“I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.” (Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932)
There are few things I can say in the span of three minutes to truly capture the life of Julia. But what I can do is paint you a picture of what it was like to see my grandmother through my eyes…
As a small child, I spent many afternoons running between the yards of my grandmothers’ houses on Theresa Drive. I would show up to the porch of one to eat macaroni while running through the garden to pick fresh tomatoes for another. These tomatoes often made their way into a salad that she would turn into a masterpiece by adding fresh basil, or balsamic vinegar, which would receive her sounds and gestures of awe as its final garnish.
The values of putting family first, preparing holiday meals, and taking the utmost care with one’s appearance (and Christmas tree) are a few of the many values my grandmother passed along to me. Through her relationships, my grandmother taught me invaluable lessons that have become part of the daily fabric of my life…I remember the care packages she prepared for my uncle when he would come home to visit during college, the clothes and recipes she made by hand with my mother to make each special occasion just right, or the way she doted over her parents and supported them as they grew older. For me there were the days we would spend listening to Donna Summer records or the soundtrack to South Pacific and other Broadway show tunes, which she would whistle note for note, much like her father Neil who always whistled too.
And among her many talents- such as designing murals, painting watercolor, or making amazing cakes, My grandmother’s greatest work of art was her marriage to the love her life, my grandfather Guido, with whom she rejoiced in marriage for 62 years. Together they shared a beautiful home, raised two incredibly bright and gifted children, Judy and Steven, took amazing trips across Europe and the United States, and spent many Summer vacations in one her favorite places- Cape Cod Bay. For all of their adventures, Julia always brought home a little taste of something new- a new spice for cooking, a different twist on fashion, or a unique perspective on art. No matter what it was, she loved taking in life as a connoisseur of senses, flavors, and sounds, and all of this brought even more richness to the love my grandparents shared.
This past weekend, I had the privilege of looking through my grandmother’s photographs, and for a few moments I also had the honor of seeing the world through her eyes… and I have to tell you that she saved everything. There’s a little bit of each of you tucked into those books and boxes: baby pictures, invitations, postcards, programs, Polaroids from family parties and holidays, and a million endeavors to capture just the right sunset… We can rest assured today that Julia loved us, and loved nothing more that to take pride in her family. Today let us celebrate my grandmother and honor her by being together …in the spirit of art, music, sunshine, and family meals…Today let us see all the wonder in the world and one another through Julia’s eyes. Peace be with everyone.