Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Quake

My family has been traveling for the last few days and so I haven't been able to focus on the Asia Earthquake that set off a Tsunami. It's hard not to be affected by the complete loss in that region in the world. Now that I'm home I am reviewing the many charities that are accepting donations and am deciding between two: The United Nations World Food Program and OxFam. A donation to one of these charities seems like a good way to start the New Year.
When reading the local newspaper the other day, I saw a story about the Bam, Iran earthquake which happened about the same time last year. I realized the only story I remember about Bam concerned an American couple that were tourists. The man died. Does that say something about me or about the news reporting, I'm not sure.
These stories reminded me of a more personal story. I grew up in a house with my parents upstairs and my grandmother living downstairs. Occasionally, my widowed grandmother would take out a big, old, picture of a couple with two young children. She'd tell me that the man in the picture was her brother, his wife and children and that they'd all died in the 1908 earthquake in Sicily, Italy. That earthquake also triggered a tsunami that hit the island of Sicily and by various reports killed anywhere from 90,000 to 200,000 people.
My grandmother survived. She was 12 years old at the time. Her future husband was in Messina, Sicily too. All of his relatives perished. In 1911, separately, my grandmother and grandfather both took boats to the USA and passed through Ellis Island. Whenever people see my Italian maiden name they ask if I'm related to this person or that person and I always say "no." All of my Italian relatives died in the 1908 earthquake. Of course, I was too young to understand my grandmother's story, but now I have a greater appreciation of how devastated she must have been.
My heart goes out to the people of the Asia Tsunami.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
5:14 PM



Glad you and the family are back safely.


# posted by Anonymous : 6:31 PM  

Thanks Terry. Happy New Year!

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:23 PM  

Hey Auntie M - My grandfather came through Ellis Island as well, from the area of Calabria in Italy. As for the tragedy in Asia, you might want to check out www.dec.org.uk for donations. This is an umbrella type organization setup in the UK to cover all of the major charities for donations. Happy New Year!!

# posted by Pat : 9:25 PM  

Happy new year, Auntie M!
I read the tsunami story of your descent with interest. It is painful to hear the devastation in South Asia. Because my country is a nest of earthquakes, there is a highly advabced tsunami alert system (The tsunami alert comes up just in a few minutes after the quake). I wish such system will be established in that area someday, too.

By the way, your new year greeting was really a suprise! I spent summer of 2001 in Paris to attend a summer program at Univ. Paris I. Since then, I am always missing Paris...that's why I like your blog.
Will visit your blog often this year!

# posted by Teriyaki : 2:44 AM  

Wow...that puts things into perspective, doesn't it? I can't believe the devastation. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around it all. I feel for those people so much that it hurts me to even watch the news.


# posted by Carrie : 7:30 AM  

We are all so sorry for them. I went there for a while last year, they are so cool so kind... and they were already so poor. That is horrible.

# posted by negrito : 12:41 PM  

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