Large Italian family has been holding daily Zoom calls every day during pandemic to stay connected

Every night at 7 p.m. for the last 323 days, Tim and Ellen Calcagno of Trenton join the Calcagno family Zoom call - from holidays and babies to engagements and birthdays.

"I have no cousins, no uncles. When he brought me to meet the family first night I was like a deer in headlights," said Ellen. "I don't think I said two words that whole night."

Ellen will be the first to tell you it took some getting used to,  but she wouldn't trade being married into this big Italian family for anything in the world, especially over the last year.

"It was just supposed to be one and never stopped," she said.
"I know my family better now than I did before Covid, it's always a good time," Tim said.

"I think the birthdays are the funniest because every time someone comes on the Zoom call, we sing happy birthday again and we are terrible," Ellen said. "It is what we look forward to at the end of the day because every day is like groundhog day." 

Taryn Asher: "What is the craziest it has ever gotten?"

"Haha oh boy we can't share that," she said.

Asher: "I'm Italian so in my Italian family everybody talks and nobody listens?"

"Yes, exactly."

"Asher: "How do you get a word in edgewise?"

"You talk louder talk louder - the same thing we do in real life," Ellen said.

The Calcagno family is joined by Taryn Asher for one of their typically large and loud Zoom calls.

Lots of love and laughter, but with this pandemic - there have been some dark days. Knowing at the end of the day they would be surrounded virtually by family helped them forget just how challenging and isolating it can be.

"Getting on these calls even for an hour or two made you forget for a second," Tim said. "You laughed and had fun and it made you forget for a moment," one of the family members said.

"For me being a mom of two young kids who was homeschooling for a while and was laid off for a while and had no contact with the outside world - this was my daily dose of joy," Ellen said.

The Calcagnos look forward to the day they can see and hug each other and of course eat together again. But, if anything, this pandemic made them appreciate each other even more. Especially knowing their loved ones are always just one Zoom meeting away.

"Times have changes still get together but something to look forward to like Michael said, our commitment to each other everyone knows everyone has a support system that happens to be our family," said one of the family members.