Please join me on Saturday October 12th for the West Broadway Neighbored Association’s house tour – Where They Live/d. The Historic Armory District will be featured which is very close to my mother’s childhood home on Marshall Street. I’ll be selling and signing copies of A Girl From the Hill with the Old Crow herself! Click the link for more details. Hope to see you there!
Thanks to Martha Reynolds once again for featuring me on her blog. A Girl from the Hill is one of the hundreds of books that will be available at the Association of Rhode Island Auhors (ARIA) annual expo at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet this coming Saturday, December 2nd, 10am to 5 pm. Come visit- books make great gifts!
The Girl, with her fiance, in 1946
A Girl from the Hill is a tribute to my mother, who grew up on Federal Hill during the Great Depression. The collection of essays depicts her life of as one of laughter and love, as well as its share of suffering and sorrow.
Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood was, and still is, Rhode Island’s “Little Italy.” Thousands of Italian immigrants, including my grandparents, came to Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century to begin new, better lives. They struggled to assimilate into American culture, and my mother’s parents, Giovanni and Maria, tried their best to become John and Mary. My mom, their youngest of eight children, was full of joy, and enjoyed much of her childhood despite her mother’s struggle with diabetes.
I began the book merely as a simple exercise, to see if I could actually write a book…
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Every Father’s Day I think of my only favorite Wayne Newton Song- Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast. And there were a few slow walking Daddies around this weekend, for sure. But for what they lack in speed, they more than made up for in strength.
My gratitude is soaring out the window tonight, as I think about the weekend, the day, the great people I’m surrounded by.
I enjoyed a weekend of basketball and sweet little 12-year-old girls jacked up on candy. Girls who are really just little girls, but play basketball with strength, heart soul and determination of a platoon of Marines. Did I mention that they love each other like sisters? They do. So cool to watch my girl band with a bunch of other talented beautiful tough ass girls. I already thought she had a great gang of awesome friends before this. And nice parents. These girls are so lucky that they can live strong and beautiful simultaneously. Happy and proud of my girl – of all of the girls.
Sometimes, worry can totally consumes the Crow. She doesn’t get out of the house much these days, and with all the rain she can’t even sit on her deck and soak up some sun. That just amplifies her stress levels. Today she was worried about a change in my Dad’s meds. I had all the info, but in addition to calling me about the changes, the doctor’s office also called her. This is a mistake, because my mother often gets confused and is so worried about potentially getting the instructions wrong, that she invariably will. So she wanted to call me to confirm what she thought she hear about my dad’s potassium dosage.
Except with the Crow, if she calls you and you don’t answer, she just doesn’t leave a message. She keeps calling you until you pick up the phone. It doesn’t matter if it’s important or not. If she wants the answer she will not relent. So she didn’t.
Sitting in sort of an important meeting I let her first call go. The second one I began to panic myself: is this an emergency? I always forget about her compulsion to know the answers when I see that number and “Mom and Dad” come up on my phone more than once.
So I snapped at her a bit. “Mom, you can’t keep calling and hanging up when I don’t answer. Leave me a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I can.” It’s awkward taking calls in a very quiet meeting where my boss is presenting important information that I cannot afford to miss.
She snapped back “I won’t call you at work any more then.” All or Nothing.
Two dear people wrote two awesome customer reviews for A Girl from You Know Where on Amazon.com these past few days. I am so grateful for their thoughtfulness and consideration. You can check them out directly on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Hill-Mothers-Journey-American/dp/1452569444/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371084659&sr=1-1&keywords=a+girl+from+the+hill
or just take a read below – I do feel lucky. Thanks kevinsmom and jovina! Much love and gratitude to you both.
What a cool day. At our very first, and hopefully far from last, book reading and signing for A Girl From the Hill today, I was again reminded how much I love my friends and family.
Believe me, there is no feeling better than being surrounded by people who love and support you, and who truly enjoy watching and listening as you live a tiny piece of your dream.
I started A Girl From the Hill nearly three years ago. My mother and I both put in a lot of work, me listening, writing, re-writing and thinking long and hard about some tough subjects; my mother telling me things to be shared publicly that haven’t even been shared with everyone in her family. Pain, suffering, loss. Things that change a person forever. She revisited these places with me, along with going back to lots of good places. We certainly had laughs going back to Marshall Street together.
I had nightmares about today all week. One dream with 174 people packed into the tiny Davisville Free Library where I spoke. One with people yelling out questions which I couldn’t answer. Once with all of my family screaming at me. Boy am I uptight.
The good news is that a beautiful little library opened its doors to me, my family and friends for an hour or so of reading, laughing and sharing. And Dahlia enjoyed it so much, more than I imagined. I felt such the pride watching her and listening to her, answering questions, laughing, feeling the adoration of the group and giving it right back.
And even though I spent the day fretting and fussing and driving my poor sister Maree nuts, getting to the point where the poor woman couldn’t even watch the traffic for me as I backed out of my mother’s driveway, once I got settled in everything changed. In the moment, exactly where I was meant to be at exactly the right time. Satisfaction and contentment from bringing our work full circle.
I don’t know how I’ll do at our next gig, with perhaps more strangers and less familiar faces. But today, my peeps gave me the strength, courage and determination to do this again. Me and the Crow are ready for it.
I have been saying wow to myself a bit more than usual tonight. Wow for the man who rescued those poor women from a decade of torture, and then refused a reward. Wow to the people out there who are actually criticizing him.
And when I read this post just now Warning: Crazy., about the labels that don’t come with the mentally ill, again, wow. So beautifully written, I just wanted to cry for the author and her brother. We all need to open our eyes a little wider because it mental illness can happen to anyone, to any degree, and none of it is funny for the persons suffering and the people who love them. I’m sure I’ve done my share of ignorant snickering, so I will make every effort to open my eyes and remember to treat people the way I would like to be treated. Some very cool guy said that a few thousand years ago and it’s still the strongest truth I know.