I am sorry to say but I truly do not know how old I was when my parents choose to leave me behind as they went on a vacation to Des Moines, Iowa.  Yes my family left me home in San Jose California as they, my mom, dad, Mari Anne, Sam and Jessica, drove off in my father’s car.  The family wanted to make this two thousand mile drive without me.  I was sure that all the relatives in Des Moines Iowa wanted to meet and see the young Prince but I was to stay home in San Jose California. The reason the decision was made to leave me home was very simple, I suffered from a common problem that others experienced as well, motion sickness.  Yes my family went on a vacation without the oldest boy child, the young prince, me.  Thank God they allowed me some input as to where I was to stay during their vacation.  Of course if it were just my decision I would only go to my Grandma Jessie’s house.  I loved my Grandma Jessie very much and to be able to stay with her would ease the pain of being abandoned by my family.  As both my Grandma Jessie and I grew older she became so important and special to me that I gave her the cute nickname of “Dolly”.  She was lovely lady Dolly!

Dolly was pleased that I wanted to stay at her house.  She loved me and treated me as the special child I was. I was sure she convinced both of my parents to leave me with her.  My parents left and my visit with Dolly began.  What fun it was and what joy and happiness we shared.  My grandmother Jessica (in Italian her name was Gelsomina) was an early riser each and every day. From the room I where I spent my nights, I could hear Dolly awake each morning well before the sun began to rise.  She would get out of bed and head to the bathroom to prepare herself for mass.  Upon hearing her depart her bed I would leave my bed just as quickly and dress so I could attend mass with my grandmother.  By the time I was dressed and had made my bed Grandma Jessica would be brushing her hair.  She had the most beautiful hair in the world.  It was a shiny blue/black color, and very long.  Her hair reached all the way to the back of her knees.  She wore her hair brushed straight back then she would braid and roll her lovely long hair into a bun that was positioned on the back of her head.  My Grandma was a very beautiful lady. With the two of us dressed and ready for mass, we would leave the house for our short walk to the church.

Walking with my grandmother was an adventure.  She was not very tall but she could walk very quickly.  We would start walking to the church with plenty of time so we were never late for mass.  With her church scarf secured over her head she would wrap herself in her black coat and then pick up her black purse and let it hang from her arm, we were now ready and would depart the house.  The Catholic Church was just three blocks away from my Grandma’s home.  However, she and I needed to cross three streets in order for us to arrive at the church.  With my Grandmother holding my hand we started the daily trek to church. Her house was on the corner of the street so the first street we had to cross was right there.  Before crossing the street my Grandma would look both ways checking to see if it was safe to cross, if safe she would then tighten her grip on my hand and we would dash across the street.

It was so early in the morning that traffic was almost non-existence, but we would still dash across the street as if a car was bearing down and might strike the two of us before reaching the safety of the sidewalk on the opposite side.  Crossing streets was the only time I saw my little grandma Jessie running. With her hand holding mine I could tell just when I needed to run to cross the street and when her grip on my hand relaxed we would be passing the houses on the block. We stop and directly in front of us was the next street. The grip on my hand tighten, she turned her head looking down the street for cars, then looking in the opposite direction she would determine if it was safe to cross then together we would dash across the street. As we walked quickly by the houses in the second block we would approach the third and final street.  Her procedure to cross a street never changed.  Her pace when walking to church or for that matter walking anywhere was the same quick and very direct.  We did not stop in front of the church to talk to any of her friends.  We just entered the beautiful church and found a place to sit, kneel and pray, we now began the wait for the entrance of the priest that was the signal that mass started.