One of the last of the old ones folds herself into the earth today, a deep bow, a great exhale, she inhales a new impossibly lightsome life. Zia Cinzella, run your tiny feet and your nimble knees through the cool stream that separates this life from the next. Run to the ones you love. I will miss you. I loved you. Your kind brown eyes and your little kittenish way of tossing off the sorrows of life with a simple, “Ma-“.

The great ladies of my family are gone, save one, the youngest, Ninetta, burying far too many dear ones. The last little widow in the last big brick house.

I fell in love with the old ones. Their stories of the war, of immigration, of arranged marriages and late babies: starched linens, the Pope’s address, plucking chickens and stuffing pillows with the feathers on the hot patio of an Ottawa July. Cinzella, you are so lovely here as a terrified teenaged bride.IMG_1386 Tiny little bottles of pear juice. Sugar dusty pizzelle and a cold meatball panino and a cool basement kitchen with a plastic table cloth. The rhythmic squeak of a laundry line pulled early in the morning. The smell of espresso and garlic and roasted red peppers. Mysterious jars in the cantina and curious tubs in the freezer. A hundred gilded frames of babies and weddings and graduations. Perfectly precise pillows on the unused sofa. Black mule sandals to borrow for your feet on the marble floor.

You loved me simply because I was family. I didn’t need to be remarkable. I didn’t have any debt outstanding. You loved me. I loved you. We belonged.


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1 comment

  1. Lynne

    Thank you Cia, I hadn’t heard of her passing. Your memories bring back my own. I too loved that gentle, kind lady who welcomed me into her life and into her heart. She must be very happy now that she is reunited with her loved ones whom she devoted her life to. There will be much rejoicing in Heaven!

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