My Aunt Grace is in Heaven today!

3 Comments

In the middle of the night at around midnight my wonderful Aunt Grace departed this world and went straight to our Lord and God in Heaven.  I am sad at her passing for she was a very special person in my life.  Aunt Grace will be in my mind just as she has always been in my mind throughout my life.  My Aunt Grace was the most wonderful lady, a gentle wife, a most loving mother, an outstanding grandmother and great grandmother, and for me and her numerous nephews and nieces the most special Aunt.

Aunt Grace Federico my lovely Lady

I remember so many things about my Aunt Grace:

  • I think about her way of showing her love for you and her love for others
  • Her way of showing everyone respect
  • Her love of God
  • Her love of all of her family, from her Mom and Dad, to her brothers, to her husband Jim, to her in-laws, her children, her children’s children, her grandchildren’s children, her cousins
  • Her love of the special people who touched her life
  • Her way of guiding others away from the wrong path
  • Her skill in raising children, no matter who’s children they were
  • Her understanding of the difficult decisions young people must face and her skill to guide
  • How much she cared and understood the loss of someones loved one and how it felt by others
  • Her ability to offer a helping hand just when needed and just the right hand
  • Her skill to make her house a home not just for her family but for her extended family
  • Her skill to create a meal into a feast, I loved her cooking skills
  • To me she was as solid as a rock yet as gentile as a breeze.

    Aunt Grace Federico a Lady

I for one will truly miss my Aunt Grace and the wonderful expressions of her love

  • I can see her face light up when I would visit her home
  • I could her the excitement in her voice when I would call her from other places in the world
  • I could see the hurt in her eyes when I was in pain
  • I will miss our talks from a young boy, to a young man, to a man, and a lost old man
  • I will miss her hugs and kisses
  • I will miss her calling me Johnny

    My Aunt Grace

I will always love my Aunt Grace.

Grandma Mary

1 Comment

The drive to my Grandma Mary’s was done in silence. It was a short drive compared to the drive to the rest home. Once there we would knock on the door and enter the house. Seeing my dad’s mother we would greet her with hugs and the word “chow” which mean hello in Italian. Grandma’s English was not very good, but her hugs, kisses, and the glow on her face said it all. It was normally close to lunch time but the time did not matter. Once inside the house and right after our greetings Grandma Mary would call out to my Uncle Jimmy G to come and visit.

At the same time we would sit at the table and my Grandmother would bring food for my dad and I to enjoy. Sandwiches, soup, and pasta anything and everything could appear on the table. My dad would speak to my Grandmother in Italian until my uncle entered and said hello. Then we would go through the greetings process again. Eating the items placed in front of you was required or you would insult grandma. I just listened as my dad and Grandma spoke in Italian.

With the visit ending we would say our goodbye’s with lots of hugs and kisses and be on our way to visit my Aunt Grace, my father’s sister. The drive to my Aunt Grace’s house was over almost as soon as we settled into the car seat. There we would visit with Aunt Grace and my Uncle Jim F. The three of them would talk about their parents and how they were getting along with their health.

I am not sure but I think my mom, dad, Uncle Jim F and Aunt Grace had an agreement concerning their parents. My mom and dad took care of my Grandma Jessie and my Uncle Jim and Aunt Grace took care of Grandpa John and Grandma Mary. So based on this understanding these individuals would update each other as to the status of their respective charges. I did not participate in these discussions. Instead and depending on whom might be at Uncle Jim and Aunt Grace’s home I would visit with one of my four cousins.

Once the visit with my uncle and aunt concluded my dad and I would say our goodbyes and head to the car. The drive home was a little over two hours and this allowed us time to talk. We talked about how well my Grandpa John looked, how nice my Grandma was and how enjoyable Uncle Jimmy was and what help he was for my Grandma.

We would also discuss my father’s desires about his medical treatment in his golden years. I would listen and ask questions just to make sure I understood. I did not know this at this time but these trips would aid me later in life. They aided me with the decisions about his sudden illness. It was that incident that allowed my father to depart this life. He was happy feeling he had done everything he could for his children. He was on his way to his beloved wife, his Rose, my mother.

Those talks helped me in discussions with my wife who was seriously ill for a period of 12 years. I would listen to her and about how she wished to pass this life. I would hold her and try to be a comfort for her. I would ask her careful questions, just to make sure I understood her wishes. Yes, my father prepared me for the passing of my wife, my Monica. Two months after my father’s passing, my love, my wife of 38 years, my best friend for over 44 years, my Monica passed away from this life.

I had been prepared and trained for the passing of my wife, by my Father.

A Rest Home Visit

Leave a comment

The most memories I have of my Grandpa John occur around a long drive with my father, a stop at a grocery store, and ending with our visit with my Grandpa John. My dad and I lived in San Jose California and my Grandpa was living just outside Sacramento. This meant that we would drive about 120 miles to visit. The drive took us a little over two hours to complete discounting the stop at the grocery store.

I would travel with my dad anytime I could. Sometimes I could not make the trip due to homework or the need to study for finals. However if I was able to made the trip without impact to my college classes I would be in the car with my dad. I did not count the number of trips I made sitting in the car with my dad but I remember there were a lot. In addition to visiting my Grandpa John, we would stop and say hello to my Aunt Grace, my dad’s sister. We would also stop and visit with my Grandma Mary, and my Uncle Jimmy, my dad’s mother and brother.

At the time of these visits my Grandpa John was in need of more care than Grandma Mary and Uncle Jimmy could provide. My Grandfather was living out his remaining years in a rest home. I loved to visit my Grandpa because it seemed to make him happy if only for the time my dad and I spent with him. Let me tell you a little story about one of our trips.

My dad was planning a trip to visit Grandpa on Saturday and I said that I wanted to go with him. I drove over to his house early Saturday morning and after greeting both he and my mom we said goodbye to mom and were off to visit my Grandpa John. Sometime I will tell you about the things we talked about on our two-hour drive but not this time. We had some of the best talks on the drive to visit my dad’s dad.

Driving for almost two hours ended inside a parking lot. It was here that we would park the car and enter the grocery store close to the rest home where my Grandfather lived. We would scour the store looking for special treats to present to my Grandpa John. My father explained to me that we did this to make his father happy. Dad went on to explain that sweet items like cookies and fruit could be tasted by my Grandpa but other things like pasta or a meatloaf did not taste well to him. So we were always on the lookout for new and exciting cookies. Fruit was always something that was more dictated by the season and my dad’s knowledge of the fruits Grandpa liked. Of course we needed to find fruit that was ripe and ready to eat today. With our goodies bagged and the items purchased we took the goodies to the car and continued our drive to the rest home.

Arriving at the rest home we would park the car, get the bag of goodies, and enter the rest home. We would head directly to my Grandfather’s room and most times Grandpa John would be there sitting in a chair and looking out of the window. My father would call out to Grandpa John in Italian saying good morning, Papa. Grandpa would turn to face us and as soon as his mind recognized us a big smile would brighten up his face. Out of the chair and into the outstretched arms of my father. When finished with their greeting I would say hello in English or Italian and give my hug and kiss hello.

We would then leave the room and walk down the hall to the dining area inside the rest home. The dining area functioned as an eating, entertaining, reading, and social area for the residents and guests that arrived to visit. We would find a table away from other activity and the three of us would sit down for our visit. My dad would open the bag of goodies and place some of the cookies on a plate; he would then cut up some of the fruit and place the bite size pieces onto the plate.

Enjoying the cookies and bites of fruit my dad and Grandpa would speak in Italian. My dad did most of the talking with my Grandpa listening and occasionally glancing at me. I watched how much my Grandpa enjoyed eating the cookies and fruit slices. If grapes were in season my Grandpa would eat more grapes than cookies that day. He also liked crisp Apples and cheese. I was fascinated by the interaction between my dad and his father. I think this was one of the best lessons I learned about life. Checking for signs of fatigue or loss of attention my dad would know the visit was over. We would then walk Grandpa back to his room, hug and kiss goodbye, and leave the bag of goodies with Grandpa John we would depart the rest home.

My Grandfather John

1 Comment

I wanted to write a story about my Grandfather John, but this is very difficult for me. I did not know my Grandfather John very well. He lived in Des Moines Iowa and I lived in San Jose California. He and his wife Mary moved to Sacramento California after he retired and after he suffered a major health problem that almost ended his life. The move to Sacramento California was a good idea because his daughter, my Aunt Grace, and his son, my Uncle Jim, lived in Sacramento.

His oldest son, my father Frank, lived in San Jose California just 110 miles away. My family, Frank and Rose, could and did drive to Sacramento many times to visit my Aunt Grace and her husband, my Uncle Jim. Before my Grandparents, John and Mary moved to Sacramento the families of Frank and Rose, Jim and Grace visited each other often. My dad, Frank, was the brother of my Aunt Grace. My mom, Rose, was the sister of my Uncle Jim. In addition to these family ties each set of parents had four children consisting of two boys and two girls. The eight children were close in ages with cousins just about one year apart. (see below for the family chart)

However, by the time my Grandfather, John and Grandmother, Mary moved to Sacramento California I was married and starting a family of my own. All I knew about my Grandfather John was what my father, his son Frank, told me about his father. I knew that my Grandfather John was born in Italy and that he was poor. Prior to immigrating to the USA he was a field hand that cared for sheep, goats and cows. He was from southern Italy in the province of Calabria and the very small town of Terraivecca. In Italy he was called by the first name, Batista, which denoted John the Baptist. In the USA he was known instead by the name, John.

Once in the USA he found work as a cement finisher working on roads throughout the USA. He lived in Des Moines, Iowa and would travel to the road sites. He was away from his home working for days, weeks, and sometimes months. However, his family received most of his pay and along with their home garden survived the great depression. He was a good man with the hope that one of his grandchildren would graduate college. My father knew that I would never be able to make a living with my hands so he always told me to study hard and get a good education. That way I could attend college and work with my mind instead of my hands. I thank my Grandfather John for his dream that his grandchildren go to college. Without the dream of my Grandpa I may never have had the desire to attend and graduate college.

My dad told me that my Grandfather John fought in the First World War. He was a member of the Italian army. Grandpa John did not talk about the war. He did not like to be in a car when it was being filled with gasoline due to the smell of gasoline. I was told that the smell of gasoline reminded him of the smell of the gas used to kill troops in the First World War. We never filled the car with gas if Grandpa John was in the car.

I remember that I did visit my grandparent’s house but that memory confused me. The reason for the confusion is due to the fact that as a child I never visited Des Moines Iowa. Yet I remember visiting a house with a big backyard. And in the middle of that big yard was a very large chicken coop. I can still remember seeing my grandma Mary enter the coop and check for eggs or find a plump bird for dinner. I wish I could remember more.

I also remember that my Grandfather John was not a very tall man. However, he was a very strong man with a large chest and a small waist. He had a smile that always warmed my heart and he never had a cross word for me on his lips. I love my namesake Grandpa John.

—————————-

Family chart.

 

My Grandpa Sam and Grandma Jessie (the F Family)

Had seven Children

Connie

Sam

Dominic

Charles

James – married Grace; My Uncle Jim and Aunt Grace

Rose – married Frank; My father and mother

Leonard

My Grandpa John and Grandma Mary (the G Family)

Had three Children

Frank – married Rose; My father and mother

Grace – married Jim; My Uncle Jim and Aunt Grace

Jimmy

My Uncle Jim and Aunt Grace (an F family)

Had four Children

Anna Jean

Leonard

Janet

Gary

My dad Frank and my mom Rose (an G family)

Had four Children

Marianne

John

Sam

Jessica