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Monday, June 25, 2007

Finding Keys To My Past

My Grandma Lorenza's house keys hang in my home on a door I have distressed, antiqued, and 'altered' with rests in a corner near our table in our kitchen-dining area.

My memories of Grandma Lorenza (Lombardo) Mamola are vague...but I am thankful for the ones I have. I was around age four when she passed away. I remember it was a cold and rainy night on the day of her funeral. My siblings, cousins and I all stayed at our home. It was so cold that the older cousins made fudge candy and set it out on our front porch to cool and harden rather than the refrigerator. And this was southern California!

My most vivid memories of Grandma Lorenza are two things:

1. Her height - or lack of it... she stood 4' 9".

2. I can still see her attaching a hand-crank meat grinder to our pull-out bread board in the kitchen and grinding beef to make her meatballs for the pasta dinner we would have that night.

Grandma was born in Palermo, Sicily. She came to America by way of Ellis Island, N.Y., arriving on the ship named Verona...
on July 29, 1913 at age 30.


  • At 1:14 AM , Blogger BellaKarma said...

    It's a shame so much emphasize was put on that side of the family, and we are left with little history of Nana's Basque family. Hopefully that will soon change.

  • At 1:20 AM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    I agree - for a time as a child I thought I was ONLY Italian :) Finding out I was also French-Basque and Austrian ROCKED!

  • At 6:02 AM , Blogger Dagny said...

    As I was reading about Grandma Lorenza, I kept picturing Sophia from "The Golden Girls." Then you said "Sicily" and it was a done deal.

    You must find out more about your Basque ancestors. I have always found the Basque to be fascinating folks. During my first year teaching, I worked with a guy who is Basque. And surprise, surprise, he is rather artistic.

  • At 6:30 AM , Blogger Cre8Tiva said...

    how wonderful that you know from whence you came...have you been to ellis island...a remarkable place for those of us whose history are part of it...blessings, rebecca

  • At 12:12 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    Dagny, we have a wonderful friend in Europe who is doing all she can to help us find out more about our French-Basque heritage ....I hope we have some success!

    cre8tiva - I have only researched the Ellis Island website, which in itself is fascinating ...I have never been to New York :(

  • At 3:19 PM , Anonymous marita said...

    beautiful story jolene and fabulous picture of your grandma's keys. the work you did on the door is just amazing. i can see mamola right there in the kitchen, making the most tastfull pasta ever...i'm coming over to enjoy a plate with you all ;)

  • At 3:29 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    Thank you Marita...the most tasteful pasta ever would have come from my Mom - adding her French-Basque flair for making THE best pasta EVER ;-) So, it would be more of the Sarre you see in the kitchen :)

    You are welcome in our home and kitchen anytime for a vegetarian style pasta! Just say the word!! Or maybe we could just grab a pizza from Gina's around the corner...thats the way I like to cook now :)

  • At 3:52 PM , Anonymous PlumCrafty said...

    I love the picture, I love old keys - they are so mysterious. Its lovely you have so much information on that side of the family and I hope that you can piece together the other side of the family. My great-grandfather left my great-grandmother and ran off with his secretary so I have no history from that side of the family!


  • At 10:45 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    plumcrafty Kate...sorry you have no history from your great-grandfathers side....but you sure have an interesting story!!!!
    Yeah, I agree, old keys are mysterious!

  • At 4:41 AM , Anonymous Rochambeau said...

    So nice that you honor your Grandma Lorenza and keep her memories in your heart and her house keys as a link to her life. Beautiful photo.

  • At 11:03 AM , Blogger ~jolene said... is always so nice to 'see' you here visiting :) Thank You!


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