In the midst of the Great Depression the city of San Francisco transformed a shallow, useless sandbar two miles out in the bay into a man-made island and then built a beautiful glittering fairyland on top of it. But the story of the 1939 World’s Fair actually begins seventy years before the exhibition opened.Continue reading
My mother was born in California, but her roots quickly reach back into the Lucca region of Tuscany in Northern Italy. Her pedigree chart shown below illustrates this pretty clearly.
When I started painting, my mentor suggested using old family photos as reference material. These images would be deeply familiar and meaningful to a new painter, keeping me working when the paint didn’t cooperate. Over the years, I’ve developed a whole body of work illustrating my early life and my family history. I hope you enjoy these images. — Joanne Taeuffer
My mother was born Maria Columbia Buchignani. Her parents were Vittorio Alberto Buchignani and Eva Veronica Giorgi.
Growing up in Healdsburg, California I remember spending a lot of time visiting with my mother’s cousins on her Giorgi side. But there were also numerous families in town and the surrounding area named Buchignani, and we never socialized with any of them. My mother’s explanation was that “We’re not related to them.” By the 1990s there were 39 Buchignani families in Sonoma County. There were 160 in California. But, of course, we were not related to any of them.
Richard Buchignani was 17 years old when he graduated from Healdsburg High School in June of 1942. His first order of business was to begin his attempts to join the military so that he could participate directly in the war effort. He was able to get his mother, Eva Giorgi Buchignani, to sign his under-age application to join the Coast Guard on July 7, 1942. While he waited for that to be processed, he took a job at the shipbuilding facility on Mare Island in the San Francisco Bay Area.