I just want to express my delight in reading "The Amazing Story of the Tonellis in America" (by Bill Tonelli, April 17). It was one of the most engaging articles I've read in a long time, starting with a great concept and culminating in a magnificent follow-through by Bill Tonelli.
Tonellis arise! Today the nation, tomorrow the world!
I recently celebrated the results of 10 years of study involving the origins of my family name of Lozzi. The search included studying every phone book in every city in the United States and leafing through countless genealogical records in libraries. I contacted 140 families of the same name, sending a questionnaire and then planning a reunion. Last October, 40 Lozzis met in New Jersey for a weekend. They came from California, Nevada, Illinois, Kansas, New York and New Jersey. The group included second and third generations of families who had immigrated almost a century ago. By the end of the weekend we had formed a committee to plan more reunions and research.
The United States cannot succeed without a knowledge and comprehension of history. Every immigrant brings part of the place of their origin with them and it is this gathering of parts that built this land. I believe this next generation will seek to learn about the past, and will gain a new respect for continuity.
It is always a surprise when you see your name in print. I am a Tonelli; in fact, I am related to the couple interviewed in Escondido.
My father and his brothers and sisters are very proud of their heritage. My father was the first born in America, and his one regret was "losing" the language of his parents. They desired that he learn and use English to be successful in school and later in business. But he never forgot his ethnicity. A career Air Force officer, he looked for the name Tonelli wherever he traveled. To this day, there is an "authentic" coat-of-arms hanging in our family room. And he made his sauce from scratch; it wasn't sauce if it hadn't simmered for 24 hours.
My father was proud of his Italian descent but he was also proud to be American. Even with all its perceived faults, this is still the best country in the world.