I distinctly remember the day this picture was taken. I am guessing that I was about nine in the picture, possibly seven or eight but nine seems to stick out in my mind. If I were nine, Nanny would have been 56. If I was seven, Nanny would have been only three years older than I am now. And this is really the color of my hair if I didn't use the magic of modern hair coloring. :)
Nanny was an amazing grandmother. She had eight grandchildren but I think that everyone of us could tell you what a wonderful grandmother she was. I think everyone of us could tell you that she made us all feel extremely loved, like we were the one she loved the most. That's just how she was.
On this particular day, I remember I had had a sleepover at her house the night before. Sleepovers were great because when I woke up the next morning, I remember going into Nanny's bedroom which overlooked the Hudson River and just sitting on her bed for a long time talking and laughing. Nanny must have liked to sleep in in the mornings or something because she took a long time to get going in the mornings. She always smiled at me and laughed with me. She had a big thing of jewelry on her dresser which I loved to play with.
I remember how she and Poppy laughed with me that morning as we ate our breakfast. Poppy loved his cornflakes. Sometimes Nanny would take me with her when she got her hair done. She used a silver rinse in her hair as I remember. The gal that did her hair was a relative and they loved to have me come with Nanny. On this particular day, Nanny didn't have her hair done. This was the day we had an adventure and took the bus uptown together. I remember how much fun it was. We went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant and stopped in an Italian deli shop where huge things of meat and cheese hung from the ceiling on big strings. I remember how much fun we had all day.
More than anything, I remember how much Nanny cherished me. I always felt her love for me. Whether it was when I stood by her when she rolled out her homemade spaghetti in her spaghetti machine or when she would just have me sit by her as she watched her "story" on TV. Just sitting on Nanny's couch near her was a delight.
When I went away to nursing school years later, Nanny would send me care packages. There was always one or two boxes of pound cake mix in there. She knew how much I loved pound cake. She even sent me pound cake mixes when I was in Taiwan on my mission.
After I married and moved away, Nanny and I talked by phone many, many, many times. She taught me how to make her sauce and meatballs over the phone. She went over it with me step by step until I got it. I would call her and she would tweak it with me over the phone until I had it just right.
Years after that, I visited Nanny as an adult. We went to lunch as usual and we went to my cousins restaurant in Kingston. She had an Italian restaurant. I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs. At this time, I was living in Utah. I took one bite and said, "Nan, these are MY meatballs and sauce!" She said, "Well, how far off could it be?" My cousin's grandma had given her the recipe which was an old Italian recipe. My cousin had gotten the recipe from her Italian grandma who was Nanny's sister. Of course, they had gotten from their mother, our great grandmother. I remember feeling so happy that a tradition was being carried on. Nanny told me that my cousin advertised her restaurant on the radio. The ad was always about "Nanny's Meatballs." Apparently they were quite famous. My cousin called her grandmother Nanny as well. But they were my meatballs. :)
I always think of Nanny on March 1st because that is her birthday. She represents love to me in so many ways.
Yesterday I had Nathan with me again. I sat on the floor with him and smiled and played and laughed and hugged and cherished him. He smiles so big at me and I smile so big right back at him. I learned how to be a grandmother from the way I was loved by Nanny.
I love this picture. I love remembering what it was like to feel so loved as a child by my grandmother.
Happy Birthday Nan. You are gone, but not forgotten. Love like that never dies. The memories only get sweeter as the years go on.
Rose Sottile Perry
Nursing school graduation day.
my great grandmother,
Carmella Costanza Sottile.
On a side note, I met Jim 30 years ago today.
Happy day. :)