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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SECOND HAND AUTISM?

Zia Francesca to all, MY grandmother!
She could cook and discipline!
Growing up in 40's and 50's, one of the things that always fascinated me were the hand's people had. To me, the hand is an expression of many things and the deeds that they are capable of. The hands I seemed to study the most were my Mom's and Grandmother's hands. It started when I became aware of Mom's wedding band. Like Mom it was not too pretentious, in fact, it was plain and simple looking, and just like Mom. Mom was a beautiful woman, but simple in her outlook as she would understate the obvious and made her life as uncomplicated as possible. That was good.

As I would study her hands, I would think how well she cooks with them. These hands created so much goodness in so many ways. They kept the house clean and spotless, they created great meals and they were the reason my clothing was mended, my shoes polished and my hair carefully combed. It was Mom who would guide me through my reader with her index finger, and yet give me careful instructions on what she wanted from the grocery and how to get there, describing things in terms of size and direction.

Like my Grandmother, her hands were expressive. She could talk with them with a passion of a great orator, always getting her message across succinctly and with clarity. Her punctuation was impeccable, to the dot.

She used to make knitted or crochet blankets and baby dresses for people, sew curtains together and make dresses for my sisters. Watching Mom knit, I once decided to ask her for a red sweater. I wanted a red pull-over sweater and Mom enthusiastically agreed to knit it for me. The day came when she was finished with the sweater, and it looked beautiful, red as a fire engine or the best Macintosh apple! Only one thing wrong, she made the sleeves so long it would have fit a gorilla better! My suspicion has Mom had something on her mind for a while.

Not only could she cook, she could bake. Every day we had a cake in our house that she made from scratch. Marble cake, Muenster Cake, Plain Butter Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake, Easter pies, Christmas Cookies, all pouring out of the talents that supported her ten fingers!

Grandma was a cook in the true sense. She taught my Mom how to do it and do it right. When I go into Italian restaurants and order the old-time dishes, the very meals that sustained Italian/Americans during the Great Depression, Grandma comes to mind. I picture her standing over me looking into my plate, knowing what is right and what is wrong with the dish.

She gave orders to her daughters and daughter-in-law who would pitch in to help cook the big Festa Italiano that went on every holiday, using her hands to demonstrate how much of this and that went into the pot or pan, or when to toss something into the oven.

But those magical fingers that guided her hands were gold. They told a story just like Mom's, a story of love that we as children were recording in our hearts and souls because love was what it is always about. God rest their souls and the souls of all the mothers and grandmothers who have passed this way once and left their mark of joy and love!

The funny thing is that today the Moms and Grandmas strive to keep the traditions alive, they cook and bake and do all the things that we once experienced and took for granted, and that love is still there. Maybe I'll come by one day, and you will invite me in, and I can live one more day with Mom and Grandma.

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