Ancestry, My Travel

Chance or Fate

IMG_20170903_164359There’s so much happening that I haven’t had time to write them down. Plus, I have limited high-speed data and can’t upload blogs or photos very often.

On the day of the Zingari Degli Corsa, Janice and I were concerned that we didn’t have the right information about where the runners’ registration would be. I went into a local bar (they serve espresso and alcohol) to ask the man who worked there. As I waited, I glanced out the door and spotted the shop owner, Signore Rubino, we know. I raced out to ask him. Janice had the same idea, and we reached him at the same time.


We asked, and his explanation was more complicated than my level of Italian. He grabbed a nearby man asking him to translate. After we learned registration would be at the bottom of the course, Signore Rubino said goodbye, and we formally introduced ourselves to our translator. Giovanno’s a Pacentran-Canadian. I told him our family story, shared our search for genealogical information, and showed him the piece of our tree we knew came from Pacentro.

His eyes got wide, and he said, “I am going to blow your mind! You have to come with me. I have something at home I have to show you.”


His jovial personality and excitement was contagious. Janice and I started to follow him. We spotted dad, introduced him to Giovanno, and all headed through the maze to his place. We talked the whole time and only paused for him to grab us some fresh figs. They were amazing.


When Giovanno invited us into his place, it was our first time inside one of the unique homes of Pacentro. As he dug through an armoire, he shared that the place was his grandmother’s, and she had passed. While going through her things, he found some old photos. He didn’t recognize the name written across the top or anyone in the photos. In July 2017, he asked the local magazine to publish the photos seeking their rightful owner.


He pulled out an old photo portfolio, set it on the table, and opened it. Inside was the iconic photo of my great grandparents and their ten children, including my grandfather, Louis Pulcini. To say we were shocked, would be an understatement. Across the top, someone had written, “Famiglia di Pulcini Giovanno Maggio 1944”. There was also an X and “Soldato” marked above Carl’s head. Along with the family photo was another of a young man. We don’t recognize him, and the photo says it was taken in New Mexico.


He gave us the photos and a copy of the magazine with the article about the photograph.

I can’t believe we coincidentally met this gentleman who happened to have an old photo of my family. Everywhere we go, we hear, “No Pulcinis. No Pulcinis.” Here we finally have proof of a personal connection with Pacentro. Somehow our family knew his, enough to send them a photo or for someone to give them it.


Carl served in WWII, but why was he singled out. We may never figure it out.

There’s more to this story and so much more to share about our trip.

3 thoughts on “Chance or Fate”

    1. That is so amazing!!! What a great find for you, for our family!!! You & your Dad had to have been so excited! Wonder why his grandmother had that picture, or who she was to our family in Italy. Did she attend the same church, was she a family friend, (maybe of Aunt Rose), a distant relative? So many new questions! I hope you find more intriguing puzzle pieces! Can’t wait to read your next blog!!!!


  1. Soldato is the first level of the American and or Sicilian Mafia. Or maybe it just meant soldier. 😉 Are you going to have the article translated? I would love a copy! I look forward to your stories, Nicole….they are anazing?!


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