My siblings and me in the kitchen of Mom’s house which will be completed imminently. Now that it doesn’t have an attached family room that was there for 27 years, you can see the Hayward Hills much easier and it’s a lot brighter. The house isn’t even recognizable to us without Mom’s “stuffs.”
I remember in one of our family trips back from the Sacramento area I was playing music with my Mom in the front seat. Shando was always a gentleman and sat in the back when she rode with us. I loved it when an old classic that Mom knew would come on, whether it be from Italy or some other place. She loved Nat King Cole, Julio Iglesias, Engelbert Humperdinck and Josh Groban even. Caruso was a classic Italian song I never quite mastered memorizing, but it was a song she obviously knew well. Playing music in the car kept me awake and in some cases minimized her nagging me, although now of course I would take her nagging me about anything I miss her so much.
One time an Italian song came on that I knew the words to, and my mother was floored. I’ll never forget her cackling in laughter, cracking up as I sang Lara Fabian’s Adagio in the original Italian. She could not fathom that I would memorize an Italian song that she never heard of and she just thought it was the funniest thing in the world that I was singing in her mother tongue. It’s an extraordinary song by a singer who is of Italian heritage from Belgium and my Mom just enjoyed the heck out the moment, and I was so proud that I could share this moment with her serendipitously. I think it helped Mom to believe that I would never truly be far removed from our family in Calabria if I could accomplish something like this without her knowing. The odds of that song coming up out of the tens of thousands on my 180GB iPod was kismet, because I never again had a chance to sing that song to my mother. The important thing, though, was that we had a magical musical moment and I got to impress her and show off to her.
Here are the lyrics in English and then Italian:
We had a whirlwind day with several events, including my friend Gary’s garden party at his gorgeous home on the San Leandro/Oakland border. There are a few pictures from his garden. We also had a chance to see Shando’s cousin and her husband on their way to their trip in Hawaii, since we weren’t able to attend their wedding in Las Vegas several months earlier due to the cheap airline we booked cancelling our flight at the last minute for no apparent reason.
This is probably the last video footage with mom’s voice, although sadly she is not pictured. When Shando and I were at Yosemite and Alex and Brian were flying to visit from NYC, my mom’s house was totalled in a fire. This is the gathering we had with my sister’s family who came down from the Sacramento area. My nephew gets his clown antics from my brother.
It was great to see my sister and her beautiful family, which had come in from Tennessee and Arizona. I finally got a chance to introduce them to Shando and see a new grand-niece who was just born a few months ago. Yes, they have a pet prairie dog. While talking about our family history there I got inspired to join Ancestry.com again. I encourage people to join. Hopefully they will reduce the price if more people join.