This past weekend, my Nana passed away. She was 101 years old and lived a long full life. Her life wasn’t always easy but she was a tough woman and always made the most out of what she had. When I was a child I spent numerous weeks of the summer staying with my Nana and Grandpa. After they retired, they lived near the beach and on a lake. I couldn’t think of a better place to spend my summers.
After swimming all day, I remember the fun summer nights and how we would eat dinner on the porch, then chase lightning bugs after dark. Nana was a late night person and I loved being allowed to stay up late with her. She even let me catch a few late night episodes of Columbo. Even now, I hear the sound of crickets and it makes me think of those fun filled summers.
Nana loved food just as much as I did. We had big spaghetti or pot roast dinners on Sunday and she made the best sausage stuffing on Thanksgiving. Her breakfast consisted of a bowl of oatmeal and a hard boiled egg everyday. I remember feeling so grown up when she allowed me to have a few teaspoons of coffee with my milk in the morning. My grandparents were way beyond their times in the coffee department. You might think Lattes and Cappuccinos are a more recent indulgence but my grandparents drank them back in the day. They made their own by filling mugs of coffee with lots of milk and topping it with frothed egg whites and sugar.
The last few years were not good ones for Nana so I am happy she is now at peace. I have such wonderful childhood memories that she helped me create. Many of them have to do with food. If there was ever an Italian grandmother that could eat, it was her. I hope she is somewhere with my grandfather playing her favorite card games of bridge, watching game shows and eating big plates of spaghetti.