I recall visiting my Uncle AJ (Armand Fuimarello) at his Newburg, New York condo, sometime in 1981 or ‘82. He told me that his brother (my Uncle Tony or Tom, I’m not sure) had recently returned from a trip to Italy where he had hoped to find the village where his mother was born. But to his dismay he learned that all of the villages in that area had been leveled by a recent earthquake. He was very upset that there was no longer a place to return to, even though he had never actually been there.
When my uncle told me about the earthquake, I don’t think he realized that it had happened only a week before his sister, my mother, passed away. When researching for this book, looked for information about an earthquake that might have struck near Castel San Gorgio about the time of my mother’s passing, Nov. 30, 1980. I found a report about the 1980 Irpinia earthquake that struck on November 23, 1980. It is a sixty-mile drive around Mt Pecetini to go from Castel San Giorgio to the epicenter, but less if you could go straight over the mountain.
I don’t know if having a mountain between you and the epicenter of a 6.9 quake makes a difference in the level of destruction, but I’m certain this is the earthquake my uncle was telling me about that destroyed his parent’s village. When I saw the date, I wondered if perhaps my grandmother, Carmela, had come to greet her daughter on the other side of this existence, and told her that the birthplace of her ancestors had been destroyed.