Remembering a year ago…

5 Dec

Last year, I sadly published this post and can hardly believe a year has passed. There is so much I keep learning about my grandfather Alex’s life, so much more I want to discuss with my Aunt Marion, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I’ll try to remember how lucky we were to have her till almost 90. In memory of Aunt Marion, one year later…

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?


© 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, 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.





© Dedication Page

© 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.



Sleep well, Aunt Marion. Love you.







15 Responses to “Remembering a year ago…”

  1. P Bolton December 5, 2017 at 4:29 PM #


    That was so touching. Thank you for sharing. I, too, had a special aunt who passed a few years ago; and I miss her very much.

    I’ve been meaning to ask how you found your way to Cortona and buying a home there.


    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 6, 2017 at 12:24 PM #

      Thanks, Patricia. She was the last of their generation for us. As for your questions, we continue to rent and rest of the story is better told in the piazza.


  2. jeanfromcalifornia December 5, 2017 at 4:39 PM #

    Judy you should see the animated film COCO
    It celebrates family more than any film I have ever seen.
    You would love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 6, 2017 at 12:25 PM #

      I have seen the commercials and yes, we will go see it. Thanks!


  3. Charles David Dreher December 5, 2017 at 6:39 PM #

    Aloha Judy,

    With tears in my eyes, always remember Judy, you gave her more than “the book” you helped share those long lost memories across the decades. You gave her you, your love & thoughtfulness throughout all those intervening year. God Bless you and Aunt Marion. All the Best, Charles

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Royce Larsen December 5, 2017 at 7:27 PM #

    The blog was beautifully done!
    I felt privileged to have read it
    And to have known your
    Wonderful Aunt.
    Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 6, 2017 at 12:27 PM #

      I’m sure you could relate well as indeed you did know her. Thanks Royce.


  5. Florence Larsen December 5, 2017 at 9:02 PM #

    Beautiful Xoxo

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  6. tanssityttö December 6, 2017 at 6:29 PM #

    Great post! Thank you for your story!


  7. tanssityttö December 7, 2017 at 10:17 AM #

    Thanks! 😀


  8. Alexis Colianni December 10, 2017 at 9:47 AM #

    Love the group photo!

    Liked by 1 person

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