While on a recent trip home to celebrate the holidays (a belated celebration since my husband wasn’t home on December 25th), my mom found another stack of letters written in Italian to Nellie Gasparri, my first cousin, once removed. The way mom explained it, when Nellie died in 2007, the folks cleaning out her house found these letters, didn’t know what to do with them, and handed them off to my mom for safekeeping. This is just one of the letters that I managed to translate. My knowledge of Italian (where I was fluent about 10 years ago) has degenerated to about the level of a 5 year old, but I can manage a decent translation with the help of Google Translate and a dictionary. The hardest part is reading the handwriting, misspellings and all, and working through the local phrases, grammar, etc that can vary WIDELY from town to town. Fortunately, this is pretty close to the area where I studied abroad, so that makes it easier.
I added punctuation and paragraph spacing to make the letter easier to read in the translated version. Interesting to note, Silvio Gasparri, the man to whom the letter is written, died 18 July 1944, two years before the letter was written. Nellie, his daughter, had corresponded with one of Silvio’s sisters in Italy a number of times, but the earliest letter we have in that set is from 16 February 1947. I suppose it’s possible that two years went by without any notification to family in Italy about Silvio’s death. The overall tone of the letter is pretty sad – a mother wishing for news from her son, hoping that everything is okay, but wondering if something bad happened.
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