An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Do you know a funny story about Nonna? Do tell, it's her birthday!

1. Apparently, Nonna never sins. Ever. (As opposed to Nonno, who was once overheard saying the "d word" when he dropped something.) Nonna's sainthood is the common opinion of the grandchildren, but I am going to insert a little reality here. Note #'s 2, 3, and 4 below.

2. Once upon a time when Nonna was a young girl, her father (my Nonno) asked her to go to the corner store to buy some cigarette papers. Nonna went, and on the way home she rolled one up and tried to smoke it. But here's the thing ... no tobacco. So she basically smoked a rolled up paper tube. See? Even the mightiest ones fall.

3. Nonna has been known to take off her shirt in public. It's true ... just ask our Italian relatives who were visiting. We were all in the kitchen, and when a giant hairy spider crawled down the front of Nonna's shirt she yelled, she jumped, and ... just like that ... poof! off came her shirt!

4. Nonna has broken a number of international laws. Once upon a time my mom, my sister and I were driving from Germany to Italy (a time when there were border controls). As we were approaching the Austrian border she realized that all our passports/documentation papers were sitting on the kitchen table back at home.

What to do??

Well, Nonna turned into International-Law-Breaker-Woman because there was no way she was turning around. As she approached the border control, she very nicely held her wallet out the window pretending it was our packet of documents ... and the border guards waved us through. The same thing happened when we approached the Italian border. It's hard to imagine Nonna knee-deep in international subterfuge, but there you have it.

5. Nonna was once interviewed by WJBF's Mary Morrison. After the interview she complained to us that Mary Morrison didn't let her finish any of her answers. Later, as we were watching the interview, my husband says, "What are you talking about? You haven't stopped talking! Poor Mary asked ONE question, and you've been answering it ever since!" That tape is always good for a laugh.

6. Speaking of talking, Nonna once tried to have THE TALK -- you know, the one about the birds and the bees -- with one of our sons.

Nonna: So, where are you going?
Son: I'm going to Family Honor at the school.
Nonna: You're such a good student. What award are you getting?
Son: Uh, Nonna, I don't think you understand. Family Honor is not about honors ... it's about sexuality.

If you think Nonna was shocked, you'd be mistaken. Nonna was laughing. Then she started asking a million questions . . . and my son was the one who was speechless.

There are just some things you don't/can't/shouldn't talk to Nonna about. Ever.
7. Which brings me to this: Nonna doesn't embarrass easily. She'll sing in public, dance in public, ask questions, voice her opinion, and doesn't think twice about walking through the airport as Viking Woman.

8. Nonna is technology-challenged. She recently took a class at the Verizon store to learn how to take and text photos on her phone. Mind you, all of us at some point have given her a tutorial, but (truthfully) we breathed a sigh of relief when she turned to the experts. So after her lessons at the Verizon store she and Nonno went on vacation, and when they returned she asked me, "Why didn't you answer any of my texts? I sent photos to you, Laura and David, and only Laura answered them."

At this point, Laura was clearly the favorite child and David and I were in the dog house.

Long story short, she had sent the photos to our home phone number (the land line) which, as you know, just doesn't work. Apparently, the Verizon guys left out that little detail in their class. Then for two days, to make up for lost time, I kept getting vacation photos texted to me. I think she was practicing.

9. Finally, and this really should be #1, we love our Nonna. 


Nonna and Nonno with their nine grandchildren.
Except, now there are ten.


Ua said...

Happy, happy birthday, Mom! We love you and all of your quirkiness! Love, Ua

Ray Visotski said...

That was a great "Happy Birthday" post and as a past chairman of the board of Family Honor (1998-1999), I appreciate the brief plug….RJV

Sherry Blount Harvey said...

Wonderful story! But I still think she's a saint. Okay, maybe a somewhat mischievous one?