Monday, April 23, 2012

Family Trees: Mom's Branch

Allen and Nan King and family, in Etna, NH,
including Maribeth, Ron and Fern and spouses,
plus Ron and Gerri King's son Ethan.
 I'm behind Ethan. 
Aunt Loretta and Bill Form, first cousins from
the "greatest generation," re-unioning in Columbus,
 Ohio.August 2011.  Bill can still play his horns.  Also pictured: 
Bill's wife Joan,  Roz, my daughter Elissa and, below, 
Elissa's grandson Philip,
age 4, my great-grandson.   
A beautiful album of a visit to Sylvania by my Aunt Loretta, 
my mom's sister, and her granddaughter Roz, my first cousin 
Maria Tirone Miller's daughter, August 2011.   
Special and unforgettable. 
My mom’s mother, Julia Cornetti Luchetti, had 5 or 6 brothers and sisters, among them Aunt Mary (or Maria), who was married to Tony Form, a well-known local politician in his day in Rochester, New York.  Mary, Marietta, Bill, Arnie, George, Nan, my mom Rose and her sister Loretta, among others I forget, grew up together in Rochester.

My mom had great memories of family gatherings, including musical events with cousins. My mom played the piano; some of her cousins played flute or reeds; others the mandolin and string instruments; another the accordion.  They all sang and danced.  I imagine that my grandfather Luchetti, a super chef, cooked for them.  The cousins were all smart, bi-lingual, and among the first of their families to go to college and become part of the American dream.

They were justifiably proud of their success, which we of the next generation took for granted. My kids and their kids don't even think about it.

My mom’s dad, my dear handsome grandfather Loretto, with sparkling green eyes my mom inherited, was also a musician, as well as a shoemaker, but as far as I know he was the only one of his family who emigrated from Rome to the US. My grandfather Luchetti always referred to himself as a Roman, never an Italian.  There are Luchetti kin still living around Rome, whom I would dearly love to visit one day.
Aunt Loretta, my mom's sister,
and Bill Form, their 1st cousin,
in Columbus.
A special reunion.

My Aunt Loretta and her first cousin Bill Form, both 94-years-old, both in failing health, are the few remaining relatives of that generation.   It is hard to let go of the generation that included my Mom and Dad, that “greatest generation” that experienced and survived World War II.  But the time is coming. 

From this line of descendents came the King Family, headed by Nan Form, Bill's sister and my mother's first cousin.  Nan was a botanist and community environmental activist, and Allen, a physics professor at Dartmouth.  Nan went to the University of Rochester, which was an accomplishment in itself because the university had an "Italian quota" at the time, and my mom did not make it for that reason.  She went to Geneseo teacher's college instead, now part of the NY state university system.  There's stories like this everywhere on the family tree.

Nan and Allen King had some of my favorite “first cousins once removed”:  Maribeth (and husband Jack Klobuchar), Ron (and wife Gerri), and Fern (and husband Dr. Bob Meyers), who grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire. My brother Loren especially loved talking with Allen about his work and his specialty in laser physics.  My sister Andy and Ron, an architect and entrepreneur, shared a love of jazz.  Maribeth, Fern,  and I explored boundaries together, Maribeth the sociologist, like  my sister Andy (this specialty seems to run in the family); Fern the cellist and writer; me a historian.  Our parents are gone, but we hang together to this day, visit when we can, and simply love knowing we’re around until we get to another reunion.  A special visit to Fern King Meyers in Etna, outside of Hanover, remains a highlight of my return from Ukraine.    All the King family gathered at Dr. Bob Meyers' memorial service in August 2011, a bittersweet time but always a joy to be together.
The  roots and branch of this family tree have been pretty well documented, especially through the historical work of cousin Bill Form, a renowned professor of Sociology at Ohio State University, now retired. His wife Joan Huber is also a well-known sociologist. Bill studied with the famous and iconic scholar C. Wright Mills at the University of Maryland, Mills' only graduate student ever, I believe, which I would like to know more about.  Bill wrote the autobiographical book “On the Shoulder of Immigrants,” about his family, the Form family, going back generations to the Waldensians (Italian protestants) in northern Italy in the 17th century.  His work remains a special gift and legacy we will forever cherish.  
The family tree keeps growing:  Philip, my four-year-old great-grandson, the newest generation of the Curro-Luchetti Family Tree.  Philip begins the 6th generation, son of my grandaughter Julia (named after my grandmother Julia Luchetti), daughter of my daughter, Elissa.  Philip was with my Aunt Loretta, Roz, Elissa and me on our historic family visit to Columbus to see my mother's and Loretta's cousin Bill Form and his wife Joan Huber, both retired Sociology professors at OSU. 

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