OUR STORY BEGINS many years ago in the small town of Lodi, California where a girl named Lynne fell in love with music. Lynne was a focused, driven individual and she devoted many hours to her two main hobbies- piano and swimming. She went on the excel in both, becoming an All-American swimmer and earning her Master’s degree in Music with a concentration in Piano Performance.
In college, while Lynne was practicing piano for hours a day for her recitals, she met and fell in love with a passionate Construction Engineering Management major named Mike. The story is that a mutual friend connected them, and they ended up meeting in the cafeteria to talk one on one for the first time. They ended up talking for so long that they lost track of time. Only when people started coming into the cafeteria for the next meal did they realize they had been talking for several hours.
They were friends for four years. Over those four years, they remained friends but didn’t date as Lynne always had a boyfriend. However, once she was single, Mike started dating her, and that was where they really got to know each. While they had both been raised Catholic, that was as far as their similarities went. Mike’s family was a loud, Italian crew while Lynne’s quieter Norwegian-Irish family interacted completely differently. Still, they fell in love, and they ended up moving to a small town in the hills of Northern California.
Neither of them had planned on having a big family, but they were open to whatever God gave them. About every 18 months, they had a baby; and so, 11 kids were born. Oldest to youngest, they were named Michael (Mike Jr.), Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Alexander (Alex), Lauren, Danielle (Dani), Christian, Nicholas (Nick) and Joseph (Joey).
The oldest kid, Michael, was born in 1989. Energetic, outgoing, and a risk-taker, he had an “engineering brain” from a young age. He was known for working on endless projects- taking computers apart and putting them back together, working on cars, and building half-pipes and jumps for skateboarding escapades with friends. He begged his mom to get him a guitar, and once he received it at age 12, he played rock and metal for hours a day. He was friendly and social, but also fiery and fearless.
Next in line was the second child, Christina. Christina was driven, perfectionistic, and a born leader. When she was 7 years old, she asked her mom to order her a planner she had found in a catalogue. She waited every day for it to be delivered. Then when she received it, she scheduled out her days, including blocks for “free time.” With her focus, determination and talent, she excelled at anything she tried, achieving level 6 in gymnastics, breaking records on swim team, learning the piano at age 2, and earning lead roles in musicals. She became a leader for her siblings, setting the bar high in her accomplishments and moral standards.
Katherine was the third child. She was very different than her 2 older siblings. While they were both more intense personality-wise and welcomed confrontation, she was much more peaceful and avoided conflict. She was social, made friends easily and loved being with her friends more than anything. She was also sensitive and artistic, spending hours getting lost in books and poetry, as well as writing her own poems and stories. She was very passionate about musical theatre and she was in 16 musicals. Towards the end of her time in musical theatre, she was given a few comedic acting roles and realized how much she loved comedy.
The fourth child was named Lisa. Lisa was similar to Christina in that she was perfectionistic and driven, but in a very different way. Lisa was very deep, self-reflective and analytical from a young age. She loved to sing and perform for her family members, often original songs she made up as a young girl. She was athletic as well, excelling in triathlons and figure skating. She was very quiet until she started to slowly started to come out of her shell around the age of 12, and out of the oldest 4 kids, she was by far the most introverted.
Amy was next. The fifth child in the family, Amy was the smallest of all the kids. It got to the point where she didn’t seem to be growing at all for a long time. At age 9, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Turner’s Syndrome, which, among other things, affects growth. Other than being the smallest member of the family, Amy was also the most social, outgoing and people-oriented. She always had a big smile on her face. Any time a guest came over, Amy would take them by the hand and give them a tour of the house. She also was born with the loudest, most powerful singing voice in the family. Any time Amy sang, people were blown away to hear this huge, powerful voice coming out of a tiny girl.
To be continued…
STAY TUNED… Next week, we’ll learn about the other 6 children of the Cimorelli family!