We had a beautiful lunch, prepared by cook extraordinaire Fern. Classic Italian bean soup and tomato salad, and fresh figs with marzipan sprinkled with cinnamon for dessert. We talked about Italian and Sicilian history, culture and cuisine. We traced our heritage back to the Phoenicians. We shared stories of Bill’s family, including his mom, who insisted on the importance of education, and his brother George, who at one time joined the Army Corps of Engineers Band and ended up in Panama (Bill showed us a historic photo). "George didn't even play an instrument, but he wanted to be in the band so he learned the trumpet, in no time at all!" Funny. We remembered his cousin Michael who survived the Batan death march and three-years as a Japanese prisoner of war. Hard to believe one could survive this experience. Truly an amazing story. We remembered Bill's sister Nan Form King, Fern's mother, and her important nature conservation work in Hanover, New Hampshire. Bill fondly remembers my grandfather Luchetti, a Roman, and my grandmother Julia, his aunt, his mom Mary's youngest sister.
We talked about Bill’s pioneering work in the field of Sociology, and also Joan's in gender studies. Bill remembered how he made his way in the profession, starting with a dissertation at the University of Maryland under the famous but difficult C. Wright Mills, his important research and articles, his different teaching positions and how he became an honored professor at Ohio State University, retiring just a few years ago. Most wonderful, we talked about his autobiographical project, volume 2, the ongoing story of his family that he hopes to complete soon. It's Bill's great contribution to our family history, an enduring legacy.
Bill, at 95 going on 96, is still teaching us. Joan is too. Elissa, Fern and I are the lucky beneficiaries. These fantastic relatives from "the greatest generation" are keeping our history and our hope alive. Viva the Italian heritage of our ancestors who are part of the American dream, the courage of our immigrant grandparents, the moving journey of their sons and daughters!