So, there I was at the wonderful grand [re]opening party for the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia Downtown (more on that in another post) when a woman by the name of Carolyn Verdi came up to me, double-checked my name tag and announced that she was my relative.
She stopped me in my tracks.
I had never met her before in my life.
I looked at her closely. She didn't look like anybody I knew. She really didn't look very much like any of the Ciruccis I know.
But she told me that she is indeed a Cirucci (her maiden name) and that she knew all about me and my daughter (Aimee) because she had been reading about us online.
Then she started talking about some of my relatives. And she knew their names, their relationship to me, the names of their parents and their backgrounds.
And then she told me that her grandfather (Giuseppe Cirucci) and my grandfather (Dominick Cirucci) were brothers. Whoa!
Carolyn has been back to our ancestral home town in Italy in the Molise region. It's Riccia, near Campobasso, in the mountains.
This was a stunner. An absolute stunner.
After all these years, I meet my cousin. Carolyn lives in Philadelphia where she is a special events and wedding planner.
Carolyn's side of the family (Giuseppe's children and grandchildren) grew up in South Philadelphia. My side of the family (Dominick's children and grandchildren) grew up in South Camden. Though we were separated only by the Delaware River the two sides of the family grew apart over the years. Dominick's children (my father included) lost contact with Giuseppe's children (Carolyn's mother included). Years and years passed.
But now we are reunited, thanks to the Crowne Plaza and the serendipity of our small world.
And so a new chapter begins in the liufe of the Ciruccis.
BTW: Cirucci is not a very common name, even amongst Italians. So, if someone is of that name it's a pretty good bet we're related.