A Brother and A Sister – Gabriele Vigna and Giuseppina Vigna

The Old Names

Gabriel is the messenger, the angel of the Lord. Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

In old Apriglianese, Gabriele became GRABIELE. It took me years to drop the R-sound at the beginning, but if I’m talking with my parents and we mention the Vigna family – Za Peppina or Zu Grabiele – the R goes right back.
Zu Grabiele’s first grandson was named after him. And we still refer to him using the old dialect. Just as I’m Marruzu, he’s Grabiele.

Giuseppina means the Lord adds.

My youngest sister was supposedly named Giuseppina because she was born on March 19 the feast of St. Joseph. My mother also told me that she was happy to name her youngest child Giuseppina because it was the name of her best friend’s daughter, who also happened to be Zu Grabiele’s grand-daughter. But our Giuseppina allowed only her mother to call her Giuseppi, the rest of us called her Jo’. Would she have become Peppina in her old age?

Coincidence1 – Zu Grabiele’s wife was a Giuseppina. (Her name got reduced to Petrina.) She died leaving 5 small children. Zu Grabiele’s sister was also a Giuseppina. And she took on the task of raising her 3 nieces and 2 nephews. (Her name got abbreviated to Peppinella. And by the time I came along she had matured into Za Peppina.)

Zu Grabiele’s younger son Cristinu – Christian – married my mother’s best friend Giovanna. Cristinu e Giovanna had two children – Grabiele and Giuseppina. (Who were they immortalizing in naming their daughter Giuseppina, her grandmother Petrina or her aunt Peppinella?)

Coincidence2 – Giuseppina Zinga and Dave Thorman named their first child Christian – Cristinu.

Zu Grabiele was born on January 2, 1887 and died October 14, 1971. He was 84.
Za Peppina was born May 5, 1905 and died March 12, 2008. She made it to 103.