|Liberata e Donato Berarducci, mei nonni italiani|
I have nothing of my grandmother's possessions to hold. I wish I had something—a frying pan, a scarf, a handkerchief, a scrap of fabric from her cotton dress. I was too young when she passed to know that 40 years later, I would crave a physical piece of her. When my mom passed almost nine years ago, I hoarded bits of her life. Sometimes, I take out the notebooks in which she wrote recipes, stare at the writing, and run my hand along the pages in hopes that a bit of her DNA is still there.
Of Grams, though, I have only the memories of what she told me, and those are, in the end, even more important.
Many of my adult friends assume that all four of my grandparents were Italian. My answer that my father's side was definitely not Italian always leads to further comments and/or questions.
"What else are you then?"
"Why don't you write about your father and his parents?"
"You'll probably start researching them at some point."
I have my reasons.
I won't be doing any research into them.
I won't get into specifics here as I'm addressing it in the book, but suffice to say that my paternal grandparents—especially my grandmother—were not nice people. They hated my mother because she was Italian, and since we were *her* children, they hated my brother and me. I imagine that my cousins on that side would describe them differently, and that is their reality. My brother and I experienced a different life with them.
Truthfully, neither my father nor his parents really ever shared much with us. I can write in one sentence what my father told me about their background. I did google my maiden name once, found something on a few sites, and discovered that what I thought I knew was not quite right. (In all honesty, what I uncovered about my beloved Grams was different from what she, my mom, and my aunts/uncles always told us. More on that eventually.)
Going back to Grams and Mom and the others. . . I hope I can honor them with my words. That, I think, is essential.
By the way, I'm three days out. It's time to start pre-packing. ;-)