#32 Enduring Memories

by Michaelle Wilde

Nonna Orsini cleaned the stone tiles in our home every night before going to bed. Creeping down the stairs, I would watch her. I never understood why she never seemed to be in a hurry to complete the chore, humming as the mop swayed.

When Nonna’s hands became too arthritic to squeeze the excess water from the cloth mop, she asked me to help her. On the sixth night of our cleaning ritual, I asked Nonna why she cleaned the floor every night and why she didn’t have one of us children do it. Nonna told me she enjoyed the quiet time that allowed her to appreciate the day that had been given to her. I still didn’t understand.

“What about the stains that won’t come up, Nonna?” I asked.

“Ah bambina,” she beamed down at me. “Those are memories. Do you see in front della stufa?” I nodded. “That is when your mother announced she was pregnant with you, our primo nipote!”

I bent down, felt the stain, and then looked at Nonna imploringly, “What made it?”

“Salsa di spaghetti,” she laughed, recalling how far the sauce had splattered. “A pot full!”

“Is that why the big pot has a dent?” Nonna smiled and nodded.

As the weeks went by, Nonna told me amusing stories of other stains that were unwilling to be washed away. I hummed along with her, enjoying the quiet and wondered what memories were yet to come.


MyInkyFingers said...

Love the precise dialogue.

Jonathan Riley said...

What a lovely vignette. I agree, nice use of dialogue.

Lisa Pellegrini said...

This hits home for me, because I am Italian and I used to call my own grandmother "Nonna," too. This has a nice, homey, "a la famiglia" feeling to it. My only suggestion would be to make the line "Is that why the big pot has a dent?" a separate paragraph from "Nonna smiled and nodded," because it is a little confusing, trying to understand who is speaking. I assume that the grandchild is speaking, so that's why I suggested that. Otherwise, this is a warm-hearted story that really does do a good job of depicting the sentimentality and sense of nostalgia in the Italian culture.

Anonymous said...

Thank you MyInkyFingers and Jonathan.

Lisa, I really appreciate the feedback you have given me. I feel, because of your comments, that I conveyed exactly what I wanted to. Also, I agree with the dialog separation you suggested.