Tag Archives: communication

LOST TIES

Armando Balifrank Onorati early 1950s and his oldest son Gary Steven Onorati, USMC, 1990.

Armando Balifrank Onorati, USA in the  early 1950s and his oldest son Gary Steven Onorati, USMC, 1990.

Facebook is an amazing and innovative tool… it helps you stay connected with family and friends near and far. You can share pictures with family members and watch each others children grow up without having to actually be close. You can keep track of loved ones stationed overseas or in war zones, keep up-to-date with what friends are up to, follow pages of interests, businesses you enjoy patronizing or causes you believe in. You have the ability to reach masses with one post, to stir emotions in strangers and to bring awareness and support to what’s important to you or even reconnect with lost family members. But even with all of its benefits in expanding communication and contact with people globally, Facebook, I believe has destroyed the art of communication between families.

How many of you use Facebook on a daily basis? How many of you stay signed into Facebook on a 24-hour basis? How many of you get text messages, tweets or some other forms of alert when there is a new post on your page, a response to a thread or conversation you are following or when someone instant messages you? How many are willing to be honest about how much time they spend on Facebook on a daily basis? Is it more than an hour? Several hours? The entire day?

I am guilty of all of the above.

Why do we do it? Because it’s easy and less personal. It takes less time to send a text message than it does to have an actual conversation. It’s less confrontational to send a blast to someone we’re upset with than to face them face-to-face. It’s easier to be brave behind the anonymity of a computer screen than to face someone in person. It’s easier to share information than it is to share feelings.

Facebook told me my oldest son got married. Or rather, my Auntie did, after she read about it on Facebook and she was living in Florida. My son and his now wife were living with me in my home in Tennessee. But Facebook also allowed me to keep in touch with my brother almost on a daily basis while he was stationed in Iraq for two years. Facebook also informed me when he returned home, got married to a new wife and no longer needed my support.

Tonight, Facebook informed me of the passing of my father-in-law,  Armando Balifrank Onorati, a man I had met only in passing in 2001. Facebook told me that my father-in-law died just a few hours ago at age 81, and even though I had never talked to him, I feel a loss. I feel sad that I never had the opportunity to get to know the man who was responsible for the birth of the man I have been in love with for more than 27 years. I feel pain that my sons’ grandfather never got to meet them, to talk to them or to see the wonderful job that his son did with raising his grandsons. I feel sad that this man, the reason my children exist at all, never knew he had a great-grandson who lives to carry on his name. I feel pain that my husband and my sons will not know first hand of the legacy and the history of the Onorati name. I feel sad and I cry tonight with the knowledge that an opportunity has been forever lost, a treasure has been stolen and for all its benefits, after being estranged for more than 45 years, even Facebook couldn’t bring a family back together.

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The Secret of Their Success

The Royal Gazette
25 Jul 2009
By Jessie Moniz

Communication and laughter are the secrets to a happy marriage.

This came from Bermudians Sophie and Michael Panchaud who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this week.

The Panchauds have lived in Ontario, Canada for many years, but celebrated this special milestone with a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit to Bermuda with 34 of their family members.

“We have been planning this for three years,” Mrs. Panchaud said. “I told my family this is what I wanted to do for my 50th, I wanted to go back to the church where I was married. Doing the cruise was the best solution, because of the size of the family.”

The Panchauds were childhood sweethearts.

“We met in Dellwood School when I first came to Bermuda,” said Mrs. Panchaud. Mrs. Panchaud’s maiden name was Cordeiro and her family were originally from the Azores. “But I didn’t notice him until I was 12. We were in the same class. He use to pull my blouse, or flick me on the back. I pretended not to like it.”

The two parted ways when she went on to Mount St. Agnes Academy.

“I had a job after school, on Saturdays,” she said. “I would be sent to the Bank of Butterfield on errands. He was working as a teller there. ”

Sparks flew again.

“We used to sneak out and meet each other in the Bermuda library. I wasn’t allowed to date.”

Her father wouldn’t give his approval for them to date until after she finished high school. They were married two years after her graduation.

“We have been very happy,” she said. “He just has to remember I am the boss! What has made us successful is the fact that we keep communicating with each other. “Anything that is going on we discuss it. We don’t leave it up to chance that he knows what I am thinking. Communication is extremely important.”

And she said their lives were full of laughter.

“With six children you need a big sense of humour,” she said.

They have six sons Mark, Daniel, Kevin, James, Thomas and Phillip.

“After the sixth one we stopped holding hands,” said Mrs. Panchaud, with a laugh.

The Panchauds have their own business dealing in battery backup electronic support systems in Kitchener, Ontario.

“I am 69, and my husband is 70 years old,” she said. “We were 19 when we were married. My husband had to get his mother’s permission for us to marry because 21 was the age of majority at the time.”

The couple have have fourteen grandchildren.

While in Bermuda, their marriage was blessed at St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Cathedral where they were married. The blessing was particularly special because their son, James is a permanent deacon at the church.

“Being an ordained deacon, he was able to give us the blessing,” she said. “It was very nice. “I still can’t believe that I didn’t cry the whole way through. I am a bawly baby with everything. Somehow it didn’t happen.”

And she said she didn’t cry at her wedding either.

“I was so happy to get married and be out of my parents’ control,” she said. “I was lucky to get a wonderful husband. He is a kind, considerate man and I couldn’t have better.”

Her advice to other young women was make sure you love him for him.

“Don’t try to change him later,” she said. “Make sure the person you are dating is the person you love, not someone you are imagining. After 50 years and they lose all their hair and they have a big belly, you are sure glad you didn’t marry them for their looks.”

She said coming from different cultural backgrounds was never a hindrance to their marriage.

“He is Bermudian, he was born here,” she said. “His family and ours were very different in their ways of doing things, but I was loud enough to take over. Ha.”

And she said the challenges of marriage change as you go through different life stages.

“When you first start it is all about how you are going to be able to buy the house and support your children,” she said. “You are so busy with that for many years. Then suddenly the children are all gone and you have to watch your health. We have been very blessed with a healthy family.”


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