Tuesday, May 12, 2015


When I was a child I loved visiting my grandmother who would spin magic during springtime. Everything she touched came alive. Even chores took on new meaning. Little did I know back then that each loving act Nonnie engaged in was a poetic expression of love for family. 

Life was full during springtime that rolled into summer. I spent curious childhood days watching Nonnie move from chore to chore with ease and enjoyment. Each task was lovingly carried out and I delighted in being the little helper.
Churn the clothes
round and round.
Hang them up
Clip clasp sound.
Tend the garden
roses first
snip snap smells 
readily burst.

I followed my Nonnie with curiosity and respect, as though she was the Pied Piper. Everything we did seemed like fun. When I wasn't engaged in chores, we would take long walks to the library or the drug store to buy the latest fashion comic. Although Nonnie could not read or write in English, she valued education and fostered a love of reading for her granddaughter. Her passion for life spilled over, influenced my quest to learn more, and increased my desire for playful adventures. I explored the nooks in the big white house, romped through the lawn, and ran between each garden bed to smell the fragrant flowers. I imagined myself as a traveler roaming new lands and grew up longing to see the country Nonnie left to come to America in 1920. 

There was so much that life offered with Nonnie. Harvesting vegetables and grapes was another fascinating adventure that awaited me as the little helper. In the back of the large white house that stood next to a beautiful park lush with trees was a vegetable garden. A huge vine of grapes stood tall at the entrance. Next to that was an extensive plot with varieties of vegetables and giant tomatoes to cultivate. Life was full with sights, sounds, and tastes of springtime that rolled into summer.  

Each morning, I would go to the kitchen, the hub of the house, to watch Nonnie prepare the food. The kitchen was such a happy place filled with the robust scents of fresh basil, parsley, vanilla, anise, and lemon icing. During the week, Nonnie kneaded dough into sweet Italian confections, created perfectly-formed handmade noodles, and washed clothes with a wringer that flattened each item with the twist of a handle. I loved to watch her pin clothes with large wooden clothespins and hang them to dry in the sun. I can still visualize the wet items flip flopping in the breeze.  I learned to be a very good assistant who passed the clothespins to my grandmother, learned to shuck peas, make Italian sauce from bushels of fresh tomatoes, prune roses, and enjoy life all due to a woman who may have been tiny in stature but large in heart. 

Years went by and childhood matured into motherhood. Balancing work and home life was time-consuming. Chores did not sing the same tune as in Nonnie's world. Life changed through the decades. Housework was no longer the sole work of the mother. There were other responsibilities to be met. What did remain constant was that spring rolled into summer just the same and life was full with feelings of family and love. 

Mother's Day is a day to recollect the love that fills our lives while remembering those who shaped our existence. Families bond, friends chat, celebrations are plentiful. Each year, I recollect memories of a loving grandmother and a wonderful mother who were shiny examples of motherhood. 

With the voices of angels,
eyes as sweeping as the sky,
and hearts as deep as the ocean,
my two mothers filled the air with love,
exemplifying that moment to moment-
giving is a gift of the heart. 

Storytelling is a gift of the heart that mothers seem to deliver to the children.
My love for storytelling comes from the women who offered it to me during springtime that rolled into summer each year.


Each Tuesday, Two Writing Teachers offer writers from across the nation the opportunity to share their Slice of Life. Please visit the site where you will find interesting texts to read.

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