Sunday, September 11, 2011

Take A Minute

Paul's grandfather was in World War I, and he lost his son, George, at war. The two of them represented 'towers' of strength within the family and within our country. I had the opportunity to know Paul's Grandfather, Gasper. He was a simple yet wise man who lost most of his children before he passed away. He did however get to meet his grandson before he passed. We need to Take A Minute each day to be with each other, away from the noise of the day, even if it is most simply with a hug, handshake, or hello. God Bless.

Monday, August 01, 2011


We recently celebrated our son John’s high school graduation, a major milestone for a family.  I shared with John that while many kings, villains, heroes, saints, and popes carried the name John, his character is that of the eagle, which is symbolic of his name.  Eagles are able to look directly into the sun without being blinded, and they are able to see great distances.  In reflection of his event, and in preparing for something to say at his celebration, I looked up the meaning of his name:  “God is gracious”.  This is very true, but I did not learn the true meaning of the word Grace until after our home fire, and did not realize that it is a gift that wears many disguises.  Most significantly, however, John was born into this world face-up, and this is how he meets the challenges in his life – whether as a baseball catcher, soccer goalie, Webelos troop leader, or camp counselor – similar to an eagle, as storm approaches, using the power of the updraft to lift above the clouds.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nana Nanutz

When I was growing up in Union City, once a month or so, we would go to visit my mother's father's sister, Aunt Ermelinda, and his mother, Rosina.  My great-grandmother's attic apartment was a wonderful place to visit, up a narrow set of stairs that seemed to go on forever, but once I got to the top, I loved to sit on her large sleigh bed and brush her hair, or sit in her kitchenette and admire the collection of cows that filled the shelves on the long wall.  She would pour me a cup of hot chocolate in an espresso cup and we would "have tea" and look out the window.  And she would sing songs in Italian, that sadly I do not remember, but her voice would always make me happy.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Italian Vegetable Garden

This is my father's father's mom, Diana Sciumbata.  When we visited her in Jersey City, she only spoke Italian.  I would listen to her voice that was like music, and even though I did not understand what she was saying literally, the sense of what she was saying was carried in the way she spoke to you.  

Her Italian garden was in the alleyway between their two-family apartment house and the used car lot next door.  However, it was quite authentic, with tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, herbs, and spices.  In the alleyway, she had a very large metal bucket on a rope connected to a clothesline pulley on the second floor.  She would fill the bucket and leave it on the table.  When she went upstairs, she would open the window and pull up the bucket overflowing with the day's picks.  

Fresh tomato sauce and eggplant parmigiana.  Picked that morning before breakfast and enjoyed that evening for dinner with freshly baked bread.  Are you smelling it yet?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Welcome.  I have created this Blog to share with you some of the stories behind the photos and poems in the book.  If you have a copy of the book and would like to share your thoughts, please do.  Would love to hear what you think, and if you have a favorite poem or photo.