The video above captures me bringing a copy of my newest book, Forty Days in Italy Con La Mia Famiglia, to my grandmother’s house. My grandma was instrumental in the book, as many of the stories and information in the book came from conversations at her kitchen table.
The book provides a framework that all Italian Americans can follow to discover their Italian roots and travel to Italy to find living relatives, or at least experience the villages their ancestors came from. While I was on my trip in Italy, which is detailed in the book, we lost my grandfather Sal back home in the U.S. This video shows grandma reading the dedication to Grandpa Sal, which she didn’t know about until she read it in the video.
Here’s a transcript of the video above:
Anthony: “I got the new book here, what do you think about the new book grandma?”
Grandma: “What do I think about the book? Oh my God! First of all, I’m happy that you mentioned my name so many times, and then I’m honored.”
Anthony: “Yeah, I am excited for the book.”
Grandma: “I mean I always tell you that you come so often, and you make me so happy when you come, because I am so alone.”
Anthony: “Yes, unfortunately, we lost grandpa, when I was on the trip detailed in the book, but a lot of the stuff from the book came from when we were here [at grandma’s kitchen table].”
Grandma: “Right, and do you say anything about grandpa, that you couldn’t come to his funeral [we were overseas with my 3 young kids]?”
Anthony: “Yes, I mention it in there, and we talk about grandma’s parents that immigrated here and some of the stuff that happened to them.”
Grandma: “Oh my God and you know what Anthony? I don’t go to the cemetery that often because I cry when I go, but a couple of weeks ago I went, to the cemetery, and they had put the footstone [at grandpa’s burial place] that the government gave grandpa [because he was a veteran], and when I saw that, I didn’t cry, do you know what I felt?”
Grandma: “I felt such pride, that Grandpa was honored by the United States Government.”
Anthony: “Well, you should, we all should.”
Anthony: “Look at this part [of the book] here.”
I hand grandma the book opened to the page that shows the dedication to Grandpa Sal, who passed away in July of 2016 during my forty days in Italy. Grandma reads it.
Anthony: “That’s the dedication, the book is dedicated to Grandpa Sal.”
Grandma: “Oh, Anthony, that’s wonderful. I hope you sell so many books.”
Anthony: “Ha, well we hope everyone will consider checking it out, and everyone needs to learn about their family history, that’s what we’re doing with this book.”
Grandma: “And don’t forget, when you bring me one, you have to sign it for me, and you have to put, To Grandma Jo and Grandpa Sal, who is up in heaven looking down.”
Grandma: “Because I do miss him so much. You never realize, you know, he used to sit here. This is exactly where he used to sit, and I would say, ‘Eat, eat,’ and he used to say, ‘Oh, you are a pain in the a*s. You want me to eat, but I don’t feel like eating.’ Little did I know that he was getting sick. But I’m okay now. I’m better. I’m coping with it better.”
I hope you enjoyed the video. It’s certainly a reminder that we should enjoy our elder relatives while we have them.
Please share stories about times you remember at your grandparent’s kitchen table in the comments below.
You can check out my book Forty Days in Italy Con La Mia Famiglia here.
Co-host of The Italian American Podcast
Author of Forty Days in Italy Con La Mia Famiglia