Liza's Story (Chapter 1)
written by Liza DeCredico and copyrighted by Liza DeCredico
Who am I? Where are my roots? Where do I belong? Chapter 1
It all started back in 1976, I was 12 years old. My parents
divorced when I was 2 years old. We were at the Nursing Home
in Lorain, Ohio, visiting my Grand Mother Nunziata Puglielli
DiCredico. My only membories were of her in that nursing home. I was told a few years back that her stroke was brought on by my parents divorce back in 1966. We were saying our Good-Byes to Grandma Nunziata, for my mother was
re-marrying and we were moving away.
The whole time we were with Grandma Nancy she was grabbing
my hand so hard and crying. It was one of the saddest days
of my life. My family snapped a photo of us with her, and
that photo is on my wall. It's full of sadness but a
rememberance of the last time i would ever see her. We left.
We moved to Arkansas eventually settling in Missouri.
I always thought of Grandma Nunziata a lot. No one ever told
me when she passed away. And no one ever told me when my
Grand Father Ciriaco passed away either (her husband). I
felt very deprived my whole life for never going to the
funerals of my most cherrished people, but, they were alive
in my heart more than we all new.
Many years passed. My other Grand Mother Helen, she brought
me a suitcase that had been in her basement for years. I
asked her what was in the suitcase and she just said,"Oh
some old things of your mothers that I wanted you to have."
I took the suitcase and put it in my closet. I had forgot it was there. We were spring cleaning one day and here was this suitcase. Well, I did! I got curious and I opened it.
It was pure confusion.....
Here was my Italian Grand Parents Ciriaco and Nunziata with
other people who looked like my Grand Father Ciriaco.Ciriaco
was standing there with another man who looked like him. I
could not believe my eyes.
With a little help from my only living Uncle Lou, these were
pictures from a family reunion in 1956 and we had family in
Pennsylvania. Well, I started writing letters by the 100's.
I finally found my relatives, very much alive and living.
It was Ciriaco's brother Francesco's line of our family.
A few days later I received my Grand Father Ciriaco's birth
certificate in the mail, from Uncle Lou. It listed his birth
village named Torrevecchia Teatina Chieti,Italy. Now, I had
a birthplace. I wrote to the registry office in this small
village and requested for my family's birth certificates. A
few weeks went by and in checking the mail, there was this
thick yellow envelope. I couldn't handle the pressure, I tore into it.
Here was my family information. Not 1 or 2 children, but,
Ciriaco had *7* brothers and sisters in his family. Now, I
am truely jumping in the air with so much excitement!!!!!!!
I wrote to the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. I now
requested the telephone pages for this small village and
many cities around this small village. Soon I received the
telephone pages back.
Now, I write one letter of all my family information and I
send it to EVERY family with the Surnames of Di Credico,
Pietrocola,Petrongolo and Rabottini. Yes, I write to over
200 families. Yes, In Italian and one word translations at
a time. I mailed all of these letters. One by one I did
receive letters back wethere they were related or not. I
figure I did accomplish 3 things:
1.) If ound my real Italian Cousins
2.) I found many Pen Pals
3.) I found people who wanted to be related with hope of
searching more generations back, we would cross our lines
and be cousins.
After a while, letters were just not enough. My curiousity's
were starting to overwhelm me. I picked up the telephone and
dialed each newly found cousins numbers one at a time. I'm
thinking I am going to learn a lot from this phone call,
right? Well, each one would pick up the telephone and I am
trying to talk to them but they can only say "Pronto, Ciao
or No Capito!"
I was jumping the gun. I felt so quilty inside for not knowing the Italian Language. I had it all, but I couldn't
make them understand that I cared and loved them. They would
call me and go through the same feelings. I cried a lot while on the telephone with each one, but, I tried not to
let them catch on to my true feelings. I just wanted to hear
their voices, while on the telephone.
I purchased a dictionary of Italian words. I wanted to learn
the Italian Language, but, no schools where I live teach it.
My curiousity's start to kick in again. I wonder what my
cousins looked like, each one of them.
I picked up the telephone and I purchase 2 airline tickets.
My cousins wanted me to wait until summer, but, by my story,
you should know me by now. I purchase 2 tickets for March,
Yes, March. I took my brother with me as a present. This
was a trip we could share the memories together to make up
for what we lost out on as small children. We were full of
Liza DeCredico@ firstname.lastname@example.org
Who am I? Where are my Roots?Where do I belong Part 2
We get on the airplane, leaving for places unknown to us.
It had been 85 years since, last family contact with my
Grand Father Ciriaco since he immigrated away from Italy
in search of the United States. He was only 17 years old.
The airplane was running behind in landing time, so, I
knew my whole family of cousins were already at the airport.
We got off of the airplane. We were so nervous! I kept
thinking to myself, "Will they like me? What will they think
We walked down this hallway at the Rome airport. It felt
like it was never going to end. Finally, at the end of this
hall our family was waiting. I knew who they were, they were
screaming, "Liza, Liza, Liza!" We got squeezed about 50 times, and so hard. But, I had to look down at all of my
cousins. They are all so short, this is what puzzles me, is
why everyone in my Family is so short?
I thought I knew enough Italian to get by, but, when your
with people speaking Italian fluently, I knew glancing at
my brother, that we were in a lot of trouble. If my brother
could only of read my mind.
We spent our first day in Rome. We parked the bus and we
took off on foot. Me and my brother grabbed our camera's a
and video recorders snapping the cousins and the city when
we could. Italy is such a proud city and beauty surrounded
Italy everywhere we went.
While walking around Rome, we noticed the cars were so
small. The people were friendly. Our first time to eat out
with our family was at an Italian Outdoor Restaurant. I
thoug it was wonderful to eat outside. The glasses, wine,
place settings and food wat to the most elegant I have
I found people that were very proud of their heritage and
expected the best out of life. And in Italy Family seems to
be Everything in their lives! We make it back to the cousins
house, so tired and thinking we were going to rest now.
Well, we had to think twice. They opened the doors and here comes a house full of people ready to visit. My eyes got so
big. Every cousins was talking to me in fluent Italian.
When they were done, they just kep saying "Capita and
Comprehendo?" I didn't know what to say.
After all the company left, it was time to rest. Me and my
brother go upstairs. We were so excited we could not sleep.
We talked and talked. We wern't worried, we were going to
get to sleep in.... However, our cousins had other plans.
Our alarm clocks went off (they set them for us!)
Here comes Tommaso all slicked up and ready to go for the
day! We went from house to house visiting. Drinking Veno,
Coffee, Veno, Coffee, Veno, Coffee.........On my trip to
Italy I met the most loving, caring, proud people I had
ever met in my whole life! These people are so special to
me. It's hard to explain my love for them! With each new
cousins I met, the tears of love would roll down my face
as well as theirs. It was hard to take! It all took a toll on me.
We were visiting relatives of a cousin I found in America
and my heart started beating so fast! I could not control
it, so they took me to the hospital. It kept getting faster
and faster. When we got to the hospital, I was worried about how I was going to pay the bill for the Hospital. I
had no idea that the country of Italy pays for the medical
care for their people.
Yes, it was all very scarey. The doctor looked at me and
said, "What is your name?" I understood him. I said" Liza
DeCredico!" He looked at me and said,"Oh Torrevecchia!" He
knew all about me. I was wondering what school he graduated from. After some tests were run, they got my heart under
control. Doctor says,"She is to have sleep, no mountains,
no coffee, no veno and minimal visiting!" It was all caused
and brought on by to much stress.
The doctor let me leave the hospital for he flet that being
seperated from my newly found family would be worse on me
stress wize. Our plans included a visit to the mountains of
snow covered tips,but, we settled for visiting with more
family members, this is truely why I was in Italy anyway!
Well, being in Italy for a good part of the week, I was
starting to comprehend what my cousins were saying to me.
As long as they slowed their words down. I was even starting
to pick up a little accent as I learned to pronounce their
words, in Italy. It was the first time for my husband to
call. He would see how my trip is going.
He calls and he is trying to talk to me. I start to answer
him in sketchy but italian words. He says to me "Lisa is
that you?" I said, "Si, Si, Si!" He doesn't know any of the
language. I told him that I loved my family in Missouri and
that I would be home soon and that everything was fine! So,
we hung up. I knew he was confused, thinking, my wife is
not the same person as when she left!
Now, we were off to visit Adalgisa. We made ourselves at
home. We were all visiting and out of the blue, my cousin
Adalgisa gives us 3 bitg envelopes. One for Liza, one for
David, and one for Tommaso and Maria (our cousins whom are
taking care of us all week). We all looked at eachother.
Adalgisa, she speaks fluent Italian, but, the motions from
her hands, were enough to tell me that we should open the
Yes, we opened the envelopes. Here is what I had dreamed
about! It was a photo of our Great Grand Mother Maria
Pietrocola. She was sitting on a stool, holding a grandson
(whom is still alive and in his 70's). She has on a long
dress, some jewerly on and her hair is pulled up in a bun.
She was perfect, just as I imagined her. Just Beautiful!
This is the only photo in existance, so far! I looked at
my cousin and tears flowed into my eyes and down my cheeks.
I hugged her so hard. I was learning that a hug is how they
show their feelings of love in Italy. I had never experienced hugs like that in America. Gee, I was turning
into a real Italian. It was wonderful!