Mama's mother was french, Elisabetta Hiessler, from the Lile region and her father was Italian, Giuseppe Driussi, from north Italy, Tricesimo ( I checked the spelling this time). My mother was born in her father's home because it was his wish. My grandfather Giuseppe was wounded in WWI and had a piece of shrapnel near his heart. It was his wish that mama be raised is Italy. My grandparents had business in the north of France so they would travel back and forth but towards the end of my grandfather's life he had to stay in Italy due to his illness. I remember mama telling me that he died when she was 4 or 5 and she then would be brought to live with her paternal grandmother, Maria, and her aunt Ida. They would be the strong influence in my mother's life. I remember going to see her home but most of it had been destroyed during the earth quake in the 70's I believe. My mother was fluent in french and italian and the age of 5 and even spoke the dialect of the area called friulong(not sure of spelling). Unfortunately for us our mother was trying so hard to learn english, none of us could speak her other languages. That is one thing I am sorry about, that I am not more fluent in either language.
My mother's grandmother and aunt were independent and even though they were older they seemed to enjoy teaching my mother how to cook, sew, knit, needle work, also working in the garden and cleaning. Anything that needed to be done to survive and run the household. I remember mom telling me that a woman must be able to do everything. Never to rely on a man, because you never know when you will need to do it yourself. She was way ahead of the conventional thinking of the time. Nonna Maria and Ida also had a strong sense of faith, mama said they never missed daily Mass and mama was active in the choir. So in this wonderful setting of life in the foothills of the Alps my mom grew up. She was loved and cared for but also taught to work hard to get ahead in life. She learned to share what she had with others even though no one had much. One of her girlfriends remembered her on our visit to Italy, now this was 50 years later, and she was talking about how my mother shared her money, it was ten cents so she could get an ice cream cone. This is what they did after church on Sunday, the kids would all walk together home and on the way get ice cream. I am sorry our kids now do not have this wonderful time to walk together and just enjoy being together. I asked mom what games they played, and her favorite was jack rocks. They didn't have jacks but would play the same game using pebbles in the road. Now there some imagination. Well got to get some work done. Till next time, ciao, Maria