It’s a very rainy Tuesday night here on Long Island and I just got back from picking my friend Dita up from the airport. Tomorrow is my birthday and I am in really good spirits, for whatever reason. I’m already starting to feel the love and just knowing that I am truly blessed by those around me, whether in a big way or simply in bit parts, makes me very happy.
An original painting of Vittoria with my dad
Catching up on Thanksgiving Thanks
Well there’s one more day left of November and I’ve still got 9 more things that I want to give thanks for. Even though Thanksgiving is over, it is never a bad time to sit back and appreciate the things you’ve got in life, for whatever it is you have, it’s yours and you should be thankful.
Gone but Not Forgotten: Nanny Vicky
I neglected one important person when I published my appreciation for those who were once in my life that have passed on and that person is my paternal grandmother Vittoria. Unlike most of my siblings, I was the only one in the family who had a close relationship with her. My sisters were young when she passed away from lung cancer back in 1983, and so they hardly have any recollection of her, and my brother…well, let’s just say that I was her favorite (admittedly unfair!) and so besides my dad, I’m probably the only one who really loved her.
Vittoria Odierno, or Nanny Vicky, was a beautiful woman and a fascinating story. To this day, no one is sure of many of the facts of her life, except that she was one of many siblings born in Trieste, Italy, and she got pregnant at a young age with my father. None of us know who my paternal grandfather was. Vittoria was a single mother when single mothers were unheard of.
Anyway, dad was born in 1941 during the height of World War II and once the tide of the war had turned and the Allies moved in to occupy the city, Vittoria met an American soldier named Norman Myers, who married her and brought she and young George to America. There’s plenty more to the story, but it’s something I think I may save for my first novel, whenever that comes, but for now I just want to speak a little of her and I.
I was Vittoria’s first grandchild and she couldn’t have been more proud of me. She doted on me throughout my young life and treated me like gold. I remember fondly her thick Northern Italian accent and that she always pronounced my name as “Joowan.” She took me out a lot and often told people that I was her son (she was a bit vain, lol!).
She had married a rich man later on in life and lived in a beautiful house in Bronxville, NY, which I visited during breaks from school. During those visits, she’d take me out every day to fancy restaurants and expensive boutiques, out to play BINGO with her friends, and running errands in her big beautiful Cadillac.
The way I look at things nowadays, I can see that Nanny Vicky was never the model grandmother, especially towards my siblings, and much of the attention she heaped upon me caused a lot of tension between my father and I, who had always been her number one. I know that even though she didn’t have the perfect life, I can appreciate the fact that she was a survivor all through her life. Besides, I know she loved me very much and how could I not have appreciated that?