature’s funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming – October than May. Every green thin loves to die in bright colors. (Henry Ward Beecher)

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!)

DSC01772

DSC01774

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.

DSC01776

.

10

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

.

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.

DSC01780

I started my downhill walk from here

.

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.

11

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

.

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.

DSC01789

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

.

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.

DSC01792

The church ahead is dated 772 C.E.

.

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
DSC01794

There are more names not captured in this photo

.

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.

DSC01802

Path beside the church leading to the lower neighborhood

.

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.

DSC01809