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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

bye for now

*my grandparents front steps... where they both stood to wave goodbye to us.. until we pulled down the street... in any type of weather.
My grandfather made the C... on the screen....

 It is inevitable that you will be around to witness the death of at least one of your grandparents, and while it is sad that they are gone, you should take pride in knowing they probably led a full and wonderful life. 
 This is true in the case of my paternal grandmother- my Nana Helen, knowing my grandmother no matter if you were family, an old co-worker, neighbor or church friend.. you would have said spending time with her was a pleasurable and rewarding experience.
This is me... as a baby with my Nana...ever since I was a little girl she would welcome me with a big smile and a hug and kiss. She opened her home to many and always was a great hostess... getting us a snack or sandwich. (sangwitch)

When I was little  an envelope would arrive in the mailbox addressed specifically to me the child.. My anticipation.. in opening it to hear from my Nana was always hard to contain. I always remember the title... Little Miss. LisaRenee and later she mailed mail to my son.. Master A....
Her is a letter she wrote to me when I lived with my Maternal grandmother..( Fafa-as she was called back then)
 Recalling my Nana this month has been sad.. but her life with my grandfather paints a rich picture... of what family means..
I have spent the last few days... deciding what to write about Nana and gathering pictures...It was sad for me to learn.. I did not have one picture of my grandparents at Christmas.. which is a bit ironic, because I spent almost every Thanksgiving, countless Christmas Eve's and many birthdays with them from the time I was little till I was married.
 I read something someone wrote to my grandfather about my Nana Helen in a sympathy card .. and they wrote ,"she had such a great chuckle"...
People say Laughter is the gift of all gifts ... and she had that gift.
I have always loved old pictures and just this summer my Nana gave me these pictures of her in Texas...

This picture is when they were dating....
Wedding picture of course... one hangs in there home.. from their 50th wedding anniversary.. that we all signed....

This is a picture my relative just shared with me... with my grandmother Helen.. and her sister and Mother...My grandmother Helen's mother had 5 sisters....all are not pictured... but wow... 5 sisters.

My grandparents with my Dad and my uncle.
 When my grandparents had their 55th wedding anniversary 
I made them a cake shaped like the numbers .. ( carrot cake)
When they were married 60 years.. my siblings and I got a cake for them.. with a photo of them on it...
 My Dad was married twice... the first time to my mother.. and my Nana Helen planned the reception at their home... decorated the tables with my Gigi and created a nice spread.
 My grandparents were at all our weddings... they are a huge part of our childhood and adult memories. We have spent most Thanksgivings together, almost every Christmas Eve and Christmas day since I was little.

Nana was part of our children's lives too...

My Nana was a inveterate novel reader and I remember her having a different book with bookmarks in several different rooms.. and when I asked her,"How do you remember all the characters when you read so many at once..?" she simply replied.. "It's easy." She loved a good mystery.

When I think of my Nana I think of her meticulously dressed with clip on earrings and matching necklace, her ring... and her silver hair neatly done and nails painted.

Nana  and Grandpa and her sister... and her sisters daughter Donna and husband Ken.

 I found this picture on my step-mother's facebook... and I love it.. Nana's " rooster themed" kitchen.. with her frog collection in the window... ( she had several things she collected) I recently read on an online guest book for my Nana .. a note from Sandra Owen " Mrs. Ciancio set the bar really high as " Mother and Wife". I can't agree more.

 My grandparents would have been married 70 years today.
My memory holds her dearly and on this day I recall her ways and most of all I love her. A kind of love that always stays, it stays inside my heart and memory and she is often on my mind, because a lady like my Nana is rare and hard to find.
My grandmother's godson wrote a beautiful poem to her... and my cousin David read it at the funeral.
Here it is for you to read:

Ma Helen,

My aunt, my godmother-special and kind,
Living afar-but always on my mind.
The talks we had-whether near or far,
The trips up the Taconic in the car.

 You always had a sincere and ind word,
Things that stick with you- didn't go unheard.
I remember how you laughed with your deep-dimpled smile,
You brought such happiness- your matter-of-fact style.

To the people that I speak,
of the money ways you were unique.
Larger that life,bright, happy- and never weak.
Always positive- even when times were bleak.
Devilish bright-eyed girl- oh the havoc you will wreak!

I hope you know how much you were loved,
As you overlook us from the heavens  far above.
We are not together, nor are we apart,
There will always be a place for you in my heart.
Love you, Ma Helen..... Kevin

In high school my 12th grade teacher sent home a interview sheet... for me to interview my grandparent. I chose Nana.
She was 63 when I interviewed her and was retired. Here is the interview...

who had the most influence on your life?
  The person who was had the most influence on my life, was my mother. She was a beautiful person. She taught me personal hygiene and love and what it means to be a family. Our house was full of friends and relatives and mom with a serene smile and a warm heart. My mom had a helping hand for everyone. I felt she left me quite a heritage.

What are the fondest memories of your childhood?

The Bronx of yesteryear when all was green and while shuttered house and apartments wall in one piece. Our picnics at Glen Island, our all day rental of a taxi, we would travel up the Taconic for a Sunday drive. Our trips to the Bronx Zoo with my parents. The holiday get together at holiday time, with my dear cousins most of whom have passed away.
 The old traditional cookies and breads we used to make- Mom always had us help even me the youngest of the brood.

What type of school did you attend?
I attended a public school. There were many ethnic children.

What recreation was most popular during your childhood?
As children we played Double Dutch jump rope- We played hop scotch. We rollerskated in the playgrounds, Did a lof of swinging in the school yards-- Chinese checkers, spin the bottle and Truth or consequence.

What did your children enjoy most as family activities?

We used to love to go to Anthony Wayne on picnics - Have family BBQ- Vacation trips to California to visit my Mom and Dad ..trips all the way up to the North Pole... Frontier Town.... Playing lotto

In what ways are your grandchildren like you?
I think they have captured my feelings for loved ones and care for life with its beauty. They enjoy our get togethers. THey love good food and music. I'm sorry to say I think they also have my stubborn streak and a a small bit of a temper when pushed.

What values or traditions have been passed down from you to your grandchildren?
I have tried to pass on all the Italian traditions- Our holiday foods- our Christmas ways of spending the Eve as one big happy family- Our Easter Egg hunt calling each other up after to see how we are-

What was the most difficult task you had as a parent?

It was the time my husband was in the service and I had to be both Mom and Dad..for a few years.

What was the most rewarding experience you had as a parent?

Having been lucky enough to be around to see my son's become successful buisness men in the field of their choice.

What is the best legacy (something coming from an ancestor) you think you can leave your grandchildren?

My dad who is now 93 years young- always taught us to be true to ourselves to treat others as you would want them to treat you so you can live with dignity and love.

C'è una di una risata gentile che ho piaciuto sempre, guarda fuori da dell'occhio primo con un luccichio allegro, poi striscia giù... come una farfalla e come le luci sulla faccia intera come un fiore su una rosa.



Joanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanne said...

This made me cry. What a beautiful tribute to your Nana. I know she is looking down and smiling. God bless you!
Blessings, Joanne

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