AGAWAM, Massachussets (WSHM-LD) — Imagine someone out there held the history of one of your relatives who served their country more than 80 years ago, including details of their travels overseas, their joys, their frustrations.
One Agawam woman found that history and set out to find the family of a Navy Veteran who served his country in the 1930s.
Cecelia Rossi said she wanted to track down the family of the man who wrote her father extensively while serving his country. She managed to do that right before Memorial Day.
Not everyone’s dad is as meticulous a record keeper as Cecelia Rossi’s.
Her late father Romeo took albums of photographs and the Agawam woman learned he also held onto postcards written to him by a friend over the years.
Rossi said she didn’t know about those until her sister-in-law found them and typed them up in document form.
“It came to over how many pages?”
“75,” Rossi said.
The correspondence is between Romeo and Sam Annino, childhood friends who grew up on Chestnut Street in West Springfield.
Rossi said Annino went off to serve in the Navy in the 1930s
“He went to Cuba, Panama, Alaska, Honolulu,” Rossi said.
While the lingo may have changed,
“‘Oh this is swell’ and ‘fellows’,” Rossi said.
The bond of friendship reveals a portrait of a young man who saw the same frustrations and sacrifice of serving away from loved ones that soldiers still face today.
“He said ‘so Romeo did you break your fingers where’s my letter?… He loved to dance. He didn’t like to drink,” Rossi said.
Rossi said her father died before the age of 50, and learning about him through the saved memories inspired her to try and give the same experience to Sam Annino’s relatives.
“Somebody must know him or knew of him,” Rossi said.
So she took to Facebook and Rossi said someone responded, “Emailed me and said “I lived right next door to Sam Annino,” Rossi said.
Rossi said the printed correspondence was sent to a family member
“[a] niece in Brewer, Maine,” Rossi said.
You may know the names of your relatives and where they sit on the family tree but Rossi said getting to the root of who they were keeps a legacy alive.
“It’s so important to know where you came from how you got to be where you are,” Rossi said.
Rossi said she also learned that Sam Annino has family in the south and hopes they get to read about their relative’s military service, through his own words as well.
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