My mother is enthusiastic about my blog. She forwards me stories and videos and ideas that “maybe [I] could use”. This weekend, she sent me a story from her childhood that she thought “maybe [I] could use for [my] Peace, Good Will post sometime”. (hint hint)
Italian women are not so great with subtlety.
I should tell you a bit about our guest author. “Josephine” is 74 years old. She is a first-generation-born Italian-American from Brooklyn. Brooklyn, during the time she was growing up, was like the old country. My family members of that generation still speak, act, and hold the ideals from “the old country”. She prays to whichever saint is appropriate for the situation she needs solved, makes the best Italian food you could ever put into your mouth, and has a 99% success rate at determining whether a pregnant woman is having a boy or a girl. One time, she predicted for a woman that wasn’t even pregnant. Three months later, the girl found out she was pregnant. And, yes, Mum was right about the sex of the baby. Spooky, I know.
I make jokes about my Italian family all the time, but if you have ever been to an Italian funeral or family gathering of any sort, you know there are lots of jokes to be made.
Lots more posts possible from that topic. Another day.
So here it is, aside from a few minor translations from Brooklynese, in Mum’s own words…
“When I was around seven and lived on Lincoln Avenue in Brooklyn, there was this lady named Mrs. Ledlow. She was old and could not see too well, and she had these two dogs who were very old and didn’t see too well, either. We kids would go and sit with her and she would tell us stories of the past. She had this trunk full of goodies and would tell us about the things there. I remember a pair of old ballerina shoes, and I wish I could remember the story about them. I think her daughter was a ballerina.
I remember her baby Grand piano and the original Shirley Temple doll that was on the top of the piano.
Anyway, this one Christmas she had cookies and drinks for us kids, and gave us all a gift. The gift was a pen with different color stones that she bought at the 5&10. They cost a nickel, but we kids thought we had gotten diamonds. She didn’t have much money, and it was hard for her to get around. She appreciated us kids visiting with her and listening to her remember the old days. It made her feel good to share her treasure trunk with us. I will never ever forget her or that gift.
At Christmastime when people talk about gifts, or someone says they are “not much on Christmas”, I tell them how one of the best gifts I got in life was from Mrs. Ledlow. She was the spirit of Christmas.”
I’d say Mrs. Ledlow was the spirit of Peace and Good Will. I’d say you kids were pretty nice, too, for keeping her company and giving her something to look forward to, and really appreciating what she had to offer.
Everyone has something to offer.
Merry Christmas, Mrs. Ledlow.