I still remember the sound of the squeaky, dark green, rusty iron gate in front of my grandparents' house and the three beautiful balconies which overlooked the green hills of the town in Italy. The floors of the balconies were made of terracotta tile and there was always a cool, fresh breeze at night. The walnut, apple, and fig trees surrounded their house. The oranges were as big as grapefruits and the bittersweet juice always quenched my thirst. I loved poking around my grandparents' house, especially since it was a way for me to connect with my roots, family traditions and heritage. The things that I found in my grandparents' house comforted me, but most importantly, they helped me to gain a deeper understanding of my family.
After dinner I drank a cup of espresso as usual, which gave me a "second wind." I had a burst of energy that night as I heard the people in town saying, "Ecco le neve!", which means "Here is the snow." No one in town was going out that night, so after eating a slice of asiago cheese and a bowl of pasta fagioli, I decided to explore my grandparents' house. The howling wind rattled the shutters, but I felt the warmth as I looked into every room.
I felt something tickle my fingers while I looked in the nightstand. I found blue, red, silver and white rosary beads in the drawer, my Nonna saved all of them. I remember Nonna sitting at the kitchen table while saying the rosary if someone was sick or had " male fortuna", which means bad luck.
The drawer also held Nonna’s prayer book. I noticed its leather cover written in both Latin and Italian. She left a bookmark with a crucifix on “La Praghiera del Signore”, or the Lord's Prayer. My grandmother used to say this prayer in Italy and when she visited the states.
I came upon one dry red rose with a red ribbon. The gold inscription said, “Buon Compleano” and had the date of my grandmother’s birthday. My grandfather was a simple man so I know that the one red rose was from my grandfather to my grandmother.
My grandparents were in love and deeply devoted to each other during bad and good times, yet my grandfather was such a simple man. Every year he used to give my grandmother one red rose on her birthday. She saved the roses and dried them year after year and she always saved the ribbon. My grandmother never demanded anything. The simplicity of that single rose and the way I felt when I discovered it in my grandparents' house touched my heart. I never noticed these things in my grandparents' house until that snowy night.
Love definately is not measured in the amount of gifts or material things. Love and devotion means the simple ways that you show someone you care. As I looked further into each room, I found so many things that helped me to understand my family, especially a photo of my grandparents in a trailer which was on the soccer field in town. They had lived in a trailer for a short period of time after an earthquake had hit the Frosinone region of Italy. No matter what they endured, they stayed together.
This was a small portion from my book, Slices of Life. I know your heart will be warmed by this story and many others. Please go to www.authorhouse.com to purchase your copy of Slices of Life. I know you will connect with these true stories. You may laugh, smile, shed a tear, or take a stroll down memory lane.
What do you remember about your grandparents and their house?