After she'd read Unto the Daughters, one of my fellow Italian genealogists posed an interesting question on both the PIE and COI genealogy listservs. She has given me permission to share it here with my readers.
I'm noodling an answer as I plumb my personal feelings about the differences/similarities between omerta' and la bella figura vis a vis not only the book, but in light of my decision to tell Frances' story.
With Karen Brattesani's permission, here is what she posted:
When I was a child, May was the month of bright yellow forsythia, fuzzy fat pussy willow, and the May altars my classmates and I concocted from shoe boxes disguised with tinfoil and adorned with doilies, flowers real and artificial, and glow-in-the-dark or dashboard-sized statues of the Virgin Mary. The time of First Holy Communions and, ultimately, the pageant to crown Mary's statue at the side altar of church, May was probably the month when I first learned "Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue" by Mary Dixon Thayer, a poem/prayer I memorized in grade school.
This May, I am thrilled to share the current issue of Ovunque Siamo, the online journal of New Italian-American Writing edited by Michelle Messina Reale, in which my Madonne Nere inspired riff on Thayer's poem appears.
Here is a taste of my LOVELY LADY, DARK OF HUE,:
Lovely Lady, dark of hue,
Teach me how to pray.
A god was born your little boy,
Tell me what to say
When you sat him, as he grew,
Gently on your knee
Did you sing to him the way
My mother sang to me?
Did he hold your hand at night?
Did you ever cry
Telling him stories of the world?
Ah! Then did he pry
The deepest secrets from your soul —
The name of every herb,
Of every sacred flower
You sowed to save the earth?
Lovely lady, darkly hewn
From an ancient tree....
November 13, 2009, marked a century since the tragedy at the Cherry Mine. Sunday, March 15, 2009, was the official day of remembrance in Cherry, and descendants from around the world gathered to commemorate our country's worst coal mine fire.
As part of the observance, a memorial built through contributions was dedicated next to the Cherry Library. Donors purchased pavers at $150 each, which were inscribed with names of miner ancestors, family names or greetings.
My co-author, Jill Gregory, and I both loved these two beautiful tributes to the special people our contest winners wrote about. Both capture the essence of a Lamed Vovnik, one of the 36 righteous souls born in every generation, whose goodness keeps the world in existence. Both of our contest winners received autographed copies of THE BOOK OF NAMES, WOLF RIVER, and UNTO THE DAUGHTERS.
On Sunday, April 6, 2008, I went with friends to the Detroit Opera House to see La Sonnambula -- I was not familiar with the libretto so I’d printed out a synopsis of the opera before we left, then forgot to bring it along. (I also forgot to bring Kleenex, but didn’t think I’d be in need of tissues.)
La Sonnambula is the story of a young woman, Amina, betrothed to be wed the next day. The celebration of her betrothal to Elvino is interrupted by one of the most common plot devices ever -- a stranger comes to town. This stranger (actually the village’s long absent count) showers her with compliments to the dismay of Elvino, a jealous man.
On Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21, hear me chat with Florine Mark about my books, career and background on her "Remarkable Woman" radio program.
Florine and I recently spent an intense and interesting half hour taping the show in the studios of WMGC-FM. The vivacious president and chairman of the board of The WW Group, Inc. (Weight Watchers), is a warm and probing host who manages to cover a lot of territory in just a half hour. I hope you'll enjoy the interview as much as I did.
Here are the program's air times for five markets throughout Michigan