My mother was part of an amazing family. Her maiden name was Porco and her father was born and raised in a very small and, to this day, very untouched town in the southern most province of Italy, Calabria. He and his brothers and sisters lived and worked hard. They did not have the benefit of education and they were, as so many others at that same time, living a life of poverty. One by one, the brothers made their way to America in pursuit of a life better than the one they had known. With courage and determination, the first two of the brothers left Italy and boarded the ship to the United States. One of these brave and eager souls was my grandfather, Luigi, and the other, my magnificent uncle Peter, the oldest of the children. Much in the same way as did thousands of other immigrant families at the time, the "boys" who had already arrived in their new homeland worked, saved every dime, and started the stream of future immigrations that eventually brought all but one brother and a few sisters to America. Mind you, they arrived as poor, naive, uneducated men. They left wives and children behind for years until they also could save and relocate their own. They sheltered each new arrival and helped each other as they forged their way and became members of their adopted society.
Stories similar to that of my own family are in the multitudes. These are the threads that weave who we are, so beautifully with who we were. The stories. The brave people. The accomplishments.
The contributions to society. The good, the bad. Stories of people and what they did with their lives when they left the only lives they had known for what they hoped to become a better life than they otherwise might have had.
My grandfather and his brothers became successful. They had good lives in their new home. They married, had children and grandchildren who also grew to be successful. They made sure that their children were educated. They taught them values and instilled in them the love of family that would sustain them.From their humble origins, came great gifts. Their children and grandchildren became professionals; teachers, lawyers, business owners, doctors and successful people in all walks of life.
I'm proud of all of them, proud to be one of them but my greatest joy comes in knowing that the women of this family are the most amazing of all. Yesterday, I had lunch with three of them. Three beautiful women. Three accomplished, well read, talented and loving women. My heart cannot help but burst with joy when we are given the opportunity to spend time with each other. Tomorrow, I will take some special time to write more about this.......for today, I'm still basking in the glow of a lovely lunch with my cousins, "The Porco Women". Brava!