It's been 12 years since my nonno passed away at the age of 89. He was like my second father. A perfect balance to my hippy dad.
Nonno was a retired police officer and was a dictator disciplinarian, but a big puff if he made you cry. And my kidney's are close to my eyes so I saw a sensitive side to him that my grandmother still says didn't exist.
I grew up p/t at my grandparents house. It was a home full of Italian influence, from rosaries to plastic plants.
A refugio from my tumultuous world. I learned to love the quirky atmosphere.
Nonno always had a chocolate bar or gum waiting for me in my special cupboard (where I would write inside JC loves whoever I did that week!) While my grandmother was busy in the kitchen, we would watch TV and laugh hysterically at the same things. And we didn't need PVR back then, cause if Imissed our show, nonno would give me a play by play. And I loved how excited he was to tell me, like I was his best friend.
I am really missing him today and all of his nonno-isms. Isn't it interesting how we remember the small things, not the big things after a person is gone.
I remember how he used to get all dressed up from head to toe just to go down to the corner store. I remember how he would shuffle down the hallway to answer the phone. Half running. I remember how good his hankerchiefs smelled. A synergy of Old Spice and Brut. I remember watching him smoke a pipe and not inhale. I remember the musty scent of home made wine in his basement. I remember how he'd lean over to me, while we were sitting watching TV and hold his hand open to me with almonds or grapes to share. I remember how he'd let me in at 2am and not tell anyone. I remember how he'd laugh so hard he'd cry watching wrestling. I remember how he'd let me sleep in his bed when I was going through daddy withdrawal. I remember how he'd whistle while he worked. I remember how generous he was.
I remember all of his stories he'd repeat at least 10 times. One of my favorites was about a boy who would steal chickens from everyone and how nonno caught him. His ID kept falling out of his shirt pocket when he bent over to steal them. Nonno thought that was the funniest thing and could barely finish telling the story without crying from laughter. After giving him one too many chances, nonno arrested him and when we was reformed he thanked nonno for helping him change. It sounded like it was the highlight of his career.
I remember the look he'd give me, like, you are special. And I remember how he treated me like a real granddaughter even though I wasn't actually his blood.
On his last day here on earth, he asked me to take care of nonna. ME. Not his sons, not his other grandchildren who are flesh and blood, but me. Jenny from the block. I was honoured and promised I would. We bought a house across the street from her and between the 5.5 of us, we're always watching over her.
Have you hugged your angels today???
L'Chaim and Nonno!