Carmelo And Mathilde Nuccio My Parents


Over time I’ve noticed that once in a while a blogger that I visit would write a post about they mother, father, and other family members.  I have to say that I love those posts, and I’ve been wanting to write a post like that myself for a while now.

So today, in this fun summer posts series, I wanted to do something a bit different, and write about my parents.  My father, Carmelo and my mother, Mathilde.

Do you know the history of your parents, before you came along? Most of us do, don’t we?  My mother has told me all bout hers and my father childhood and younger days throughout my life.  On this post I wanted to tell you a little bit about my mother and father that you can see above on their wedding day.  I think that I had handsome parents, and I love to look at this picture.

So here is their story…

My Father

Italy Map- CompressedMy father was born in San Pier Niceto, Sicily (pronounced san pier nichieto).

San Pier Niceto is a small village in the province of Messina of the Italian most southern region of Sicily.

People of Sicily (Italian island at the tip of Italy) speak Sicilian (an Italian type dialect) very different from Italian.  However, all Sicilians do speak Italian as well, while people from the main land of Italy do not usually speak Sicilian.

My father was the baby of 8 children born in a rather poor family, like most Sicilian people of the time.

There was a true story that my father had told my mother that was kind of scary, but  gave you a good idea of the way my father grew up.

While he was still a baby in a crib, his parents had to work in the fields, and they would leave him asleep in his crib under the shade of tree, not too far from them, with the dog as a baby sitter.  They would order the dog to sit there and watch over my father, which he did.  When my grandparents would get back from work often hours later, they would usually find several dead sneaks around the baby’s crib.  That faithful dog was certainly doing a hell of a good job watching over my father.

Once you heard that story, you could only imagine how growing up in Sicily in the mid 1930’s to mid 1940’s would have been. It was a tough life, indeed, and that made tough people.  My father and all his brothers and sister were tough, to say the least.

San-Pier-Niceto -

In order to avoid such tough life style, all of my father’s siblings moved abroad to foreign countries one after the other, except for the eldest one who enjoyed working the beautiful land of Sicily, and once said that he never wanted to be awaken by an alarm clock.

One of my father’s brothers and one of his sisters moved to Melbourne, Australia.  One sister moved to Belgium, and one brother and two sisters moved to France and took their teenager youngest brother with them, my father, who was 17 years old.  None of them ever moved back to Sicily.

My grandparents eventually also moved to France and were living with my father’s oldest sister.  They died in Lyon, far from their native Sicily.

When I was 16 years old, I had the immense joy of visiting my father’s village in Sicily, and it was quite a spiritual experience for me to walk around the streets that my father had grown up in.  I stayed with my uncle, my father oldest brother and his wife, and I remember them introducing me to strangers, not as Sylviane, their niece, but as “la figlia di Carmelo,”Carmelo’s daughter.

Everybody in that village was aware of the untimely death of my father over ten years prior, so they looked at me as a long time loss relative, even though I didn’t even know them. They looked at me as someone very special and it kind of felt weird.

Then came the dreadful question; parli Italiano? (do you speak Italian?) to which I had to say, no, as my Italian was very limited to say the least.

On the other hand, when my father and his siblings moved to France, they didn’t speak a word of French, but they all learned it.  My father could speak French with no Italian accent at all because of the young age at which he arrived in France.  All his brothers and sisters did have an Italian accent when they spoke French, though.

My father was fluent in Italian, Sicilian and French.  He had very little schooling, but almost never worked for a boss.  He built a handy-man business of his own.

My Mother

France Map - CompressedMy mother was born in Lyon, France and was the middle child, between an older sister and a younger brother.  My mother was also from a poor family, and even though she was never mistreated or anything like that, It was rather miserable, and she simply hated her childhood.

I know one thing, if you had told my mother I give you a million dollar for you to go back in your childhood, she would have told you thank you, but no, thank you.

Since both my parents had less than a fun childhood, it must have been a huge reason for them to try to build a great childhood for their own children, as they did.

My mother was extremely smart border line “genius”.  She could read like an adult at age 6. She was a A+ student in all classes without even studying.  She was getting bad grades only by teachers who didn’t like her and because she loved to talk.  When I was a child I used to call my mother  “encyclopedia”, which she really was.

On top of her head she was born with the gift of sawing.  She could design and sew like a master.  Besides that she was a real handy man around the house, as well as a cook and baker like no body I’ve ever met since.

My mother and her siblings spoke both perfect French and Spanish as they spoke Spanish with their mother and French with their father.  My grand-mother was from Seville, Spain.

Both my parents grew up speaking two languages. Unfortunately, me and my bother grew up speaking only French.

Maman et moi

How My Parents Met

My mother and father met because they came to live in the same neighborhood.  They had both spotted each other, and the attraction was pretty much immediate.  They marry the same year they met.

My parents purchased a house in the country right outside of Lyon when I was just a month old, and that’s where me and my brother grew up.  My parents were not rich, but they were doing well, and me and my brother had everything they lacked themselves as children.

I came almost exactly 4 years after they marry, and 3 years after me came my brother.  Neither me nor my brother had to go to day care, because while my parents were very busy they both worked from home.  If by any chance they were not available to watch over us, my aunt (my mother’s sister) would take care of that.  If she couldn’t, my mom had a friend who was a nun at the nearby covenant  and she would take us along with her.

I spent quite some time in that covenant as a child, I remember. It was fun to me, and that nun was a sweetie pie.  when I was 2 I had given her the name “Tati” (Anti).  She love that. She was referred as Tati, in my household, ever since after that.

A Dreadful Day

When I was five years old, and my brother two, my father was ready to take his family to Italy for a month vacation.

He had just purchased a new car that was on its way home in a couple weeks.  The car was a Mercedes Benz.  Not bad for a little immigrant from Sicily.  We were going to go to Italy and back to his home in Sicily with the Mercedes that summer.

However,  on March 26, before that wonderful trip to be, my father was killed in a car accident less than 3 miles from home.  Unfortunately, my father had a heavy foot when it came to driving, and that day, at a curve (due to an unexplained reason) a truck that was coming from the opposite side was driving way too much on the left hand side of the road, and my father couldn’t avoid it.

My father was taken out of the wreckage alive, but died just a few seconds after that.  He was 34 years old.  I was 5 and my brother 2.

The Aftermath

My brother, my mother, me ,and my aunt

My mother became the youngest widow of that whole region.  From that day on, she sadly became “famous” in several villages and towns all around.  People used to call her up in the street by name.  When they were gone she would turn around and say, I don’t even know this person!

A  young widow in her mid thirties with too small children,would make people know about you in a rather small community. Plus, the funeral itself was talked about all around as my uncles and oldest male first cousins carried my father’s coffin on their shoulders for the mile long walk from the church to the cemetery.  No one had ever done that before, or after, as long as we lived there, anyway.

When you lose a parent at a young age, it always leaves some scares, that’s unavoidable, but my mother made sure that we would have the best life we could have, anyhow. And we did, eventually.

However, the shock of the sudden loss of her husband affected my mother’s memory forever.  She noticed it when she realized that all the data and numbers about my father’s business, that she had memorized, were all gone after his death.  She never remembered them after that. Ever.

Then she had to deal with a serious depression that lasted over two years.  She eventually healed herself with plants as she refused to take drugs for it, but it wasn’t just going away on it own.  While still being the best mom in the world, it was a couple of very dark years. In three years in a row, my mom lost her mother, father and husband.

After my father’s death my aunt (my mom’s sister) who was single came live with us, so instead of growing up with a mother and a father we grew up with my mother and aunt.  Thus, my brother grew up surrounded by three females, and as soon as he was big and strong enough he became the man of the house when it came to heavy duty stuff.

We did grow up in  beautiful surroundings and a beautiful house.  We would go vacationing in the South of France, Spain and Italy.  We often had joyful family gathering with the bunch of uncles, aunts and cousins that I had.

Your roots and family stays with you forever, no matter what. Today I wanted to share a little bit of my roots and family with you.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Please, let me know in the comments down below!
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11 thoughts on “Carmelo And Mathilde Nuccio My Parents”

  1. Oh wow Sylviane, I love you sharing this with us.

    I knew you had lost your Dad in a car accident when you were young but I didn’t realize you were only five years old. How sad for you all. Your poor Mom, I can’t even imagine because I know how it was for me losing my Dad. I also fell into a deep depression and it took me a couple years to put myself back together again.

    It sounds like though you had a wonderful life despite having lost your Dad so young. Sounds like your aunt was very supportive as well and I’m glad she lived with you all.

    Thanks for sharing this with us and I enjoyed learning about your parents and you more as a child. I love these types of posts too.

    Have a beautiful weekend.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Well, I’m glad I wrote this because I realized that people didn’t know some things that I assumed they did 🙂

      Yes, my mother had a tough life. As I said, she lost her mother, father and husband in 3 years in a row, and that just broke her for over 2 years. After that she also developed gold bladder disease and had to have it removed at age 38. As I was saying to Donna she was just the shadow of herself for over 2 years. However, she came back from all this.

      Yes, I was 5 when my father died and my brother 2, so we really don’t remember him much at all. My brother has zero memory of him, and I have just flashes, like pictures passing through my mind at times, but that’s about it. Thankfully, my parent were technologically advanced and they had a super 8 camera by the late 60’s, so I have few movies with my father.

      Glad you enjoyed this post.

      Thanks for coming and have a great week end!
      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..Carmelo And Mathilde Nuccio My ParentsMy Profile

  2. Hi Sylviane,

    What an interesting story! Now I know more about you and I just love it! I didn’t know you were part Italian….I’m Italian on all sides.

    On both sides of my family, all moved to the US, except my father’s side where they moved to Paris, France. There are still there, but they are long lost relatives. I can’t believe how similar our backgrounds are.

    I just love reading how people from the early 20th century survived and came through all the struggles they had to face. Especially your dad, coming from a small village in Sicily and driving a Mercedes.

    It must have been a great shock to you when he passed. It is difficult when children lose a parent. But in the end, all was good because your mom compensated as mother and father to you. She is an amazing woman!

    So that’s where you get it from!

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    1. Hi Donna,

      Wow, you didn’t know my father was Italian? I’m so glad I wrote this then.

      The shock of losing my father was mostly on my mother, a pretty huge one, indeed. As for us kids, we were so small, and you know back then people made mistakes such not telling me that my father was actually dead, for a while, so I actually suffered from abandonment syndrome.

      As I mentioned in the post, my mom lost her mother, father and husband in 3 years in a row, so after the final blow, her husband’s death she was like the shadow of herself for a good 2 years, until she started coming back.

      She did make it through, though, and has been an example for many, and who know even maybe those reading this post.

      Thanks for coming and read this personal story. Have a great weekend!
      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..Carmelo And Mathilde Nuccio My ParentsMy Profile

  3. Hi Sylviane,
    I love this story. Thank you for sharing. I didn’t know you lost your father at an early age either. As your finished reading your post I started to tear up. In some ways we both grew up without a father. You lost yours at an early age, I never knew mine until I was 28/29, but I was blessed to find him later and enjoy the remainder of his life.

    Thank you for sharing such intimate and beautiful details of your dad and mom’s life. And these are beautiful details. You could tell that your mom and dad loved each other very much. You can tell that your life was good despite the loss of your dad. We always want it to be different, but you’ve been blessed. I think we are blessed to have our parents for whatever time we have them (speaking from my own experience).

    Those flashes of memory you have will always be there and are your reminder of a man who loved you dearly.
    God bless and thank you again for sharing with us.
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    1. Hi Barbara,

      That’s why blog posts are great, because it’s one way that people will remember something. No matter how many times I’ve mentioned before that my father died when I was five, I noticed that people haven’t catch that. This is due to the fact that words come and go, but once it’s written it’s tends to stick better.

      Yes, several of us had to grow up without a father, and while it’s not the way it should have been, it’s the way it was, and we had to make due. I remember you sharing your father’s story a while back and then again more recently. As I said, I love those posts, and they help to know the blogger much better.

      Thanks for coming, and have a great week!
      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..Carmelo And Mathilde Nuccio My ParentsMy Profile

  4. Hi Sylviane

    Oh wow I am all teared up too reading this. I did not know that you were so young when you lost your Dad. That is a very tragic story. I especially feel for you Mum not getting over it and marrying again when she was so young. It is sad.

    Thank you for sharing their story. Every story needs to be told. I am familiar with Sicilians as you know many immigrated to Australia including your relatives.

    That story of your Dad when he was a baby is amazing. That was one good dog.

    Awesome story Sylviane.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      I’m sorry, I made you cry 🙂

      I’m glad I’ve written this because it seems that no one remembers that my father died when I was little, even though I’ve mentioned it several times. I know that from a blog post it will stick better.

      My mother didn’t not remarry, but it wasn’t because she didn’t get over it, she did. It’s just that she wasn’t interested in marrying again. She had a busy life and she was happy with her children, and she didn’t want to bring a stranger into the household. It might be weird for some, but my brother and I were so thankful for this!

      Yes, that dog was a good dog, wasn’t he?

      Thanks for coming Sue, and have a great week!

      Sylviane Nuccio invites you to read..Carmelo And Mathilde Nuccio My ParentsMy Profile

  5. Hey Sylviane, Its great to know more about you. Your parents have an wonderful love story I must say. Neighborhood love stories are quite common and interesting.

    Really Sorry for your Dad. :(:(

    Today exactly I came to know that there is a emotional sweet girl behind a intelligent blogger 😛 😛

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