With Easter not too far away, this is a story of a family separated by oceans and years brought together again.
When I started doing my Italian and French genealogy I got a lot of information from Mom. One really great find was the letter that she kept in her wallet from her cousin Dorando that he wrote in 1944 in which he talked about our families and where they were living. Mom wrote to Dorando and then they began a five year once a month phone call just to keep in touch.
It was because of Dorando that I was able to find my cousins in France because he was in touch with them too. Once I had made contact, Sandy and Frank decided to make the trip to Italy and France and sat down and wrote them all a letter saying they were coming to visit. They were welcomed with open arms and treated like royalty the whole time they were in both Italy and France.
Our cousins in France were descendants of both Pioli and Campigli families as Raffaello Campigli, my grandmother’s cousin and Zelinda Pioli, my grandfather’s sister were married. Another branch of the family in France was strictly Campigli descendants; Andree Amiel and her children. Another Campigli cousin Patrizia Lumini lives in Florence and speaks enough English to make the conversations much easier.
Our cousin Betty Moinet lives in Marseilles and on a special weekend she took them to Cadolive where Edouard and Nicole and their children lived. They had a fantastic visit with beautiful scenery, delicious food, gallons of wine and spectacular desserts. Only Betty spoke English so there was a lot of translating but a hug and a kiss in French is the same as it is in English so there was a lot of hugging and kissing going on.
When Edouard brought out dessert he asked Sandy if Grandma had ever made Easter Bread. Sandy of course replied absolutely. She made it all the time. Edouard ran back in the house and came out with a pan and said this is what his grandmother Zelinda used to make Easter Bread in and did Sandy have the recipe? Sandy replied that Mom knew it and she would make sure that Mom wrote it out and it was mailed to Edouard to compare to the one Zelinda made. Amazing that they were the same? Not really…after all Zelinda was my grandfather Pioli’s sister and it made sense that they would be the same. Nonetheless everyone was excited to find out that in Canada and France and Italy, they were all making the same Easter Bread. Years later when Sandy and Frank went to Brazil they were treated to the same Easter Bread that Grandpa’s brother Alessio’s family made. Same recipe…amazing!
Something as simple as Easter Bread tied our families together in a way no long pages of genealogy ever could. We were FAMILY and we all knew it! That trip began a renewing of our families communicating on a constant basis to which we still do to this day. When Sandy and Frank got to Italy, the first question they asked all the cousins was about Easter Bread..out came the same recipe from dozens of families..yes..it was the same recipe!!
January 16, 2017 Edouard’s beloved wife Nicole passed away from a lengthy fight with cancer. She was always bright and cheerful with a happy smile on her face even to the end. I am sorry that I have never been able to meet my family face to face but I know them anyway.
Just yesterday, Sandy and Frank received a very long letter from Edouard. He is still sad over the death of his beloved Nicole but he told them that this year he was going to get back to living again and working in their beautiful garden. He said that he hoped we all had a wonderful Easter and when we were eating our Easter Bread around the world that we thought of each other and smiled. I know we will be thinking of all of them too.