This handwritten letter is the first that we have from Michele Zullo to Abbot Follo. This document probably was a draft of the final letter which accounts for the fact that John Zullo, Michele’s grandson, had it in his possession. Most of the letters that Michele must have sent to Abbot Follo are no available to us and may no longer exist unless they be found among Abbot Follo’s possessions. However, we do have some fragments that I will publish later.
Chronologically this letter predates the previous two published letters written by Abbot Follo. I should have published this letter before the previous two. However, the important thing is that we have it and can make it available to those who may be interested. If we follow the sequence already established, this then is the seventh of the ten letters in the series.
The firs page of the letter is written fairly clearly. The second page, however, was written in pencil on the back of the first and is very difficult to read even first hand. Therefore, in addition to presenting jpeg images of the two pages of the letter, I have also typed it out for the sake of clarity.
LETTERA ORIGINALE SCRTTA A MANO IN ITALIANO
LETTERA SCRITTA A MACCHINA
Hollis 11/1 – 1950
Carissimo Padre Follo
L’anno Santo rappresenterá per L’Italia un magnifico simbolo spirituale e una occasione per rafforzare i legami di amicizia tra L’Italia e le nazione. Tutti coloro che verrano assolveranno un dovere religioso, in quanto a me è pressuntuso di potervi dire qualche cosa. Solo posso dirvi che come padre mi rimane di compiere altri doveri verso I miei figli, almeno di comprarci un tetto, qui e un guaio per l’abbitazione peggio angora per coloro che l’anno figli, voi compredete bene ciò che voglio alludere.
Per la targa nessuna novità mio cognato Giovannino si trova angora ammalato, di crazia vi chiedo di nuovo, di scriverci una lettera tutte le volte che vado a trovarlo mi domanta di voi, se la Microtegnica a messo a posto l’altro diffusore, ci rispose che a tempo debito voi l’avreste informato di tutto, e che voi eravate ignor della sua malatia, ma che vi scrivevo metendovi accorente.
Mandatami la misura del vostro piede se è possibile inci, e non centimetri e come le volute alte, o scarpini cioè basse così le portono qui i Preti. Se vi serva altre cose scrivetemi così lascio un pacco solo per posta,
in quanto all nomina di commendatore non o fatto parole con nessuno, lo dirò quanto crederò che il tempo opportuno, quando i Padulesi di costì cessono di scrivere petegollezze a i l’oro congiunti. La l’oro malatia e la stessa di quanto vi scrissi i una mia (previe?) lettere, cioè gelosia egoista,
Il Convento mi a scritto dite a Padre Guardiano che mi dia un pochetino di tempo, rispondere alla sua lettera cercherò il meglio che posso di potere accomodare, ma primo si deve finire la targa.
Hollis 11 January 1950
Dearest Father Follo,
The Holy Year  will represent a magnificent spiritual symbol for Italy and an occasion to reinforce the ties of friendship between Italy and the other nations. All those who come will absolve their religious duties, yet regarding myself, it would be presumptuous for me to say anything to you. I can only tell you that as a father it remains to me to fulfill other duties toward my children, at least to put a roof over their heads [lit. to buy us a roof]. Here there is a real problem with housing, and it is especially bad for those who have children. You know well what I want to say.
There is nothing new concerning the Plaque. My brother-in-law, Giovannino, is ill once again, and I ask you in your mercy once again to write us a letter as every time I visit him he asks me about you and whether Microtecnica has installed the other diffusor, and I respond that in due time you will inform him of everything and that you have been unaware of his illness, but that I have written to you to bring you up to date.
Please send me the measurements of your feet, if possible in inches, and not in centimeters, and also how high you would like your socks, that is, whether you want them low like the priests wear them here. If there is anything else that you would like, please write to me so that I can put them all in one package for the post.
Regarding my nomination as Commendatore, I have not said a word to anyone else, and I will only mention it when I believe the time is opportune, when the Padulesi here cease writing gossip to their relatives. Their illness is the same as that which I wrote to you about in one of my previous letters, that is, egotistic jealousy, and The Convent has written to me . Tell the Father Guardian to give me a little time, that I will respond to his letter, and that I will seek to do the best that I can to be able to accommodate him, but that first I must finish the Plaque.
NOTES AND COMMENTS
This letter from Michele Zullo to G.B. Follo, Abbot of Paduli appears to be a draft in that there is evidence of rewriting. It also is unsigned. It is written mostly in ink on the front and then in pencil at the bottom of the first side of the page, starting with the word “commendatore”, and on the first third of the second side. There is no envelope with the letter. The penciled portion is extremely difficult to decipher, as it is faded. Therefore, I have written out the text of the whole letter in Italian so that those who come later may know what I was able to see or, in some cases, to guess at. I have copied the text as written without inserting any spelling, grammatical, or punctuational corrections. – Alex De Angelis, February 16, 2001.
I noted the fact that Michel addresses the salutation to “Padre” Follo rather than to “Abate” Follo. I do not know what significance this may have if any.
Michele refers to the “same sickness” among the Padulesi associated with the transfer of the gifts, jealous egotism (gelosia egoista). From things that Abbot Follo says in his letters, I think that he may have had a part in fanning the flames of jealous in that he attributes all good to Michele, who certainly deserved praise, and says nothing about the generosity of anyone else.
Michele also mentions his contacts with the Father Guardian of the Monastery (Convento)hat sits atop the highest hill in Paduli. If I find out what this was about, I will let you know.