6 April 1968,
Today the weather is sunny and truly spring-like with our temperatures reaching 60 degrees. We could not ask for more, é vero? It reminds me of the best of Italia at the farm. Anyway, I am spending my afternoon baking and cooking for Holy Week. These should last through the week and I am planning to share dinners with your family. Today, it is ravioli di pesce which we will all have tomorrow evening after Stations. And of course I will try my hand with the fava beans. Rosa taught me to make this, but it is the first time on my own. It is delicious. A purée that is incredibly simple to make, but time consuming to prepare! Nona can help me shell the beans – which she does not know yet – I will sit her outside in this brilliant sun for this tedious task, with a small espresso, of course.
Both your parents are working this week, and your mother is on the night-shift, so this will help tremendously. She spends her waking hours in that dank basement, sewing like crazy for your two sisters – beautiful dresses and matching lined, full-length coats. I just wish she would do something for herself!
I know this is a very solemn week for you, and my heart is with you, as always. We will see you soon, dear one.
You can find these delicious recipes mentioned by my zia, in Valentina’s Italian Family Feast.
March 10, 1968
Mi dispiace! I have not written to you for so, so long. There is just too much happening in this country, with work, and with tua Nonna…except for the few postcards from the City, I have been a poor correspondent.
First of all, everyone is fine. The one I am beginning to have concern about is your little sister…she is not so little –fourteen years old. She is being influenced by the anti-war movement. Actually I agree with her politically, but it is the other ways – hair, clothes, and music! Your mother takes this all in good stride. She sits with her and listens to the new LPs, and will even sing some of those awful lyrics. God bless your mother! I would not have patience. I am glad you all went to Catholic schools. It will stand by you in times like this…I hope!
Seeing the images on TV of Vietnam, the protests here, and the bleak outlook for our country makes me wish more than ever, that I was back in my Italia. If only your Nonna was strong enough to travel, I would snatch her up and put us on a plane tomorrow. It breaks my heart that she will never see her birthplace again. Of course, she would never leave your Nonno. Someone in the family drives her to the cemetery every other day. She brings a small folding chair…the kind that is a cane, but opens up so one can sit. She chatters away in Italian to him, and then clutches her rosary and prays the Hail Marys and Our Fathers. Her small voice fills the air around his grave, and it is almost as if she is praying for all those souls…this solitary, old woman dressed in black, so reverent, so sincere. Breaks my heart.
So, I sit in the car and wait, and read my books or magazines…and think about my own life. But enough maudlin writing for one day! We will see you at Easter to enjoy Mass and then a big Italian dinner. An anticipated joy!