Monday, August 8, 2011

Mama remembered

August 7th is one year from the date mama died.  It was a bitter sweet day as it also is my youngest daughter's birthday.  So I decided to make this day about life and the wonderful gift I have with my daughter and also the wonderful memories I have of my mom.  I let Jamie decide what we would do for the day, and of all things, she wanted to visit the Holocaust Museum in Richmond.  So after Church and lunch we found our way to the museum, after several phone calls to friends.  I didn't have a clue where it was and there is another story in that so I won't go on.
      I felt dread as we walked closer to the door, but I also thought how fitting that we should be here.  Not just to remember the horror of how cruel people can be to each other but also I remembered mom and the stories she told me of her experiences in the camps.  I saw the faces of the people and I could feel their pain and anguish.  This was a most fitting place to be on the anniversary of her death, for out of such sadness
one knows life goes on.  That was a lesson she taught me.  That through the horrors of war, the loses of life -friends and family, and being torn apart from family we can survive and life does go on.
Jamie (the birthday girl) on our favorite trip to Disney.
      At the end of the tour we met one of the survivors and I thanked him for establishing the museum.  I feel we must remember because many still do not believe and if we forget we are doomed to repeat.   Now the day ended with a wonderful dinner at home and we sat around and played a card game together.  We laughed at Sage my granddaughter and just enjoyed each other.  Isn't that what it is all about!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

All Souls Day

Tuesday, Nov. 2nd was the feast of All Souls Day.  It is a day to remember all those who have died and who we love and miss.  We had a special service at church that night and it was beautiful.  We said the names of those we were remembering and also later in the service they sang the names of those who have died this year and after each name we asked them to pray for us.  That was so powerful to me because I know my parents are in heaven but I never thought to ask them to pray for me.  How blessed we are!! As I prayed for mom when she was here now she can pray for me while she is with our Lord.  I know this is not my usual posting but I wanted everyone to know that in our sorrow there is also joy.  God bless and ciao.  Love Maria. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Copper Pots

I know I am long overdue but what can I say, things must get done and you can't always sit at the computer.  I was cleaning our Florida room the other day, washing the doors, cleaning away the cobwebs and washing the floor, in order to get it ready for bringing in all of mama's tropical plants.   You see my mother had a green thumb and could grow anything.  She had grown every boxwood on our farm from cuttings from the original 2 boxwoods.  People would throughout bushes and mom would bring them home, plant them and by the next year they were beautiful.  So back to the florida room, every year the plants go outside in the spring and back inside in the fall before the first frost.  It is quite an undertaking and I always teased her and called it the jungle when all was done.  One year I even got her a monkey to hang from one of her hibiscus trees.  This year I am doing it alone in the quiet,  thinking of all the wonderful things mom had taught me.  She taught us to work hard so I cleaned the room and the pots and cleared away all the dead from the plants.  I was cleaning her copper buckets which hold plants when I remembered her telling me about carrying water in those buckets.  There was a well in the center of town and mom would carry these buckets on a yoke across her shoulders from town to home.  You can see where the handles have worn the hole in an unusual pattern.  She must have been very strong at a young age.  Then I thank God that we have running water, and realize how blessed we really are.  I also remember her telling me about the copper cake pans that hang in our kitchen. During the war her grandmother and aunt took them out and buried them in the garden so the Germans could not take them for ammunition.  If they saw something that could be used for the soldiers or melted down for bullets they just took it. These would be a few of the things to survive the war.  Who would have thought cleaning some windows and copper pots would fill me with so many emotions and thoughts.  What used to be a chore now became an expression of my love for her and all her hard work.  She always wanted her plants in a particular place and sometimes we would argue about what should go where, boy did I miss that, so I hope she likes where I put everything!. I will post a photo of that cake pan later.  You can see the holes where it is worn away, mama said they were bullet holes but I think it was just worn.  Peace to all, ciao, Maria

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Party

Well it is that wonderful time of year.  When the air gets crisp and cool and everyone loves sitting outside, and you feel like you have a little slice of heaven around you but it wasn't meant to be a cool fall day but a hot as all get out day this weekend.  Hot and dry with dust kicking up with every step, but it ended up being a beautiful day as the bright orange sun set, and a little breeze picked up and cooled everyone off.  See, my brother has been putting on this end of the summer party every year for 17 years. The year it started it was for my sister's Tina,  wedding party.  Mom loved having people over and showing off her gardens and flowers.  There is usually a bunch of kids running around and we give hayrides and have live music, and oh yeah a ton of food.  My heart wasn't in it this year at first and I really didn't want to do it but my brother Art said we needed to do it.  He was right, it was good being with friends and I could feel mom was there.  Her roses looked great and she would have loved giving tours of her flowers.  All in all, I think everyone had a good time even though we all felt there was a little empty place.  Here's to a cool breeze in your face and the sweet smell of  sundried laundry.  Hope you have a great day, Ciao, Maria

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh well, learning is hard

I am sorry but I don't know how I moved the stories around.  So you will have to figure it out.  I am really enjoying this blogging thing.  I hope you all have enjoyed reading, and I am trying to go back and edit my typos and my grammar.  It has been a long time since I have written anything, but I feel this is good for me.  Today I have been listening to my tapes of mama and I when we went to Italy and France.  I had a dear friend give me a small hand held tape recorder and tapes, so when I would remember, I would tape mama and her family.    My favorite tape was in Venice after we had been out all night and she was lying in the bed telling me stories of her youth and her grandmother.  I hope all of you leave memories and stories of your family for your children and grandchildren.  One day they will want to know and you won't be there to tell them.  Have a blessed day and ciao, Maria

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mom's childhood

As I had written earlier, mom's childhood was simple and filled with much love from 2 older women, whom she believed everything they told her.  I remember her talking about having to wash dishes at an early age, she said 5, and they made her a stool to stand on so she could reach the sink.  She also told funny stories like how the old women had underwear with a slit in them, so as they walked back and forth to town they could just go to the side of the road to tinkle.  The dresses were long so no one could see anything.  The reason she told me this was we were up in the attic looking through things and I came across these big white pair of  bloomers with the hole in them.  We laughed afterwards just thinking about it.  She talked about harvesting grapes and making wine in the fall, and we even grew our own grapes here on the farm, but I don't remember making wine, she always made jelly.    As I said my mother was fluent in french and italian so when she went to school she was asked to help tutor the other children in french, thus earning the nickname "Frenchie".  She herself would take German and this would come to play a vital role in her later years.  Nights were spent around the fire and there was a kerosene lamp, which we still have, sewing and saying prayers, telling stories.  My mother said that her grandmother could knit a sweater in one night.  She said those needles clicked so fast you could almost see sparks.  She did all of this without a pattern.  Mom also picked up this skill, I remember her knitting socks while in the hospital after having surgery.  She also was an expert seamstress, sewing all our clothes, including coats, formals, and bridesmaids dresses.  Her mother was a seamstress, sewing clothes for many of the rich and royalty of Europe.  Of course I can barely sew a button on but oh well that's life.!!
      Mom got rheumatic fever at some time in those early years.  She said the house was on quarantine and no one could come in and Nonna Maria and Aunt Ida could not leave.  It left an impression with my mother because she said they never left her bedside.  I guess this is part of the reason mom was always helping people who were sick, trying to make them feel better.  She not only went to their homes but brought them here to the farm.  So it is only fitting that 2 of us are nurses.  I guess she has passed that on.
I wish I knew more about her younger days, and I'm sure as I go through more things I hope to find more.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some more photos

My sassy mom on a fishing trip with my dad.  Not sure where this was taken.
My dad is the one on the right.  I always thought he looked like James Dean.