Thursday, November 12, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday

My great-grandfather on my maternal grandfather's side, Carmelo Dibennardo, was from Palagonia, Sicily. He was probably born circa 1870. He was married to Agrippina Strano, my great-grandmother who died young. My grandfather, Vincenzo Dibennardo, was a boy when she died. My great-grandfather remarried and my grandfather was sent to a Salesian boarding school in San Gregorio where his aunt, the Mother Superior Sister Filomena, worked and lived. My mother has a letter written in 1914 from my great-grandfather to my grandfather while he was at school. 

Here is a translation of the letter. Keep in mind that by "mother" he really means step-mother.  One thing I like about this letter is the names given of family members. Unfortunately, it will not be easy to know if they are related to my great-grandfather or my great-grandmother.

Palagonia, 24 October 1914

My Dearest Son,

It was a great pleasure to receive your dear letter, and a few days later a postcard as well . (And now) you want to know if Maria, Giovannina, and your mother and I are doing well ...( yes, we are as you are ).  We couldn't come to visit earlier because we were waiting for your aunt Giovanna who promised you she would come to visit you at boarding school.  You must know that she came to Catania on the 19th, so she only had 4 days in all for her stay, and because of this, she couldn't come to see you.  But that's okay because you're fine, and your aunt Sister Filomena loves you like a real mother.  Your sister Maria will be back after the Indian Summer, we think around the 12th of November.  You also want to know if I will bring you your sister Maria to visit you at school, and I tell you right now that I will not be the only one to do so, but also Aunt Peppina (Josephine), and also Miss Ruffo, who at this moment is in Palagonia for a short vacation.  You also wish to know what I think about our citrus (crop), and what can I say.... I don't know the answer to your question.  Your sister Maria, your mother and I send you a big kiss, and Aunt Peppina and Uncle Gaetano send their kisses. Your mother and I send you our blessings and our good-byes (we will see you soon).


Your most affectionate father,
Carmelo



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