I Genitori Di Mio Padre

My paternal grandparents are long gone.  They both passed while I was in high school.  My grandmother died near Easter and my grandfather died near Christmas.  Or on Christmas.  I'm not sure--he lived in Italy at the time, and I remember getting the phone call on Christmas Eve.  But it might have been Christmas in Italy. 

Hey, as an aside--two people in different countries can die at the exact same time, yet, their deaths will be recorded as occurring on different days due to time zones.  THAT is really strange.

Anyway, I wasn't super close to my dad's parents.  They didn't speak English, and I didn't speak Italian.  It's difficult to forge a relationship with people that you can't communicate with.

However, there are things that I remember about both of them.

My grandmother always had knee pain.  (A good daughter and responsible writer would call up her father as this point and ask why, but, eh.  It's not like I get paid to do this.)  We would go to her house on Saturday nights and spend time with her.  When it was hot out, we would sit in her driveway.  When it was cold, we would sit on her plastic covered couch in her living room.  Someone would always ask her how her knee felt, and she would rub it and say, "Joosta the same." 

I don't think you're allowed to smile in Italy.

I don't remember much about my grandfather.  At one point he left my grandmother and went back to live in Italy.  He joined a church and spent a lot of time doing, uh, churchy things.  Before he left, however, he would do this thing where he'd slowly put one hand on top of the other and then make his thumbs move in foward circles towards me.  It looked like a turtle.  I just did it with my hands, and you know?  I'm not exactly sure it's supposed to be a turtle.  Maybe a fish?  Maybe not an animal at all.  It was funny, though.  I'm going to do it with Leah and see if she laughs.

I'll smile for both of us, Pop Pop.

My dad's family has a drama filled history, complete with familial homicide!  I'd love the time to sit down with my relatives and hear all of their stories.  Maybe even write them down.  I'll put it on the to-do list along with changing my sheets.  Because that never gets done, either.

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