In Memory of…

4 Dec

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Yesterday was Aunt Marion’s 90th birthday and she was throwing a party. How lucky to approach 90, still active and in full command. She had shopped the day after Thanksgiving and found just what she wanted to wear – a red wool jacket and black pants.

What birthday gift would I give Aunt Marion? The answer came easily. In October, 2013, I began writing a series of posts that traced a European trip my grandfather, Alex, her father, took in 1938. I titled the series Through His Words: Reflections From and About My Grandfather. From Alex’s letters, postcards, etc., that Aunt Marion had saved, I was able to document every step of his incredible journey. 76 years, 10 months and 10 days after Alex returned to his birthplace, so too did Len and I, being the first and only, we think, descendants to step foot in the town of Pietrabbondante, Italy.

With each post, Aunt Marion would call me or I her. How I loved those conversations. Along with several members of my extended family, I learned much about a man I hardly knew, and even Aunt Marion learned a great deal more about her father. Who could have guessed that a blog could bring so much joy?

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com Sharing info with Aunt Marion, my sibs & some cousins.

“I just wish I could print these all out,” she had said to me on more than one occasion.

As her 90th birthday approached , I found blog2print.com, a company that could make a book of my blogs. With guidance from a very helpful customer service, I created the front and back covers, wrote the dedication, and selected the contents. It was the perfect gift.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com Dedication Page

©Blogginginitaly.com Dedication Page

Of particular note is the dedication to Aunt Marion: …my guiding light, collaborator and friend, who guarded “the bag” that made this all possible. The bag, of course, contained my grandfather’s letters and so much more that she had kept all these years.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

On Saturday, instead of celebrating her 90th birthday, we celebrated her wonderful life. Sadly and very unexpectedly, she left us just 5 days short of her 90th birthday.

I will miss her and our talks. But like the other strong Italian women in our family who proceeded her – my grandmothers, my mother and my aunts, I will remember her always and the traditions she passed on.

If only I could have given her the book.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Sleep well, Aunt Marion. Love you.
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

41 Responses to “In Memory of…”

  1. Barbara Kaines December 4, 2016 at 6:33 PM #

    My greatest sympathies to you since Aunt Marion moved on to her next life. I bet she is enjoying many Italian reunions. Co affetto Barbara

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 4, 2016 at 11:28 PM #

      Thanks, Barbara. You are so right about all the Italian reunions.

      Like

  2. Sandy Holswade December 4, 2016 at 6:38 PM #

    Judy – that’s fabulous! She must have been so happy. >

    Like

  3. Jean December 4, 2016 at 6:45 PM #

    Oh Judy, you DID give her the book. You just gave it to her chapter by chapter.

    What a lovely gift to her – you going back to your grandfather’s origins and, by writing about it, taking your Aunt along on your journey of discovery.
    I can only imagine how wonderful it was for her sharing your discoveries.
    Your physical book is only a thing.
    You gave her the experience of learning more about her father and that is something all of us who have lost our immigrant fathers would give anything to be able to have.
    That is priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 4, 2016 at 11:31 PM #

      Jean, chapter by chapter is an excellent way to think of it. And she relished each and every one. How lucky we were that my grandfather was such a prolific letter writer.

      Like

  4. Kathleen Odonoghue December 4, 2016 at 6:57 PM #

    Judy, I have loved each and every one of your posts but this one is exceptional! I hope you reproduce the book and treat every family member to a copy. Perhaps you could publish it for a wider audience to treasure.

    Enough said. Take care, continue on and I hope to see you soon.

    Enjoy the Christmas season.

    Kathy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 4, 2016 at 11:35 PM #

      Kathy, thanks for your note. I did have copies made for my siblings as Christmas gifts and others can order it from the company if they choose to. Hope to see you soon as well. Judy

      Like

  5. Lyniece Salvatore December 4, 2016 at 7:08 PM #

    So sorry, Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hilary Martinez December 4, 2016 at 7:09 PM #

    So sorry Judy. xoxoGustavo and Hilary

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Royce Larsen December 4, 2016 at 7:16 PM #

    That was so very touching

    One could not have arrived at the end with a dry eye

    Look forward to reviewing the text next time in Chicago

    Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 4, 2016 at 11:38 PM #

      Royce, wish I had had a copy when you were here and look forward to you reading it next time. Thanks, Judy

      Like

  8. karenincalabria December 4, 2016 at 7:26 PM #

    Very sorry for your loss, but glad to hear your wonderful family story. You and your aunt gave each other so much love and support, and now you’ll have this wonderful book about your grandfather to remind you of her and your family’s history.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ann Frierson December 4, 2016 at 7:46 PM #

    That was very special, Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ted Walker December 4, 2016 at 8:08 PM #

    A truly beautiful story and remembrance. Hold that book tightly. You have created a family heirloom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 4, 2016 at 11:42 PM #

      Fitting, Ted, as Aunt Marion said I was the family historian when she entrusted me with the bag.

      Like

  11. Sandra December 4, 2016 at 8:20 PM #

    So sorry, Judy! But what a wonderful gift because of her!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yvonne Wilson December 4, 2016 at 8:39 PM #

    Sending love and condolences to you and yours. You gave her the most precious gift, your love and the thrill of walking you through her fathers life! Blessings to you and your family.
    il cielo aperto le porte di quel giorno

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Shelli Isen December 4, 2016 at 8:41 PM #

    So sorry Judy, what a beautiful to your Aunt. She did live through all your conversations and she continues to live in your heart and be a part of all you do and write. May her memory give you strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Florence Ann Sorensen December 4, 2016 at 9:18 PM #

    Dear Judy, I send you my love and most heartfelt sympathy. Your aunt Marion was with you at the Cabrini Shrine when I saw you a year or so ago. She will be in our prayers . I will ask the Missionary Sisters to pray for her as well. Surely she is reuniting with many loved ones. Please write to me. Peace and love, Florence

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 4, 2016 at 11:54 PM #

      Florence Ann, she was with me last year – she was so happy to see the Shrine and I’m so happy you were able to see her. I love the photos we took together in the garden. Thanks and talk soon, xo Judy

      Like

    • blogginginitaly December 4, 2016 at 11:59 PM #

      She loved seeing you and the Shrine last year. I have the photos we took together in the garden. Thanks for the prayers and talk soon. Judy

      Like

      • Florence Sorensen December 6, 2016 at 12:22 PM #

        Great Judy, I would love to see you and Florence Ann. We are very close.

        Like

  15. Emily Ragsdale December 4, 2016 at 10:00 PM #

    I am so sorry to read this story. I feel sure that Aunt Marion is smiling down on you and the rest of the family. God bless….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Deborah Capraro December 4, 2016 at 11:44 PM #

    The book is spectacular Judy. Our family will cherish it forever. We’re grateful that you put this together. Thank you cousin. Sending you hugs and kisses.

    Love,
    Cousin Deb

    Sunday, 04 December 2016, 06:26PM -06:00 from Blogging In Italy comment-reply@wordpress.com:

    blogginginitaly posted: “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Yesterday was Aunt Marion’s 90th birthday and she was throwing a party. How lucky to approach 90, still active and in full command. She had shopped the day after Thanksgiving and found just what she wanted to wear – “

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 5, 2016 at 12:01 AM #

      Thanks, Debbie. It was truly my pleasure. Hope to get together again soon. xo

      Like

  17. Patricia Hughes December 5, 2016 at 1:41 AM #

    I’m sorry Judy. Reading you gave me a lump in my throat. Un abbraccio.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mary Ann Mathews December 5, 2016 at 10:06 AM #

    So sorry for your loss, Judy I will keep you and your family in my prayers

    Liked by 1 person

  19. John Volpe December 7, 2016 at 9:12 AM #

    Hi Judy, I just noticed your post. I’m terribly sorry to hear about your Aunt. She looked like such a lovely lady. My heartfelt condolences to you, Len, Benita and the rest of your family. You’ll all be in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Mark Tortoriello December 19, 2016 at 7:40 PM #

    Giuditta,
    I remember how you would talk with such passion and enthusiasm in class about your grandfather’s letters. It’s so wonderful that you compiled them into a book for future generations. I am sorry that your aunt never got to see the result of all your hard work. She sounds like a very special woman. I am sorry for your loss.

    Marco

    Like

    • blogginginitaly December 20, 2016 at 8:45 AM #

      Ciao Marco,
      Thanks for the nice note. Yes, it was such a fun adventure writing about my grandfather and sharing it with the class. Hope you and Mario are well. Un Abbracco grande, Giuditta

      Like

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