Maria Vezzetti Matson
Entrepreneur, inventor, reader, writer, author, vlogger, storyteller, teacher, traveler are words I like to use to describe myself. I must also add daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother, and grandmother to the list. I’m a self-proclaimed amateur in all areas. Enjoying family, friends, and having FUN are priorities.
Continue reading to learn about my newest journey as TheZiaMia.
Just a Small Town Girl…
Who Became a Big Town Teacher
Growing up in a small community, South Range, Michigan, had many advantages. Lifelong friendships and a strong bond to the area exist today. My undergraduate degree in Education is from Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin, with a Master of Arts in Reading and Language from Loyola-Marymount University, Los Angeles.
It’s shocking to think back on my thirty-plus years spent with elementary students. Difficult, challenging, rewarding, and creative depict the years teaching in the Los Angeles area (Grades K-8).
The Documentarian Who
Inspired a New Historian
Gelsomina documented her life in written form as well as storytelling. She told her children, grandchildren, and friends about the strength needed to succeed. Failures were frequent, but persistence and hope were traits she instilled in all of us. Her youngest daughter, Norma, my mother, honed into her messages. Norma was the one that believed this was a story worth telling. She ended up becoming the family historian; I’m continuing the tradition.
How Could I Throw Away A Very Old, Tattered French-Language Book…
…Especially when it is filled with wonderful stamps collected by Gelsomina’s daughter, and my own mother, Norma? Pssst…Contact me if you are a philatelist!
A Proud Tradition:
The Daughters of Italy
Gelsomina helped create a much-needed organization for women in 1919. It began as a beneficence society for the wives of Italian miners. The society has changed over the past 100 years, but it is still active today.
I am a third-generation member, as are many other members. Our centennial celebration was in the summer of 2019. I helped to compile, write, and contribute to their photo anniversary book. It is incredible to have Gelsomina’s original Daughters of Italy badge.
In 2009, I met a woman that said writing about the Lucchesi family would be FUN. Writing together, Lou Ellyn Helman and I published Gelsomina’s Story of Caesar Lucchesi (2011).
I’m not sure I had a choice in writing stories about my immigrant grandmother, Gelsomina. Norma, my mother and Gelsomina’s youngest daughter, was the one with a keen interest in recording the family’s Italian American history. We just finished her job in writing the book. Norma’s legacy now lives on in print.
Utilizing the book as inspiration, I visited school districts in Michigan’s Copper Country, sharing information and motivating students to learn about their family’s past. The concept of a middle-grade book based on Gelsomina’s real journey was born. A manuscript with a fast-paced adventure, a strong female voice, and packed with Copper Country history is in the works for middle-grade readers. The story is entertaining and educational. However, I am the one that has learned a lot and continued to grow as a writer.
My roots and summer home are in Michigan’s Copper Country. It’s always FUN to visit, play, and learn about the rich local history. I have many Yooper cousins. I am fortunate to also have cousins in Tuscany and Piemont, Italy. Sunny California is my primary home for three good reasons; January, February, and March.
In between adventuring, I’ve been looking to grow my experience and influence as an author. Be the first to learn about my future works. Let’s connect!
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