I grew up in a traditional Italian household, with our family living one floor above my grandparents in a three-decker house. I loved the Italian traditions and customs, but because I was so young when my grandparents died, much of those traditions were lost as our family became increasingly Americanized. I gave it little thought until some years later when I first vacationed in Italy. I then realized how much my Italian heritage had lapsed. My newfound pride helped me to realize the importance of that heritage and the necessity to record it.
I started a journal wherein I wrote all I could remember of the early years. I interviewed parents and family. One day I found my grandfather’s diary, written in Italian. It further invigorated my memory. I interspersed those memories with snippets of Italian history and culture. As my four children grew older and were more able to comprehend our heritage, I put those recorded facts together and was able to comfortably discuss my childhood along with the history and customs of Italy.
The journal became my guide. I gave holiday talks to our family. The first was on Christmas Eve at our family’s feast of La Vigilia. I referred to the journal for my story and of how our tradition continued.
The snickering turned to silence and the silence turned to questions. My dissertations are now a part of the family lore.
From those notes, I have written childhood stories. Some have been published.
I regularly contribute to the journal and refer to it often.