On when I am most myself.

Growing up, I lived next door to my maternal grandparents (we called them Noni and Nono-grandma and grandpa in Italian, as my mom's side is Italian). Every Saturday evening, we walked next door and ate dinner with them. We'd have tri-tip or lasagna, sometimes tostadas, and often, t-bone steak. Most meals were accompanied by vegetables dripping with olive oil- I doubt they could still be "healthy" with that much oil, but they sure taste good. My Noni has an outside fridge where she keeps the soda, and before we'd sit to eat, my Dad would grab an armful of cans for us all. It was a big deal, because we were not allowed to drink soda at home (my mom didn't buy it, for our health's sake).

After we ate, if it was wintertime, we'd spend the rest of the evening watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, playing speed Scrabble and eating candy or pie while drinking decaf. In the summer though- we spent the evening outside. Sometimes, we'd lay on a sheet on the grass staring at the clouds and deciding what they looked like. Sometimes we'd play bocce ball or washers or lawn darts, all accompanied by the crack and zap sounds of the blue light bug zapper hanging from the eaves of the house. A lot of times, we'd take a sunset walk around the pond across the street, and search for creatures. (Frogs, tadpoles, muskrats, turtles, the occasional snake or coyote or "strange" bug)

As a kid, I don't think I appreciated this fun time nearly as much as I should have. But now, as an adult- and having recently enjoyed the rare opportunity to have dinner at Noni and Nono's with my mom's side- I really do appreciate it. I felt like I had "culture". I felt like I had traditions. Both are things I feel I constantly chase and attempt to keep. I was so happy to share an evening that mirrored my childhood Saturday evenings with my own son and with my husband. I felt so at peace, and so myself.


  1. Your sister, the thinking brunetteJuly 14, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    A touching reflection on our childhood and nights at Noni's. You're right, we didn't appreciate it then the way we should have (such as life). Although I don't think dad would appreciate you calling him dog. Unless you had a soda retrieving dog I was oblivious to all those years.

  2. Shauna I to wondered about your soda retrieving dog. I didn't get how a dog could grab a arm full of sodas.

    Your cousin Lacey

  3. This is so sweet. I have to show Noni & Nono this. Love it. Have no idea about the dog comment: this must have been corrected already, by the time I got to read this. How funny...
    Tnx for this entry, on behalf of us all. And I haven't even looked at the pix yet!
    Love you! mommy salame

  4. Natali,
    What a beautiful post. It is so great to think back to childhood memories. I have very fond memories of visiting my grandparents, entering their kitchen, and eating Pecan Sandies from the "snack table." Even to this day when I eat those cookies it takes me back in time. Now as mothers we are charged to create those for our own children!


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