I knew within the first few paragraphs that “ooh, this is going to be good!”
Yolanda Trigiana (Viola) stood at five-five, but seemed much taller as she was short-waisted and long-legged. In her youth she loved to wear wide-brimmed hats adorned feathers and/or berries which only added to the appearance of her being taller than she was. She had a spirit though, a spirit that was larger than herself and carried her well all the days of her life. She lived life to the fullest, was always prepared for any occasion with a sack lunch or a ready meal…. she worked hard and left her mark wherever she went.
Lucia Spado (Lucy) was born in Italy in 1894. She was the eldest of eight children and much like Viola, she was a wonderful leader and homemaker. Lucy was a natural at so many things… she could cook, bake, and sew. She would barter with these skills and use cooking to repay things like a mending of a fence. Lucy lived in a time when nothing was thrown away and you found a use for every scrap of food and every piece of cloth.
This is the start to a wonderful story of author Adriana Trigiani’s grandmother’s. Within the pages of this book you will learn so much more about these two remarkable women and the wonderful memories and traditions they handed to the next generation.
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As I read this wonderful book, this tribute to Adriana’s grandmothers I could not help but think of my own. My Great Grandmother Lasher was a strong woman who raised my mother. She was born in the late 1901 and was a farmer’s wife. She never drove a car. She would always tell me stories about my grandfather (who died before I was born) and how he owned a bar in Minnesota. She would say that even though he owned the bar, he never touched a drink in his life. (To this my mom would wink at me so I never knew if this was the truth…)
My other grandmother, my dads mom, was the opposite of my Grandma Lasher. Grandma Ruth was small boned and spry. She would help me play pranks on my parents. One of my last memories of her is when we visited her 6th floor apartment to take her out to lunch. Grandma Ruth and I raced down the steps trying to beat the elevator down to the main floor that held my mother.
In both these stories I look back with bitter-sweet memories. Both of these women knew how to knit, crochet, and quilt. Skills I have never learned but wished I had at their knee. I look back now seeing all the history that passed away with them. I wish I would have asked them more questions about themselves, about their lives growing up…. I wish I would have sat patiently when they tried to teach me their ways…
but I was too young and I did not think they had anything they could tell me that I needed to know.
I read this book and think about what a throw away society we are today. It is cheaper to throw away a broken toaster than to have it fixed. I think of all the scraps of material I have tossed through the years left overs from projects and I now think of all the things my grandmothers would have found uses for. I could have learned a lot from these women, I think we all could have.
Adriana Trigiana writes a wonderful memoir here that pulled at my heart all the way through. What a beautiful tribute! I highly recommend this read.
Thank you to Harper Collin Publishers for the opportunity to review this wonderful book!