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|Viewing: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 6 to 8 PM|
Service: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 10:30 AM
Location: St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, 201 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD
On Friday, May 8, 2015, Anna Lia (Corretti) Thomson, of Gaithersburg, MD formerly of Garrett Park Estates, Kensington, MD. Beloved wife of the late, Robert W. Thomson; loving mother of Terry R. Thomson and his wife Dian, Roger L. Thomson and his friend Meg and Annamaria J. Zimmerman and her husband Paul; grandmother of Tracey and his wife Christy, Amberly and her husband Dave, Jennifer, Jessica and Daniel; great-grandmother of Kendal, Hunter, Pamela, Kai and Kaya; dear sister of the late Leo Carretti.
Friends may call at Devol Funeral Home, 10 East Deer Park Drive, Gaithersburg, MD on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 6 to 8 PM.
Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, 201 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 10:30 AM.
Interment will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Silver Spring, MD.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in her name to American Cancer Society, 801 Roeder Road, Ste. 800, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
ANNA THOMSON MEMOIR
Italy was entirely occupied by the Germans. Yes, we were allied because Mussolini said so; therefore the Fascist regime and Hitler regime was in full force � Gestapo Headquarters and Fascist Headquarters were in Florence and other vicinity, Partisans were working undercover. Sympathizers and partisans, if caught, were sent to concentration camps, tortured or shot.
Food, clothing, gasoline, electricity � everything was rationed with coupons, just so many coupons and no more. You had money and you could find anything in the so called black market. Lights out early in the evening till dawn. You had to be very careful if you were going out.
We had British and American air raids � railroads, factories, German and Fascist headquarters were the targets. We had shelter with cots, water, foods and first aid. All of this was scary; tensions and fears - fears of speaking, you never knew who was listening; no way that you could voice your opinion one way or the other.
My family and I got along pretty good. My father was a great provider, a man without politics; his politics was the welfare of his family and relatives and his work. In order to protect us children, my father had leased a guest house next to a villa of a friend of his � the country place was Poggiosecco. Many farmers were living close by; they had prosperous, beautiful farms and my father was buying food from them for all of us. Us young people were spending more and more time there in the country far away from soldiers and air raids and problems.
Here we are in June, 1944 � the Fascists and Germans were confiscating anything that looked like a vehicle. My dad�s van and cars were taken by the Germans � bicycles, motorcycles, tools and other items were taken by the Fascists. Everything was confiscated � provisions that were in the house were taken, so my mom and dad walked from my home to the place in the country. My dad needed my bicycle to take food to our relatives and also to go about his business the best he could. Dad went to the farm, bought provisions, paid them for a year�s provisions for us and for the whole family. With the bicycle loaded with bags of food, mom and dad walked back to Florence, waving goodbye down the road. Our place was not on a main road, very secluded and out of the way. My dad felt that it was a safe place for us kids.
The next day early in the morning I heard a horse and buggy. It was Mr. Guilio; he came to talk to me and pick us up. My dad had been killed by a Fascist who took his bike and then killed him.
Pandemonium was in our household. No one was allowed to express their opinion on what happened. Fascists were there while we were mourning my dad. My dad was gone and the whole world with him. It was very difficult for us to restrain my mother from cussing the Fascists. She was beside herself and we were afraid of terrible consequences.
About a week or ten days after the funeral, four SS came up to our house, pounding on the door. We had to let them in. Two stayed outside and two came inside checking every wall, every piece of furniture, picking up whatever they wanted. We just stood there like we were hypnotized. We were terrified. I was afraid how my mother and my little brother would react, but they kept quiet. After going over all of our possessions and whatever they liked and taking most of our provisions and our revolver, they left, loading on their truck all the other things taken from our tenants and neighbors.
No provisions - so I talked it over with mom and decided to go to the house in the country and visit the farmers where my dad had contracted the provisions. I did not want to go alone, so my friend Licia went with me. We had a long walk, approximately and hour and a half on a lonely road. We arrived at Poggiosecco, checked the house, went to the farmer and loaded ourselves with food - salami, prosciutto, flour, wheels of bread, olive oil, eggs and butter. Two full bags and a knapsack.
We were loaded up to our teeth, going back. We were marching along to a good speed when at one point of the road we saw coming in the opposite direction a horse and buggy with two German SS soldiers. Lord have mercy, how and when had they moved in this vicinity! They went by us. I kept my eyes to my feet and Licio to do the same thing. They drove by and we kept on walking faster and faster. I said to Licia �Let�s see if they stop and turn around. If they do, we have to run as fast as we can to the end of the road. The wall is slowly decreasing in height and we can jump into the fields where the farmers are always working.� Sure enough all of a sudden we could not hear the sound of the horse. They had stopped and then they turned around to a good speed and we began to run even faster. My friend left her bags � I did not. I ran as fast as my legs could go; my feet were touching my head. We were lucky we arrived at the low part of the wall and I tossed the bags in the field and I jumped. I rolled down on the dirt; nothing was broken, the olive oil bottle was all right, the bags were ok; the eggs ah! gone all over the cabbage leaves and newspaper that was wrapping the butter � but we were safe. The farmers were there with us - shovels and pitchforks. We looked up, the horse and buggy were there, they had stopped, they looked at the scene in the field, then they picked up the dropped bags and left. The farmers helped us to get cleaned up, gave us some wine, cleaned our bags from the smashed eggs, and gave us 6 eggs each. We thanked them and with wobbly legs we went home. When I arrived home I just collapsed. All my fear took over me and I shook and cried for quite a few hours.
Well, things went along pretty good. Sadness and worries were our entertainment, but we kept on. About a week or ten days later the Fascists came once more in all the houses on our street and picked up anything that was suitable to them and provisions that we all had in our homes. The Allies were marching fast from south Italy to north Italy. The Germans and Fascists were on the run, so they were bombing roads and bridges with their cannons. We were located right along the water reservoir. The Germans went from our side, crossed the Arno River, and positioned themselves on the other side. They destroyed all the bridges except the Ponte Vecchio. They bombed all the roads leading to the Arno and important points and our house was hit very badly by the cannon. All the stone stairway leading to our place and upstairs to the tenants was gone, a big hole, and part of the left side dining room and the utility room were heavily damaged. The utility room was packed with many of our valuables and some valuable things were destroyed. The other bomb hit at the end of the garden. There my dad had put under a few feet of dirt jars with money, silver and mom�s good trinkets. The hole had been covered and a pan for two ducks was made so no one would be suspicious. Well, all went up in smoke. No money. Very little was recovered.
The Allies were coming. Mom had to contract a firm to fix the house so we all could live in it. The lira had been devalued to nothing. All the money in the bank was barely enough to pay for the reconstruction of the stairway and the walls. The main door was left unrepaired as there was no more money; we had to wait for the rest. The government put a freeze on the rent, we had very little income coming in compared with the cost of food, utilities and taxes. My mom helped the ladies next door with their seamstress enterprise, not much, but a little help. No work for women. All the work available was given to the partisans returning from the war. I finally applied for a job at the AGRS at the Florence control station, the American headquarters, working as a file clerk am/graves req � the cards of deceased soldiers.
In the meantime, the British had set up headquarters in Via Villamagua, our street and they had taken headquarters in different houses along our road. Ours was occupied by a British Major and his valet Henry. My mother�s bedroom was for the major, my brother�s room for Henry, and bathroom privileges for the major. We had no authority in the matter. We were Italians, we were defeated enemy, and they have the right to do so. Well, the major was a perfect gentleman and full of courtesy. The valet was clean as a whistle, and all the soldiers occupying our garage and other homes and the ones in the tents in the street were all very kind and a bunch of real gentlemen. The British paid us for the use of the home and we were bewildered when we received the notice to present us to the main headquarters in Florence. That was helping us financially to breathe a little better. In the meantime, anytime that the major needed the boots shined or the hot water for the afternoon tea, the valet would give us some of their rations, which we were saving for a needy day.
Later in 1947 I met my husband Robert Thomson a soldier we married in Florence I left my family and came to America a new chapter in my life.
Eulogy shared at Anna Lia's funeral:
When my dad Terry told me of my grandmother passing I sent him this message, �So sad, but WOW what an awesome life.�
My grandmother, Anna Lia Corretti, was born in 1924 in Florence, Italy, the daughter of a hard working, above middle class family. Her father was a good provider, had a good business; they owned a home on a main street in Florence and rented out an apartment.
Anna�s life was filled with many trials, tribulations, good times and happiness. During her life she often told my father that life was like a book, you finish one chapter and start a new chapter.
Anna�s childhood and early years were like most children�s, filled with good times, bicycling through Florence, riding on the motorcycle with her father, going to the beach, sailing, skiing on the Italian alps. She was well educated and she could speak 5 languages - Italian, French , Spanish, German and English. This would help her during her life. She was a beautiful woman, very attractive.
But, in her late teenage years and early 20�s, the whole world changed with the Fascist regime and occupying Germans. The Gestapo and Fascist Headquarters were in Florence. Partisans were working undercover. Sympathizers and partisans, if caught, were sent to concentration camps, tortured or shot.
Food, clothing, gasoline, electricity � everything - was rationed; if you had money you could buy things on the black market. There were Blackouts during the night. You had to be very careful if you were going out.
There were British and American air raids � railroads, factories, German and Fascist headquarters were the targets. They had shelters with cots, water, foods and first aid. All of this was very scary to her with tensions and fears - fears of speaking, you never knew who was listening; no way that you could voice your opinion one way or the other. During the war her father rented a small house in the countryside near farmers he knew for future protection and provisions. They would spend time there far away from soldiers and air raids. They buried their valuables and money in the back yard of their home.
In June, 1944 � the Fascists and Germans were confiscating cars, bicycles, motorcycles, tools. Everything was confiscated � provisions were taken from their house. On one occasion her father was bringing back provisions from the countryside using a borrowed bicycle. He was taking bread etc to his family and brother when he was executed in the street nearby their home by a fascist soldier who wanted the bicycle and provisions.
There was pandemonium in her household. No one was allowed to express their opinion on what happened. Fascists were there while they were mourning her dad. Her dad was gone and the whole world with him. It was very difficult for her to restrain her mother from cussing the Fascists. She was beside herself and they were afraid of terrible consequences.
Ten days after her father�s funeral, four SS officers came up to her house, pounding on the door. They had to let them in. Two stayed outside and two came inside checking every wall, every piece of furniture, picking up whatever they wanted. They were terrified. She was afraid of how her mother and her little brother would react, but they kept quiet.
Now a new chapter in her life began she became the glue, the rock of the family, at 20 years old, taking care of her mother and younger brother. On one occasion she was walking back several miles from the countryside with provisions with her girlfriend and 2 German soldiers came after them thinking the worst they dropped everything and ran as fast as they could to a farmer�s house to safety.
As the British and Americans pushed into Florence, the Fascist and Germans began bombing the City as they retreated. A bomb hit their back yard and all their buried valuables went up in smoke and parts of the house and utility room were destroyed. The allies were now occupying the town. The British used their house as temporary headquarters. Anna, knowing English, got a job with the American army as a file clerk for grave registration of deceased soldiers. After the war she worked in the USO club.
In late 1946 thru 1947 my grandfather, Robert Thomson, now a professional army soldier was reassigned from the Philippines to America and then Florence, Italy where Anna and Bob met. They dated and then married in Florence in 1947. Another new chapter.
My grandfather was then reassigned back to the US and Anna came by troop ship to the US later in that year, pregnant with my Dad. Can you imagine being 24, leaving your family and home, everything, to go to a new country, new customs. As she said, closing one chapter, opening another.
She arrived eventually at Gouverneur, NY, one of the coldest regions in the US, to live with my Grandfather�s family and gave birth to my dad, Terry, in January, 1948. Going to church on the day of Epiphany she slipped on the ice.
In 1949 she moved to Alexandria, VA, my grandfather was stationed at Ft. Belvoir. Her mother, Antonia, came over from Italy to live with them. And my uncle Roger was born in May.
In 1950 her brother Leo came from Italy to live with her. And, on June 14th, my aunt Annamaria was born. This was also the day she was to attend a ceremony to become a naturalized citizen. Needless to say she had to attend a later ceremony that year.
She wanted to be an American, as a soldier�s wife; she did not have to go through that process but she did. Another of her famous sayings was when in Rome do as the Romans do.
That same year she went to work for Riggs National Bank in Georgetown. She worked there for 35 years. Her languages helped with many diversified nationalities. She had many friends at the bank and met many famous people. At Christmas you couldn�t imagine the gifts she received from her customers.
They were like many Italian American families. As you can imagine sometimes like Raymond Barone�s family on TV. She could be just like Raymond�s mother Marie, domineering, interfering and conniving but always with Love and concern. One time she moved the furniture around in my mom and dad�s apt. another time showing my mom and my aunt Pam the right way to use the washing machine - you get the picture. She did whatever to make her children�s lives better.
Boy she could cook! Home made Italian food, always saying manga manga!
One time my bother Tracey went to help my grandfather with the yard work and my grandmother made about 30 tiny sandwiches for them to eat � manga, manga! I think she did the same thing with my cousin Danny.
Her children were brought up speaking both Italian and English. They were sent to Catholic schools. They were taught to respect everyone, no matter what race, color, creed, nationality. Anna was very religious and made sure they followed. She was their rock and glue, the leader. She had to be since my grandfather was overseas on different assignments. Taking care of them and her mother, who lived with her till she passed, just as aunt Annamaria did with my grandmother till she passed. She was a strong woman sometimes tough but loving.
One time when my grandfather, who usually cut the boys hair, was gone to Korea, she decided to cut the boys� hair - Roger was first. She used a bowl and cutters. What a disaster! My dad didn�t get his cut and my uncle Roger wore a hat to school for a week.
Anna was a fun loving bubbly type person could schmooze anybody . She could make friends with almost anyone.
She loved flowers and plants; she had a green thumb and could make anything grow. Her home in Garrett Park was like a botanical garden.
Everywhere she went she would make my grandfather pick up boulders to bring home for her garden. They had rocks from all over the east coast.
One time on a Saturday morning she went to the Navy exchange to shop and took my grandfather along and parked her car in the same spot as always. My grandfather said �You can�t park here it�s the flag officer�s spot.� She said �I always park here, the flag is up.� He said �No, the flag officer is the post commander.� All those years they probably thought she was the commander�s wife.
When my grandfather died, she again closed one chapter to a new chapter.
When she sold her house and moved to Asbury, another new chapter.
She made many, many friends at Asbury and was the leader of their functions. The last 3 years were painful years physically, but she was more worried about family, always asking about everyone. She loved all of us. She would take the great grandkids for rides on her motorized chair.
When my dad Terry was laid off from work several years ago, she said �Be strong. Don�t worry, you are just closing one chapter and opening a new chapter.�
She could make everyone feel good with her bubbly personality. Family, friends and Asbury staff came to see her in her last days .
When we would leave her after a visit she had a favorite saying �Chow, love you, pio pio.�
In her last minutes with the family holding her hands, they told her �I love you mom, Now it�s time to go, to your new life, to close one chapter and begin a new chapter with God.� Chow Bella Donna, Pio, Pio and she did.
Now we say--- Madre mia bella donna vai in pache con Christo, Pio Pio.
We all now say Pio Pio.
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