Now, this story is amazing. I still can't believe it. But as always, I need to give back story first.
My mother (also born very shortly after WWII ended) was born in the British quarter of Shanghai, China. Her mother is half Japanese (via Nagasaki) and half Portuguese (via Macao). Her father was Northern Italian (was in the navy & stationed in China):
Three years after she was born, communism caused them to flee; they got on the first ship they could out of there. The ship ended up in Venezuela. My grandfather began working at the oil camps in Judibana (which doesn't even have a Wikipedia page), and the family was there for years. After a couple of years at a high school in Ashtabula, Ohio (her aunt and cousins lived there, I am still not sure how they got there), my mom returned to Venezuela. She moved to Caracas and had a few jobs here and there, at places like Singer and Chrysler. She got a job as a secretary at Citibank, and well, that's how she met my father (they had sent him to Caracas for a job). The nature of my father's work took them all over the world. When he was traveling everywhere for shorter-term projects, he wrote to her a lot.
After Venezuela came Colombia and after Colombia came Brussels (it was either Brussels or Hong Kong but my mother refused to have their dog quarantined for that long in China). Then two years after I was born came Puerto Rico
While we were in Puerto Rico, my mom went to interior design school. I have vivid memories of her crouched over her drafting table (this was before the fancy computer programs - she did everything by hand with stencils and rulers and special paper and it was all fascinating to me) at all hours of the night, working tirelessly to make every single assignment and project perfect. She had to study Art History during school, which is where I got my love for it. I have never physically seen anybody work so hard at something, putting so much of themselves into it (not until I went to graduate school).
Oh dear, this is turning into memoirs. I said I wouldn't do that. I'll get to the point.
Over a year ago, I get this e-mail from my mother:
a few days ago my friend Rhaiza sent me this short film (lasts 25 minutes) about the oil camps in Venezuela, where I grew up. Well the other night when I was watching it you called and I stopped (about 10 minutes into it) when we hung up I was too tired to continue so I sent it to Rocky and Rudy (ed note: 2 of her brothers) with a short note. Rocky calls today all excited and asked me "why didn't you tell me about the surprise?" What surprise I asked? well it turns out that in minute 15 of the film the speaker is talking about this house (our old house in Judibana) and my mom is watering the plants, Rudy, Ron, and Rocky are playing (Rocky is about 1) and I. about 10 at the time am sitting in a chair bent over doing something. I almost fainted, how did this come up 50 years later in Boca Raton, Fl. This must be one of the weirdest things that have ever happened to me in my life. You don't have to watch the whole thing, just tune in around minute 15. I've watched it about 23 times.
CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? Google has done the strangest things to people. Someone thought this was interesting enough to post on Google Video, about a town that doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. That is a fun coincidence in itself, but for this video to have found my mother, 50 years later, and for her to see herself and her family in it? My head exploded. Here is the video (go to minute 15 to see my wee mom!):
Insane, insane, insane. I don't know which would have been weirder: this, or the same thing happening in Alsfeld and seeing my father and uncle as little kids.