Me, My Sister, My Grandfather on his 90th birthday, and my Chinese Hawaiian Grandmother.
Another busy week has just flown away. I have been renting a storage facility for many years next to my hotel to store food, wine, books, and stuff. I recently decided to give it up and create a storage area within the hotel premises. I had initially planned two weeks to clean it up. It took me a little longer due to the scavenger hunt it had become!
I found pictures of my grandparents working on their farm, harvesting grapes, shelling beans, working.
My grandparents were hard workers. My grandfather fought in WWII and would never talk about the war. The only thing he would say was ‘all those poor young people’
He was aboard a ship in the Mediterranean sea when the Germans sunk it and shot the survivors who were floating around the ship. Few survived. My grandfather was one of them. ‘Iddio un m’ha Vorsuto’ God didn’t want me he would say in Tuscan.
One of the things I like about old people is their ability to succinctly capture the essence of a discourse. My grandfather was brilliant that way. A man of few words, but aptly put together.
I found some wonderful pictures of the Grape Harvest.
‘La Vendemmia,’ the Grape Harvest, was always a happy time for me. As a young child I participated; willfully helping my grandfather’s friends. In retrospect I was probably a nuisance, but I was always made to feel as though my help was invaluable. My grandfather would call friends and people he knew to help, while my grandmother stayed at home to prepare the lunch to be served in the vineyard. She would prepare Panzanella, Roasts, Bean Salads, Stuffed Vegetables. ‘La Vendemmia’ was a special time. Friends and family would help one another with the harvest. Monetary compensation was not expected. My grandfather would trade their help with a wonderful dinner at the completion of the harvest, he would gift his friends and family with wine and olive oil. That’s how things were done back then. People would sing and recite poetry while picking grapes, there was always one person in the bunch who would tell jokes during lunch time. That was Nadeio’s job, my grandfather’s best friend. He was so funny. I can still hear him screaming and yelling.
Picking grapes is intense labour, but great fun nonetheless. My grandfather had a four wheel drive vehicle that looked like a little toy (Y10 which would fit 4 small italians, or 4 small American boys). I was once in the car with him and my grandmother and he tipped the car over! I was only six years old and managed to get out of the car easily. My grandmother, on the other hand was a diabetic, with all kinds of aches and pains. She was stuck in the car. We had to wait for help in an era when there were no cell phones. My grandfather was a reckless, fun, soul. He was a kind, generous soul.
This is where I spent my summers. This is where I learned about vegetables and what they smell like.
I grew up in a restaurant family. The restaurant was my life, therefore all of my memories were tied to a kitchen some way or another.
I felt it was time to tell you a little bit about my family.