Rome Diary VI - Il Bambino!
Back to Roma for a very important family event!
Sorry, Grandpa Botula, BUT…
DIARIO DI ROMA VI
Una Questione Importante per la Famiglia!
(A Matter of Importance to the Family!)
Sunday November 10, 2019
Cloudy 62°F/ 17°C in Roma, Latium, Italia
This edition of my Rome Diary centers around a blessed event in the blended families of Botula and Tomei!
When I arrived in the Eternal City last May to begin my regular two-month stay in Italy, mia nuora, (daughter-in-law) Laura, casually mentioned that her parents – Sergio and Annamaria – were traveling in the Holy Land but would return from their travels in time for us all to get together for pizza the following Saturday. And, so we did. And, on THAT occasion as the five of us chomped on pizza margherita e pizza con salsiccia e verdura, Michael and Laura made the announcement that their little family would be growing by the addition of un bambino in November. They had waited until they could share the good news with all three of their son’s grandparents. (Sadly, Michael’s mother, Donna, had passed away in 2010). And so, that’s what brings me back to Roma in November, for my new grandson, Alexander’s first Christmas!
My apologies to my own grandfather, Karel Botula, BUT, his great-great-great grandson Alexander will be born ITALIAN!
I can only imagine how Karel and Johana Botula might feel after they struggled so hard to make it to AMERICA, and participate in the AMERICAN DREAM to ensure that all of the little Botulas that followed them would be AMERICAN CITIZENS, that they might be just a tad disappointed, but Nonno Mike as I’ve come to be known, happens to be delighted at the prospect of having a bona fide Italian in la Famiglia! And, I’m happy to report to all of my followers out there in Facebook-Land that I will be in Rome for the joyful occasion. Among the gifts I am bringing my new grandson: a copy of my book about his great-great grandfather – LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target!...autographed, of course.
Perhaps young Alexander Botula would like to know about his dad’s side of the family? After all, Botula certainly sounds Italian! But, it’s NOT an Italian name. The cognomen originated in what is now the Czech Republic, in the ancient kingdom of Bohemia. At the time that Karel and Johana emigrated to America in 1903 with their three children: Maximillian, Karola and Frantiszka, the country was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Karel Botula, according to one family legend, bought into that old con artist’s tale that the streets of America are paved with GOLD! There is no family legend about Grandpap buying the Brooklyn Bridge with his meager savings by traveling in steerage class. I like to think he avoided that by arriving in the Port of Philadelphia, while Johana and their three kids got the full treatment at Ellis Island in New York Harbor. I have no knowledge of a family legend involving Karel’s down payment on the Liberty Bell. At any rate, the Botula family became quickly established in the western Pennsylvania coal mining country where Karel Botula toiled six days a week, ten or twelve hours a day as a coal miner. Talk about starting life in America from the ground floor up! However, the long hours underground did not stop Karel and Johana from raising their large family. Altogether, they raised nine children to adulthood.
Young Alexander will not be his Nonno’s first grandchild. His papa, Michael, has a sister – Dana Lynne who has FIVE children (cinque bambini); Joshua, Jacob, Jessica, and the twin girls Jordyn and Jaydan. So, the new arrival will have lots of cugini to play with. That doesn’t count his cousins on his mama’s side of the family.
As I look into the little tyke’s future from the perspective of my own long trail through life, I tend to see his young life through his parents’ eyes. Laura is an attorney engaged in the fine points of business law and is currently engaged with a company recruiting attorneys for positions at prestigious law firms. Her family has welcomed me into their warm embrace right from my very first visit to Italy. And Laura’s parents have made several visits to the U.S. to visit and meet their American relatives in California as well as Texas. Alexander will find a warm welcome on both sides of the Atlantic! Michael enjoys a hyphenated career, juggling his time between his responsibilities as an English teacher, entrepreneur with his own tour company in Rome, and devoting what remains of his time playing with his band No Funny Stuff! Young Alexander has a promising future. He will be bi-lingual so he can chat with his American cousins. He will grow up in one of the world’s historically wealthy cities, Roma and be able to proclaim proudly, Civis Romanus Sum! And, he will be able to carry two passports – Italian and USA. I can look down the road ahead and predict that my new grandson will be in good hands.
Benvenuto nel mundo, Alexander! Grazie mille, Laura e Michael!
Arrivederci a tutti. Ci vediamo presto!
[Mike Botula, the author of LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! is an award-winning broadcast journalist, government agency spokesperson and media consultant. Mike’s book is available from Amazon Books. You can read the entire Rome Diary series, plus more about Mike Botula at www.mikebotula.com]
© By Mike Botula 2020
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