OMG!! The Restoration of Our Great-grandfather Lorenzo Milanos’ Gravestone

In my last post, I had an ongoing discussion regarding our Great-Grandfathers’ gravestone with cousin Salvatore and my friend Enzo.  This post is the continuation and result of our conversation.


February 4, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
Hi Salvatore, thank you so much for doing this. It is great news!! This past November, I exchanged $’s for Euro, so I have Euros. Please let me know where you want me to send them. If you are able to speak to the head of the cemetery, please ask if he received my 2 letters. I understand that they are not responsible but if I did not have you to contact them, I would not know what the procedure was (communication with the municipality, Fontana, etc).
Ah, your Mother’s birthday.Both she & my sister Laurette were born on March 10th.
Have a wonderful Sunday!! Kisses!

February 4, 2017, Salvatore to Celia
Hi Celia, I’m going to go to Castellammare for my mother’s birthday. It’s incredible your sister was born the same day.
I told Fontana I will give him the money when I will be in CdG. I’m speaking with my friend on Monday. I would ask him if our great grandfather is at risk to be removed from his grave. Send me a copy of your letter. I hope to fix everything. Have a nice week end.

February 4, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
Hi Salvatore, do you want me to send the money to you at the Via F…. address or to you at your home? Here are the 2 letters to the cemetery (they are the same). Only one is specifically addressed to Maurizio Cassara.
Also, by the way, our great-grandfather is NOT listed in the cemetery records. I find this very strange. Tell your friend he will have a big battle on his hands & the mayor’s hands if they move him. I will pay the fee to keep him there. But I know you are a good negotiator & will hopefully fix this. You can claim my ignorance of Italian rules of the community. Have a good weekend.

June 25, 2016 and September 11, 2016
Signor Maurizio Cassara
Cimitero di Castellammare del Golfo
Via Euclide
91014 Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Ciao Signor Cassara,
Ti ho incontrato lo scorso maggio, quando mio cugino Bernardo Como mi ha portato al cimitero di pagare i miei rispetti a molti membri della famiglia. (Milano, Vivona, Galatioto, Cartiera, Giliberti).
Avevo chiesto nella posizione del mio bisnonno Lorenzo Milano che è morto 8December1939. I record non hanno mostrato la sua posizione.
Per fortuna mia cugina Maria Ciaravino Milano (vedova di Lorenzo Milano morto 6 ottobre 2010) mi ha mostrato la tomba del mio bisnonno.
[Quando si lascia l’edificio per uffici, girare a destra e proseguire a piedi fino alla fine del marciapiede (al secondo cancello chiuso). È su quel muro. Sono compresi una foto.]
L’incisione sulla pietra è sbiadito in modo che sia molto difficile da leggere.
Le scrivo per informarsi sul processo e il costo per la pulizia e il ripristino lapide del mio bisnonno.
Il vostro aiuto in questa materia sarà molto apprezzato.

Molti saluti,

February 17, 2017, Salvatore to Celia
Hi Celia, how are you? I hope you are fine. Today I spoke with my friend in CdG and I was guaranteed about our grandfather’s place. I will speak next Monday with Fontana to proceed with the work on the tombstone. Next month, when I will go in CdG, I will choose the vase.
Sorry if I have not written to you but I’m very busy with my job. Now some moments of relaxation, as I am going to listen to some live music. Have a nice w. e.

February 17, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
Hi Salvatore! We are doing well. How are you & your sons? I am so happy to hear that our binonno will stay in his grave. I will send the Euro out this week so you will have it in time to meet with Fontana. I will send it to you in care of your Mom. Enjoy the music and have a wonderful weekend.

February 17, 2017, Salvatore to Celia
I think it’s better to send money to my office. Here is the address…

February 28, 2017, Salvatore to Celia
Hi Celia, I received your money a few minutes ago. I didn’t understand the reason about 20 Euros plus. I’m going in CdG next Saturday (10 March). I hope to send you photos of tombstone. Kisses

February 28, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
Hi Salvatore! I am happy you received the mail.
OK. About the 20 Euro. If I hire a company to do work, an employee will come to do the job. I pay by bank check to the company. If the employee (worker) does a good job, I will give that person a gratuity (tip) in cash in their hand (that the boss does not need to know about. HaHa, since you are a boss, you may not like to hear this!!!) The same as when you go for espresso & a cornetto. If it is considered inappropriate, then use it to buy some dolce for your Mom.
I look forward to seeing the photos. Many many thanks!

March 12, 2017, Salvatore to Celia
Tomorrow I’m going to choose the flowers case.

March 12, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
Dio mio!!! Fontana did a wonderful job!!!! Thank you!!! Grazie!

March 13, 2017, Salvatore to Celia
Which do you prefer?

This one? or this one?     

 

March 13, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
The 2nd one. It will look beautiful on the cleaned tombstone. Thank you so much for doing this.

March 14, 2017, Salvatore to Celia

Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milanos’ restored gravestone

March 14, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
OMG!! Dio mio!! Beautiful!!! I am crying, I am so happy!! Grazie Salvatore
Salvatore…when I was at the cemetery, Maurizio Cassara could not find the record for our great-grandfather. I do not know why. Possibly from the war, as records could have been destroyed. Do you know, if it is possible to obtain the location or plot # of his grave??

March 14, 2017, Salvatore to Celia
I understand. Today I was with the boss of the cemetery, a friend of mine, and Maurizio. He knows all about our great grandfather. You can take it easy our great grandfather can rest quietly.

March 14, 2017, Celia to Salvatore
Ok. Wonderful!! I am happy that great-grandfather Lorenzo can rest where he is. Thank you!! If it wasn’t for you, this would not have been possible.

“Who is this cousin Bernardo? Why didn’t you mention him before in your blog?”

Everyone is asking me “Who is this cousin Bernardo? Why didn’t you mention him before in your blog?”  So in answer to your many questions……. 

2016-May. At the Belvedere in Castellammare del Golfo. Photo by C.M.

After my sister, Laurie and I left Italy, cousin Vera, from Rome, Time To Meet Cousins  and I continued communicating via email.

One email had a request. Vera wrote that another cousin, Bernardo, her mother Maria’s nephew, who lives in Germany, heard about our surprise visit in Rome and was asking for my contact information.  Vera wanted to ask if she could give him my telephone number, as he does not have a computer.  I said “Of course. But you know that I do not speak any Italian nor German!”  Vera told me that he spoke the Sicilian dialect, English and German, so do not worry.  Shortly after, Bernardo called me and we began our continuing conversation about the family.

Also, at this time, I was also beginning a photo scanning project. After Mom passed away, I found a box of old photos that she had stashed away at the back of her closet. I don’t believe she even knew they were there, as she had inherited them from Grandma Milano, her mother-in-law.

Sadly, I never knew about these photos and wished I had. Maybe Mom would have known who some of these folks were.

I told Bernardo about the photos and that most had no writing on the back.  Of course, Grandma Milano knew who all these folks were, so there was no need to identify everyone!  

 

 

Bernardo told me to send him copies and he will try to obtain the information. A couple of months later, I received my self-addressed envelope back with the information for the majority of the photos, mostly of the Milano’s.  I believe the other photos, were of various members of Grandma Rosaria’s family (Vivona). Thanks to Bernardo, more pieces of our family history were uncovered.

 

 

P.S. These photos have yet to be identified. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma Sarah Vivona Milano sitting on far left. Everyone else ????

A Great Day – Café Garibaldi and San Vito Lo Capo

At this point in time, I did not realize that word had spread throughout the town of my family history search.  Nor that people noticed that I had my coffee at the Café Garibaldi on the Corso Garibaldi every morning but Wednesday, when it was closed.

Corso Garibaldi
Corso Garibaldi
Corso Garibaldi
Corso Garibaldi

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I was surprised when I arrived at the Café Garibaldi, and was greeted by two older gentlemen. I was asked by one, if I spoke Italian. I said unfortunately no. He introduced himself as Leonardo Galatioto and his brother Felice. They have a sister in Floral Park NY. One gentleman is a retired police officer, who spoke some English. I told them that my “parenti” came from Castellammare del Golfo.

[Note:  My grandfather, Rosario Milano’s mother was Anna Galatioto (daughter of Rosario Galatioto and Catherine Sceusa). I wondered if they were of this lineage. Add to that, I recently received a copy of my parents’ NYC marriage record, which shows a Rosario Galatioto as Dad’s best man.]

Leonardo and Felice asked to see my family tree chart and the book. While perusing, they told me that I may want to check documents, especially the city directories, at the library. But said the archivist is on vacation until Monday.

They were amazed at the amount of information I had. Plus, when they saw the photos, they were surprised to see my cousin Lorenzo, who had recently passed away, as they were friends. They hugged and kissed me.  My friend Enzo also joined us for caffé normale.

Cousin Bernardo also joined us. He said we will take a drive to the sea town of San Vito Lo Capo. I wanted to go back to this town as my sister and I enjoyed it many years ago.  It is beautiful there and very relaxing. 

Plus, I wanted to take photos of the inside of the church, Santuario San Vito Lo Capo.

Inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo
Inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo
Grotto inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo
Grotto inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Castellammare del Golfo that evening for a delicious pizza at Mama Cocha and gelato from Vernaci next door at Villa Comunale Regina Margherita.

Another wonderful day!!!!

Locating the grave of our Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milano

The only photo that I have seen of Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milano
The only photo that I have seen of Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milano

I was excited about today. It was the day that my cousin Maria (Bernardo’s Zia) was going to show us where our great-grandfather was buried. Bernardo and I were at the cemetery 4 times & could not locate the grave. We looked above ground at the mausoleums & below ground in the catacombs. But I remembered the grave being above ground. We even went to the office to inquire of the records but there was no information, nada. How was that possible??

I could kick myself, as 17 years ago when cousin Lorenzo brought Laurie & I to the cemetery, we saw the grave. I even took notes of each grave that we visited. I wasn’t bold enough to take photos at that time. I have since learned to do so.

Cimitero Comunale (Via Euclide - 91014Castellammare Del Golfo(TP))
Cimitero Comunale (Via Euclide – 91014Castellammare Del Golfo(TP))

Bernardo picked me up and we drove to cousin Maria’s home. We had café’ normale and then piled into the car & drove to the “Cimitero Comunale” on the other side of town.  Maria reminded us that each week she changed the flowers at her father-in-laws grave.

Once we arrived, Maria moved quickly through the cemetery. She started rolling one of those huge “library” ladders & started to climb up. All we could do was hold her & the ladder. Bernardo fetched the water & I handed Maria the flowers.

Mausoleum wall where our Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milano rests
Mausoleum wall where our Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milano rests

But, there it was. No wonder I couldn’t see it. For those of you who know me, I am vertically challenged, aka short.

Plus the inscription on the stone is faded. 

Gravemarker for Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milano in Cimitero Comunale (Via Euclide - 91014Castellammare Del Golfo(TP))
Gravemarker for Great-Grandfather Lorenzo Milano in Cimitero Comunale (Via Euclide – 91014Castellammare Del Golfo(TP))

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t thank Maria enough. After paying our respects, I went with Maria to her husband, my cousin, Lorenzo’s mausoleum. We swept out the dust, watered the plants, changed the water in all the vases & added fresh cut flowers. We visited all the other family graves.

The office was closed when we were leaving but when I returned home, I wrote to Signor Maurizio Cassara inquiring into the process and cost to clean and restore my great grandfather’s grave marker.  I have yet to hear from him.

Time to Meet Cousins in Rome

Yesterday Laurie & I took the tours of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel. We also went to the Trevi Fountain and the Roman Forum.  All the places Laurie said she wanted see. We also went to every espresso bar and many cafes to sample all the delicious food.

Trevi Fountain in Rome
Trevi Fountain in Rome

So, today we’re getting ready to take a cab to the train station to meet Alfonso. We’re excited and nervous at the same time. The young hotel concierge just told us that there is yet another train strike but “no problem getting a cab”.

We arrived at the designated station and shortly thereafter we were approached by a gentleman identifying himself as Alfonso, son-in-law of cousin Maria & accidental interpreter for the day. Alfonso is a Professor who teaches English!!!  Introductions were made – cousin Maria (sister to Lorenzo in Sicily & another 1st cousin to Dad), Giuseppe (husband of Maria), cousin Vera (daughter of Maria & Giuseppe & wife of Alfonso). We spent the day in a whirlwind!! We spent time in the town of Castel Gandolfo for sightseeing, lunch and had a wonderful time.

We also spent time at the home of Giuseppe & Maria. Maria was very excited to show us her photo album.  As we were perusing it, we saw a very familiar Polaroid photo – Laurie’s graduation from grammar school with me standing in front of her at the house in Yonkers!!! I remember seeing the photo at my parents’ house. So now we were curious as to how our photo made its way to Rome. Maria told us that SaSa (Grandma Milano) always sent photos of the family. I remember Grandma always had Daddy take extra photos but we thought maybe it was “just in case they didn’t develop correctly”. But the Polariod photos were the best as you could watch them develop right there!! But now we know better. Grandma was sending them to the family in Italy!!!!!  Who knew??

Laurie's grammar school graduation - with Grandma & Grandpa Milano
Laurie’s grammar school graduation – with Grandma & Grandpa Milano

No problem, but there was another reason: For all of my life Laurie kept telling me was that she had a Godchild in Sicily. Yeah, right!! I could never figure it out, since she never traveled there. So, over the years, when I inquired she told me that Grandma Milano said that if little Mariuccia came to visit us in New York, Laurie would be her hostess/sponsor “la madrina”. So Grandma was sending photos to Maria so she would know about Laurie’s life.

So now 50 years later, Laurie has finally met little Mariuccia!! She couldn’t believe it!!  She was ecstatic!!  Unreal!! I was very happy, as now the mystery of “little Mariuccia” had been solved. A great way to end a very beautiful day.

Maria & Laurie finally meet in Rome!!
Maria & Laurie finally meet in Rome!!

Another day in Rome then off to Sicily!!!