Apr 15, 2012

my box of mothball

While reading a colleague's blog post about insomnia, I got to thinking how lucky I am not to ever have suffered from this; am like a man, I hit the pillow and am out.
I think this is thanks to my grandma Anna, not because I inherited her genes, but because I inherited her linens.
My dad is the youngest in a family of five children, four boys and one girl, my aunt Maria, who they all adore and treasure. My grandfather Gaspar, was born in Corleone  Sicily in year 1900, taught himself how to read and write in hiding, under ground during world war I , he was too young and my great~ grandmother was afraid the army would take him.
When he was in his mid twenties he took a ship ride to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in search of a better future. He got a job with the railroad and after two years,when he was established, he went back home to marry his beloved, my grandma Anna.
Grandma was also born in Corleone in 1909, grew up in an olive plantation over looking the sea.
 At fifteen she started working on her dowry. All beautifully hand stitched and embroidered, pieces of artwork really. Today they are mine, the most valuable thing I own. They have been around 88 years, and they are in perfect shape, they are made of the thickest linen I've ever seen or felt. Sleeping on them everyday, I think of her when I say my prayers ,  when I close my eyes at night, I can almost smell her linen closet, a combination of lavender and mothballs. It comforts me.
 You see, she was the loveliest person I've ever known.
 I often wonder, how my life would have turned out if I never left Argentina, and spent more time with her. I remember my last visit with her, when I was 23,  crying at her front stoop and she held my face with her hands and said, "you are always here with me". I looked at every little crease on her face and her beautiful snow white hair, I was so upset, I had no words. She held me tight and I walked away. I think of her everyday and wish I had said more, she passed away the following year.
Her laughter contagious, her heart as big as the sea, and open, wide open, to anyone. She loved with so much tenderness and joy. No one has ever seen her mad or speak a word of negativity,  always ready for an encouraging word.
She was the best cook,  loved to tell childhood stories and be with family.
In the late 50's my grandparents started a church in their home, soon raised enough funds to buy a properly and build.
 My grandfather pastored this church for almost  60 years, he also started two churches in Italy and founded a total of three churches in Buenos Aires ,  my grandmother was his beloved and faithful follower. Immigrants who taught them selves to read and write more then one language, went on to live out their dreams. 
Grandma past away first at 86 and grandpa lived to be 9 days short of 101. I miss them.
 I know this is strange but I love the smell of mothballs. I have an air tight box of lavender with one mothball in a drawer and when I have a though day I open the box and instantly feel better... and miss them.

1 comment:

  1. a beautiful story and a lovely tribute to the power of family and pure, sweet memories. Thank you for sharing your story!