Going Down the Hill, II

July 27, 2011

"Tempo al tempo"

"All in good time"

~ Italian Proverb


As I mentioned in my last post about doing research in Italy, we spent time one day walking the ValleLarga to see if we could find anyone to talk to us about my grandmother's family, the Crugnales. One young man whom we stopped told us that there were too many Crugnales in ValleLarga, but that perhaps someone else could help us more. Another man, probably in his 80s or 90s, told us he knew no Crugnales which, given the fact that so many live in VL, seems impossible. Of course, we were strangers, and my Italian wasn't that great, so I assume he just didn't want to talk to us.


On our way back to the car, we noticed a gentleman getting his mail, and I stopped him and explained that we were trying to find out anything we could about the Crugnales. "I don't know much about them," he told me, but let's go up here and talk to Ivana. She might know." He went through a gate and spoke to a woman in rapid Italian while Michael and I waited in the street. Soon, Ivana joined us. Again I explained that I was trying to find out what I could about my grandmother's family. I took out the photos and documents that I had so she could see them. Ivana stared at the photo of Grandma and Grandpa (in her hands above) and said something to the man who'd brought us to her.


"He looks like a Trombetta from his eyes up," said Ivana pointing to my Grandfather. "You do, too. You look Trombetta."


I had not mentioned to her that my great-grandmother — my grandfather's mother — was Antonia Trombetta. "Take this photo to the Pettorano cemetery and compare it to Trombettas. You'll see what I mean," she continued.


As thrilled as I was to have someone who had never met my grandfather see the family resemblance to people still living in Pettorano, I wanted information about the Crugnales and Ventrescas, my grandmother's relatives. Ivana wasn't much help there.


"There are still Crugnales in ValleLarga," Ivana told me. "but many have moved to different areas."


"Why?" I thought I knew the answer, but I needed Ivana to tell me.


"There are not many jobs here," she said. "A lot of people from Pettorano and ValleLarga had to leave to find a way to support their families."


"Where do Crugnales live in ValleLarga?" I asked Ivana.


"You can go to the clerk's office and get information on your grandmother," Ivana told me, ignoring my question. "It's been too long since your grandmother left here to know which Crugnale is her family. You can also compare photos of Crugnales in the cemetery to your grandmother."


We walked back down the street with the man who introduced us to Ivana. "She was right that so much time has gone since your grandparents left," he said. "Hopefully you can find more information in Pettorano or the cemetery."


I was discouraged at finding out very little that afternoon in VL. I wasn't sure why the few people we saw in ValleLarga knew so little or, more likely, were so reticent to share with us. Little did I know that the next two hours we'd spend in Pettorano would surprise me with the information I'd uncover.

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