My mom died when I was three years old, so I don’t really remember her, no matter how desperately I try to conjure up any sort of memories or recollections.

40 some odd years later, I’m learning so much more about her thanks the the magic of the interweb. LinkedIn hasn’t helped me find my dream job (they never have postings for “be the next Harry Shearer”), but it did help me connect with one of my mom’s first cousins living in Italy. She has helped fill in so many blanks in my knowledge of my mom’s side of the family.

My mom’s parents immigrated to the US from Italy. Her mom (my maternal grandmother) died young. Her sister died as a child (I think she was 12). My mom died at 33, from leukemia. Trying to connect the dots when most of the relatives are deceased isn’t easy. But thanks to my cousin Evelina in Italy, I’ve:

  • learned what town my mom’s family came from. Montebelluna… it’s fun to say, go ahead, try it!
  • learned the names of dozens of relatives
  • learned the real name of my grandfather. I always knew him as “Louie” but his real name was Luigi…  640-luigi
  • seen (via Google Maps) the house where my great-grandfather and grandfather were born

Osellame house

  • seen photos of my mom’s relatives that I’d never seen before

Giovanni and Luigi - grandpa - Osellame Luigi mario osellame

  • Most importantly, seen photos of my mom that I’d never laid eyes on before.

Mom’s the youngest child in this photo

Mom’s on the lower left, with her brother Remo, Aunt Concetta, cousin Aldo, Uncle Guido and cousin Rosetta


Olga in winter

Evelina’s English isn’t that good, and I don’t speak any Italian, but we use Google Translate to communicate via email. So while the Internet may have cursed us with such time-wasters as Lolcats and Perez Hilton, it has also helped me fill in some missing pieces from my life, and for that I am eternally grateful. Grazie, Evelina!