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September, 2006:

Lorenza Vaccaro Santos, Sept. 20, 1927-July 10, 2006, pt II

Heres one my moms favorite pictures of herself. She gave out reams of this photo to everyone she knew. She sent me a whole sheet of wallet-sized copies of this picture. No kidding. :P

Here's one my mom's favorite pictures of herself. Circa 1987

A Preface: My mom was an unusual and complicated person. For whatever reason, she chose to keep many aspects of her personal life and history a mystery to us. I actually had to ask her surviving siblings back in Italy for more data on her. Because unfortunately, there’s not much that her own children knew about her young life before she met and married my dad. What I do know is from bits and pieces of her experiences that she told me first-hand (whether they’re true or not were tough to determine, my mom tended to spin tall tales), as well as anecdotes from my aunts and uncle, who have over the years, shared certain things about her that I didn’t know (like her real age!).

After getting to Italy to deliver her ashes to her family, I managed to interview my aunts and cousins to get some more solid information about my mom’s early years. I’ve updated her story to include this new, more accurate information. Her story is now more or less complete. I also cleaned up ALOT of typos and errors, so it should be an easier read now.

My mother was born in Vatolla, a small mountain village in the region of Perdifumo, Italy. It’s up the mountains from the coastal city of Salerno. She was the third child out of a brood of 5 sisters, and 1 brother. My grandmother miscarried several pregnancies, and had her children when she was a bit older than the average Italian mother. This was due to the fact that my grandfather, Nicola Vaccaro, went to the US with his brother for about 14 years during and after WWI to earn money to buy land or start a business in America. He returned to Italy in 1920, to get his wife and return to the US where they would live and raise a family. At least, that was the plan. (more…)