A muse …
I have been thinking about my Grandfather this week. He is my Dad’s father. He barely spoke English often switching to Italian in the middle of a sentence. Always had pay close attention to his rapid Italian speech.
He was born in 1902 in Calabria Italy and came to America through Ellis Island in NY as a teenager.
I am reminded of him this week as I pick up masks from seamstresses all over our city for health professionals at our non-profit. I remember a story he told me when I was a young boy. Half in English and half in Italian as I looked to my Mom to interpret what I couldn’t understand.
He was a tailor in WWI. He shared he would move with the soldiers from region to region sewing and repairing uniforms. Essential I imagine, a basic needs for survival. He said: “It was a horrific memory, Giovanni.” He said, “I remember running from tent to tent with my sewing machine under my arm as bombs flew overhead.” “The worst part was feeling the crunch of those we lost to the war under my feet. As he clenched his teeth on his hand, as Italians do out of disgust. He didn’t like to talk about that war.
I’m reminded of him as I drive around the city to get masks for our health care workers at our non-profit clinic. These heroes are also on the frontline of a war. A war on a deadly virus. Seamstresses all around the city making masks as Grandpa made uniforms for the soldiers of the war.