If I could pick any language to learn, I'd probably pick Italian. Why would I pick Italian? Italian was the language spoken by some of my great great grandparents. Growing up, I always remember my my dad telling me stories of his grandma speaking Italian with her friends at church when they didn't want the younger kids hearing what they were saying. My grandfather grew up in an Italian American household and can understand most Italian. The Italian spoken around my grandpa was not standard Italian, however. I'm not sure if it was Sicilian because people from Calabria didn't like Sicilians, but it had southern roots. He told me that a waiter in Italy said that the southern dialect was the truest form of Italian.
Switching sides or locations, my grandmother's father was born in Asiago, Italy in 1908. Asiago, famous for their cheese, is located about sixty miles northwest of Venice in the province of Vicenza. Asiago was also a site of a World War 1 conflict launched by the Austro-Hungarians. I have asked my grandma if her father or uncles ever spoke Italian. She said that they really didn't. I began to wonder why this was so.
If anything, I can assume that northern Italians looked more Western than southern Italians and therefore didn't have to live close to each other in small neighborhoods like the one my grandpa grew up in. If anything I am curious to find out what traditions my great grandpa's did keep and I would like to visit the village he was born in one day.
It's very important to find our roots and discover something about our past. If we don't know how we got here, we won't know how to move on.