If you don't know me well, you may not know that I am Italian. If you know me at all, you know it, and you know how proud I am of it. We celebrated our family's 100th year in America in Simi Valley with a grip of our extended family- I took the four chickens down to my mom's house to join the festivities, and it was well worth it. My Umpa, the handsome man above, is part of the first generation of Fusanos in the U.S. (Fusano is my mother's maiden name. Just so you know, my mother was the only member of her family to not have an Italian last name- her other two sisters married Italians as well. Paulson is Danish.)
My mom brought a HUGE watermelon from her garden...it became the appetizer to a smorgasbord of deliciousness. I'm going to post some food pictures on dwell in sunshine, just for posterity.
My first cousin-once-removed, Victoria.

Some other cousin painted the kid's faces...Lucy showed me hers, then I asked her to smile.
" Is this how you smiled for your school picture?" I asked. "Yep!"
Bowden sweat his off in a couple hours. It was HOT.
My more-immediate family enjoying salzits (sausages) and corn.
My cousin Laurena's daughter...
She and Jack are two months apart. They enjoyed raiding the corn chest. You know, like a treasure chest or ice chest, but full of corn.
Some more Fusanos enjoying the spread.
Grandma Gigi with Miles.
Listening to my Uncle Crue M.C. I didn't have a panoramic option on my camera, but these next few pictures give you an idea of how many people there were. Some family members opted to play Bocci while this was going on, but most crowded in. There are actually offshoots of three siblings here- Rosa Modugno, Pasquale Modugno, and Michael Modugno. Rosa Modugno married Christo Fusano, my great grandfather and Umpa's father.

My cousins Matt and Michelle's oldest boy, Porter.
Jack wanted to be in the balloon toss.
Bowden and Jack got to enjoy the water of the balloon toss afterward, anyway.

We all had name tags. With over two hundred family members, you are constantly being asked who you are, and how you're related.
Posing for the family picture.
Jack fell asleep with Nanny holding a Bocci ball.
The Modugno women challenged the Fusano women to a tug of war.
We're tough.

We won!
Toward the end, Tony and Dave, my two "little" cousins, hung out with Umpa.
Dave and I- it was a good time, and I really loved being there. The rest of the weekend was spent with family...two of our Uncle's families came down from "up North" (near Sacramento) and no one can resist getting together when we can. It was really sad that Rosie couldn't be there-or Josh- or my other few cousins that weren't there, but it was great to see who did come.
I love my family. (My cousin Cherice contacted the local newspaper, and they wrote an article on it!)


sharon said…
Sigh. Sigh again.

I wish I could have been there.
MomZup said…
I am so very thankful you made the effort to go. . .family reunions are so wonderful. Great pics of Umpa!
Sandy said…
I would like to be an honorary Fusano, please.
Pink said…
I love the photo of Aunt Nita and Miles! It was sooo good to see everyone.
Christina said…
Looks like it was an awesome time! I think Victoria and Lucy look a lot alike. It's amazing!
Anonymous said…
This year, the community of Sylmar is trying to revive the Sylmar Olive Festival. As part of that celebration, we would like to do a historical tribute to the Fusano and Modugno families and their contribution to our community's olive history. It would be wonderful if any member of your family could share some history of your family with us. Thanks. Don Neal, Sylmar Neighborhood Council, Olive Festival Committee Chair, donald.neal@sylmarnc.org

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