Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


My mom's family came over in the early 1900s from Abruzzo (Italy). To be exact, they came from Torrevecchia Teatina Chieta Abruzzo. Torrevecchia Teatina (TT) being the town name, Chieta being the district (like our counties), and Abruzzo (like our states).

Yesterday, there was a rather large earthquake in Abruzzo. It was, fortunately not near TT, relatively speaking. TT is about 10 miles from the sea in southeast Italy, just above the boot heel. As you enter this regions you go up in altitude, and the earthquake was very near the mountains and ski resorts in that Italian state.

I have such a desire, and have had for years, to go visit TT. I really want to go in 2010 -- not specific reason for the 2010 except that I've been talking about 2010 for years. And I want to go with my sister and my cousin Betty.

Family lore says that my grandfather's family -- the Sbaraglias -- were the town's cemetery keepers. Whether this is true of not, I guess I have to believe my older cousins' knowledge of this because they lived at a time when my grandmother was alive and were able to garner knowledge of the old homeland. In another week I'll be having a nice visit with one of these cousins and I hope to get more info about my Italian -- the ones who actually spoke the language and lived there -- family.

On my dreamed-of trip to Italy, I would get a time-share exchange on the sea (there are many, many available) and would go in an off-month. Then I would rent a car and travel to TT and visit with the folks I've had a few e-mail exchanges (Sbaraglias).

There are 66 Sbaraglias in that small town in Abruzzo, the total population being 3448.. There is a website that tells me how many people are in not only that town, but any town I want to know about in Italy. For several years now I've been reading newspaper items about the town, talking via e-mail (rarely) with the locals, and hoping my legs improve enough so that I might be able to make the trip. It's all in the Lord's hands.

You may have noticed that Alan is not included in the trip. We may (just the two of us) go there, but that doesn't seem likely. Neither of us likes to fly and Alan dislikes it more than I. And I think a couple of weeks in Italy with my sister and cousin would be a lot of fun. Can this happen? Who knows? I'll just to wait and see.

Website about TT with Pictures:
If you can't read Italian, get a free It/English converter at:



Rose said...

Oh, I bet mama would Love that! Thanks so much for putting that on here. You know how woefully ignorant I am of our heritage- though I'd love for that to change. All of your posts about our family are like treasures to me and my kids. You are such a blessing. I really hope y'all can make the trip.
Love you!

Judi Hahn said...

Do you really think your mom could get two weeks off from work? If she can do that, we might be able to work it out. I'd pay for everything but airfare (housing, transport in Italy, most meals). I actually have been invited to eat with other Sbaraglias! in Abruzzo!