My father emailed me to tell me that the house HIS father was born in, where Grandpa grew up, has been destroyed by fire. Apparently it happened last month but no one wanted to upset my Dad with the news, so it took a convoluted series of emails being passed around the world before the news made it to him via a cousin in Australia.
My Grandfather was from a small mountain village in the Valle di Sole. He left there and settled in Pennsylvania. A while back we travelled to Italy and met up with my parents and my brother’s family and visited the house – my Dad’s cousin had re-built a new house on the spot. A number of other family members still lived in the village, and some of them lost houses as well. It’s a little unclear to me (and the fire department) how it started, but the thought is it was a lightning strike on one of the derelict barns nearby, perhaps, and then it just spread.
Just so sad. Luckily no one was hurt, and I am happy that we made the trip and saw the house at least once before the devastation occurred. I remember that all the kids thought it was so cool that there was a secret door in one of the closets that allowed the sisters who lived side-by-side to go between the house!
The second video, which shows the aftermath (and which I can’t seem to embed for some reason) is interesting – just around 2:30 minutes you can see some people looking at framed photos and albums. Clearly they were important to them and one of the things they made sure to save! Chatting with my Dad, he mentioned having asked his cousin for copies of some of the photos she had of older generations of the family. At the time, she made some comment about liking having things that were unique, not wanting to give him copies. I think there was some discussion and eventually she DID send him copies and good thing too. Had HER copy been truly “unique” it would have been lost forever. When we visited my brother filmed many of the photos on the walls with his video camera – again, that may now be the only record of those old photos.
So back up your photos, take photos or scans of precious old ones, and store them someplace safe. You just never know what might happen.