As I’ve already said, a huge reason that Italy factors into my Div III at all is because of my maternal grandparents.
At some point in early high school, my mother told me (since I was very interested in writing) that I should write a book full of my grandparents’ stories from their youth. My grandfather, especially, had a wealth of hilarious anecdotes that we would beg him to tell us over and over again every night after dinner. The mock-title for this collection of stories was My Grandfather’s Goat: And Other Stories from Abruzzo. My grandfather did grow up with a goat, but no real anecdotes about it other than its existence. Still, I found this piece of information to be highly amusing, and thus the title came about.
Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away nearly four years ago, and his stories died with him. I remember some of them vaguely, but not well enough that I can recount them in a collection of short stories. Still, the recognition of my ancestry is important to me.
I was partially raised by my grandparents; I’ve spoken a lot about my grandfather, but my grandmother has also been a huge part of my life. My parents separated and then eventually divorced when I was very young, and my mother was forced to move, with my sister and myself in tow, back in with her parents and brother. At the time it was what it was, but looking back, I count myself very lucky to be able to have a relationship with my family unlike many other people have with their respective families.
I talk about my grandfather a lot – and that’s his picture up there in my blog’s banner – but when I talk about him, I’m talking about my entire family. Papi (that’s what I call him) has become a sort of symbol of what my family and my background mean to me.
And so, even though Papi’s gone and the stories are fading fast from my own memory (perhaps they will return with age), I do feel as though I can pay homage to those stories in recreating the sort of life that spawned them. That’s the hope, anyway.