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Giuseppe Mercurio – 1942-2010

2001 was the first year that my husband and I went to Italy together. One destination was my favorite grandfather’s birthplace Sersale, situated in the toe of the “boot”. We met a lot of family during that visit, but one person stands out in our memories, Giuseppe Mercurio, the only surviving son of my grandfather’s little sister Rossina.

One of the things we learned quickly in Sersale was that no one there spoke Italian! they all spoke an incomprehensible dialect. Fortunately, all the people our age had adult children who could speak Italian and translate for us. Giuseppe and his wife Santina had three sons and three daughters who clearly worshiped him. He invited us to dinner and we sat down with the whole family – Giuseppe taking the stage. Giuseppe had no concept of another language and was convinced that we could become fluent in his dialect in just a few weeks. To prove his point, he had us all gasping with tears in our eyes when he tried to pronounce the single word “PICKLE.”

He was a master of storytelling, of drama, of humor. Whenever he would start to spin a yarn (with a lot of repetition to make sure we understood) the rest of the table would become silent – no one wanted to miss a word. Besides his hilarious stories, he talked a lot about family and love. He remembered my own grandfather who also had a big heart and faithfully sent money and packages to his family in Sersale and because of this, he said, because we a part of my grandfather’s family, we were always welcome in his home.

He also walked his talk, as every time we saw him, his adoring children and grandchildren surrounded him. I cannot imagine how devastated that family is to have lost him. I know that my life will forever be richer having known him.

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  1. admin
    July 26th, 2010 at 07:19 | #1

    thanks Catherine, this was one of the first serious portraits I did. It was dumb luck that kept me from ruining it. When I go to Italy in September I will give this to his family.

  2. July 25th, 2010 at 14:31 | #2

    I love this painting! I’m a huge dog lover!!

    So, I use blogger and not workpress…thus I don’t know how or if I can follow your blog. I know that doesn’t meet swap requirements, so I am trying to figure something out. Let me know if I am missing something!

  3. July 25th, 2010 at 09:23 | #3

    What a blessing to have family and memories like those, Mimi! The portrait is up to your usual excellence, and the story is remarkable. Thank you for sharing.

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