It’s no secret that I come from a long line of Crazy. Here I am with my mom and my Nonnie, three generations of nuts.
My mom and I had amazing times shopping in San Francisco, rain or shine. It was a day-long fashion show, and even when I was an adult she bought me dresses. My favorite shopping trip was definitely before my wedding when she said she wanted to buy me some “negligees,” which is a 70s word for lingerie. As we shopped I saw how truly happy she was for me. She adores Mark, which is good because he’s the only one who can handle her and tell her to shut up and get away with it. Our favorite movie to watch together was Pure Country with George Strait. When my dad was at work and she and I were home alone we watched it in our pajamas. We sang all the songs and always cried at the end. That small thing bonded us somehow.
My grandmother, Nonnie, was full-blooded Italian and had a temper that was only matched by my grandfather, Nono. They spent a lot of time screaming at each other in Italian, and I’m bummed out I didn’t pay more attention because I could’ve used those Italian cuss words at a few of the weddings we’ve shot… We had some truly great times. Some of my favorites are dancing to Janet Jackson in her kitchen, eating ice cream sandwiches on the front porch in the summer, and ordering pizzas. I was spoiled rotten because I was the only grandchild, so I had dolls and puzzles and coloring books and Barbie bath tubs and anything else you can imagine. I blame my weight problem on all the candy she gave me. WOW could that woman cook… I carry on the family traditions by making her Italian dishes from “the old country.”
When Mark and I first started dating, Nonnie got to meet him from her bed. She was stuck there with crippling arthritis, but still high in spirits and spunky as ever, constantly fighting with my mom. Towards the end of her life she had a stroke and was in a nursing home. She lost her ability to speak and could only say the word “No” in various tones of voice. I went to see her after getting engaged to show her my ring and pictures of the dress I wanted to have made. She was so excited, swinging her hands and gleefully saying, “No! No no no!!!” She was SO excited for me. She died two months before my wedding, but at least she got to meet the man who has made me so happy for eleven years. I miss her terribly and cherish the good times we had. In a lot of ways I’m like her – a spunky, opinionated, music-lover – and I’m grateful for that. She kept every drawing I ever made her and every card I ever sent her. They are safe in a box in my office, and sometimes I look at them and smile.