Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In Memory.....

"Don't grieve.  Anything you lose
comes round in another form."
~ Rumi

My Uncle Jim passed away Monday.  He was the youngest of my Mom's siblings, husband to Aunt Jean, father of my cousins Ken and Donna, and my godfather.  The last time I saw Uncle Jim (a few years ago), he looked good. . . older, yes, but still like Uncle Jim. 

"Do you remember how Gram sold bread to the neighbors?" I asked him that night.

"No," he told me honestly.  "I don't remember that at all."  It could have been because he was the youngest, and by the time he was old enough to have memories of the bread and such, Gram no longer had the need to sell bread to get money to feed the kids.

Rather than ramble on about the passing of family and such, let me tell you about to our trip to the cemeteries in Pettorano.  Yes, I did write "cemeteries."  There are two — the old and the "new."

The old cemetery is down the mountain and across the Gizio from Pettorano.  (I took the top photo that shows the cemetery from the main piazza in town.)  It has long been closed and is in a horrible state of disrepair.  One of the town's residents, Peppe (I don't know his last name.), has taken on the task of trying to fix it up.  We could not get into the cemetery itself but took photos from the gated entrance and windows (above and below).

I know that my grandmother's mother was buried there since she passed when Grams was born.  I'm sure there are other relatives there, too, but I can't be sure.  There are no visible markers, and what is visible is pretty much indecipherable.

Apparently, in the early 1900s, the Italian government ordered the town to move the cemetery to a location down the road a bit.  

 "Do you want to go to the new cemetery?" Mike asked me after we'd finished walking through Pettorano one afternoon.

Cemeteries usually freak me out, and I'd rather run a marathon than walk among the spirits.  "Sure. i want to look around again."  For some reason, going to the cemetery in Pettorano had the opposite effect on me.

Most of the graves are in above-ground vaults (above) or in mausoleums (below).  As you can tell from the photo, families can put flowers on the graves by attaching little vases to the stones.

Two years ago, one of my Pettorano friends told me that when a person dies, the family buries them, but the burial is temporary.  After 100 years, the remains (mostly bones) are removed and put in an underground mass grave.  How true that is, I'm not sure, and where the mass grave is, I don't know.

We found what we think is my great-grandfather's grave (below).  The dates would be compatible with  what I think would be right.  One of these days I'll figure it out for sure, but until then, I'm saying this is Gramps's dad.

I guess I need to go back to get this all straightened out.  ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff, Chris. I am glad to say that I was able to pass on to my kids pictures of some of their great-grandparents. Not so easy considering they all were born and died back in the nineteenth century.