|Dinner at Il Poggio|
|At the Devil's Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano.|
Lucy and I began coming regularly to Montecarlo in 2011 for about three months each year, and every time we discovered more people and places of significance to both the families of my grandparents, Michele Spadoni and Anita Seghieri. The desire to share these discoveries grew each year. I had taken my children, siblings and cousins to meet relatives here and explore some historical sites, but then I thought why not do this on a grander scale.
|Two of the younger participants,|
Clara and Giorgia.
|Spadoni families from Italy and USA.|
|Gina and Lisa (left, right) meet Italo Cortesi|
and his wife Enrichetta on the Cortesi farm.
In my reckoning, though, the best measure of success was the volume of the conversations and the expressions of pleasure at each meal. It was remarkable to me how quickly people became acquainted and bonded, even when they spoke different languages. Several times I found myself sitting back and watching multitudes of animated conversations with tears welling up in my eyes. This experience far exceeded even the wildest dreams I envisioned when I first considered organizing a reunion.
Thanks to all my wonderful cousins. Thanks to our ancestors who endured struggles and hardships to make it possible for us to experience such pleasures. Especially thanks to Davide Seghieri, Elena Benvenuti, Jean Paul Seghieri, Sergio Nelli, Carlo Spadoni and Andrea Mandroni. Also thanks to Italo Cortesi for showing us his farm even when he was not feeling well. Thanks to my wife Lucy who has supported me so loyally and cheerfully in my pursuits. Many other people stepped up to help with translations, collecting money, creating a Whatsapp group and providing driving directions, Why God has singled me out for such blessings I will never know, but I feel like we have all experienced a little taste of heaven this week.
|Davide Seghieri and Paul Spadoni cut our special reunion cake.|