Friday, January 23, 2009

Nana


My Nana, my paternal grandmother, was born in 1924. She was one of thirteen Italian children. She is the mother of seven Italian/Irish children.
She was a waitress for fifteen
 years in a family owned, forty-year-old restaurant. "When I worked here, the father, he was Italian, and when he got mad he would come to my sister and I and he would swear in Italian because we could understand him."
Her familiar Boston accent conducts our heart strings into a song we've all played before. A story we've all heard before. Then she pauses, bites her burger, sips her soda. "I would serve this entire counter and those two booths. They were so nice to me. They still send me a gift every Christmas. You know, I worked at Howard Johnson's for years as a waitress and then they made me a host and I didn't like that very much. After I retired, my sister Joanne told me to come work here. 'Come on Connie, they need your help.' And I said, I don't know, but I started working here and they were so nice to me. (She giggles remembering) When the father, the owner, would get angry he would speak Italian to my sister Joanne and I, because we understood him."
Small spoonfuls of a classic hot fudge sundae politely pass between her wrinkled lips. She has 84 years of stories to remember. This is not memory loss. This is memory gain. She tells. She repeats and repeats. We remember and then we repeat.

This is my first repeat.