Crunch and rumble. That is a sound that I didn’t know that I missed. It is a sound that marks the end of the sealed road and the start of the dirt track that lines my Nan’s farm. The tyres of my car no longer securely placed on the asphalt but having to content with the variable landscape into which we venture. There is no crunch or rumble in the city it is all smooth and metallic, polished to a sheen to appease the mass hypochondria that settled upon the world in what felt like overnight. Don’t go outside into the big bad world, strangers with strange illnesses will infect your lungs, if they don’t infect your mind first. You must get your food delivered by a man who’s face you can’t see behind his safety mask. Crunch and rumble. Like the dust in my rear-view mirror, the rules of the city, once so abrasive to take in, are now behind me and begin to settle.
Ada Monetti was born on East 55th Street in Manhattan. Her father went to work everyday at Giovanni’s, and her mother and grandmother did the domestics before the family moved to the Bronx in 1941. But prior to departing, Ada did leave her mark on the Catholic School she attended.
Luigi and Maria Ancora emmigrate to Argentina
Nonno was a gentle, loving father, according to his daughter Ada Monetti. However, he did set limits and enforced boundaries. “I got spanked,” Ada said. “I was stubborn” But any chance of lingering feelings always reverted back to Angelo Cafueri’s fatherly baseline.
Both of my grandmothers were born in the final years of the 1800s. Both of them lived more than 99 years. My paternal grandmother was 101 when she passed, my maternal grandmother 99.
Carmela Ancora grew up in Franca Villa, and her grandmother owning a successful business, the family had an upperclass lifestyle. So Carmela graduated from High School and played the piano. Carmela married Belasario Ancora in 1885 at the age of 16 and had seven children. But while circumstances bigger than the family led to a life of seperation for the three surviving Ancora children, my great grandmother lived a rich fulfilling life
In the first 18 months of my life, My Nonno was a constant presence. However, he would leave for an extended return to Italy with my grandmother in 1966. The departure must have left a pretty big void. The year and a half absence had to have been long forgotten by the time he came back, though. The assumption - it turns out - is glaringly incorrect.
"Rest yourself." As a child, this was the calming line my Grandma Lucy would say to ease my anxious mind. She had a shotgun home, narrow and southern styled. It was odd situated on a major corner in Baltimore city. Despite the outside noise, I remember sitting beside her on a plastic-covered couch just worry-free. There was no pressure to be perfect or obedient. She wasn’t a disciplinarian. That wasn’t her style. Her calm spirit was refreshing and different from my norm. I think she knew I was an introvert and not shy. She let me open up on my own time. When I was ready to speak, she just listened.
There's a photo of my great-grandmother; she is standing with her sister and sister in law with the biggest smile on her face. It is my favorite photo of her. She is in her twenties with her two best friends, my Aunt Nunnie her sister, and my Aunt Willa Mae, who would eventually become her sister in law. I love this photo because it is rare. It is unique because I am seeing her before she was a wife; before she was a mother, a grandmother, and great-grandmother. I'm seeing her as just Mary, a woman in her twenties dreaming of something more. I had seen this photo many times before. It had a place in all of the homes she lived in until her death. But it wasn't until after she died that I understood the depth of this photo. I realized that I only knew one part of her life and story. That I only knew her for a brief period of her life. But that short period profoundly impacts my life.
Spring 1995 – Emil Villa’s Hickory Pit – Oakland, California. Lillian had just waved her waiter away for the third time. They had been seated for almost half an hour and still had not ordered. Lillian, known to her family as Dear, did not appreciate being or feeling rushed.
Gommie sits in her pink smock dress with her elbows resting upon the plastic Gerbera tablecloth. The early morning rays dance their way into the sunroom and she is laughing. There is half eaten toast, with far too much butter on it, real orange juice and music, always music. Now that I think about it, this memory seems distant, but it’s always one I go back to, or rather comes back to me.
German, like the language. First name Yolanda. Descendant of my divine feminine ancestors. My grandmother, whom I like to call “grams.” This is the woman who inspires me. When I was 5 years old, I saw an old photograph of five kids on a farm. I took a closer look and in it, I saw a little girl who was about the same age as me at the time. Confused and a little dumbfounded, I opened my mouth and started to say “How am I in this picture? I don’t know any of those kids and I don’t remember this either.” The little girl in the photograph looked exactly like me – she was my doppelgänger, if you will.