Friday, July 9, 2010

Memories of Nana

Today I wish to remember my Nana who passed away 3 years ago at the age of 101.  Nana was my father’s mother, and today would have been her birthday.

Nana was a wonderful grandmother and great grandmother.  We were very fortunate as kids to live in the same city, so we saw her often.  The memory I associate most with Nana was her cooking. It was spectacular.  She could make all the traditional Italian recipes, but she could also make the most wonderful one-pot meals from almost anything she had in the refrigerator.  

Every Wednesday she would cook up a big pot of pasta with either vegetables, beans, or meat, and drop it off at our house for our supper. All she asked in return is that we bring the empty dish back to her so she could fill up it again for us the next week.

Nana & Barry

When I was young, Nana would sometimes babysit for my siblings and me on a Saturday night and she would keep us entertained by making homemade pasta.  I remember being amazed as she made a little well  of flour right on the kitchen table and then cracked an egg into the center of it to start the dough.  She would roll it out by hand using a big wooden rolling pin that my grandfather had made for her. 

After rolling it out nice and flat, she would start at one end and roll it up like a long jellyroll and  then cut it into strips for fettuccini.  Our job was to unroll the strips of pasta and then hang them over the backs of the kitchen chairs to dry overnight. (She would cover the chair backs with cotton dishtowels first.)  The dried pasta would be used for Sunday dinner the next day.  Oh! I can still taste how yummy it was!

Xmas Eve 1980 A

Nana was always quick to lend a hand when needed.  Up until the last 10 years of her life she was still helping others.  She once had a job as an aide to an elderly couple, doing some cooking and light housekeeping.  Nana was older than both of them at the time.

Laura takes a wedding photo

In addition to her cooking skills, Nana was an avid crocheter.  She loved to use crochet cotton and the smallest of crochet hooks to make doilies and table cloths.  The Pineapple pattern was her favorite.  She gave me a beautiful crocheted table cloth in the Pineapple pattern as a wedding gift.


I asked Nana if she had ever made a quilt.  She told me that she had made one once, but that one day it was stolen off her clothesline in the backyard.  I was disappointed to think that not only had Nana lost her handiwork, but that I would have loved to have seen it.  Her response was, “Whoever took it probably needed it more than I did.”  That one line sums up Nana’s philosophy on sharing.  More than once I heard her say that there was always room for one more at the table.

Nana was a big part of our lives, and barely a day goes by that someone doesn’t mention her name.
Nana at 90
Thank you, Nana.  Happy Birthday!


  1. Oh what a sweeeeet, dear Lady! Thank you for sharing her with us. SO nice to remember such wonderful people... You have made me realize that it's important to make each day count and now I have to make these same kinds of memories for my grandchildren. I know you miss her. HUGS! XO

  2. You are lucky to have had her in your life for so long. That's a beautiful tablecloth she made. What a treasure--both the tablecloth and Nana!

  3. What a lovely post and memories! The pineapple crochet doily is amazing, such precise work! What a dear gift of heart she gave you! Homemade pasta, ahhh, yum! Have you had the courage to make homemade pasta yet, as she did with a well of flour on a table/counter? Thank you for a delightful blog!

  4. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories. They made me smile.

  5. I love your memories, too! The pineapple pattern was a favorite of my grandma, as well. I not only have a few of her doilys, I have the book she made them from. My mom saved everything. Thanks for the reminising.

  6. What wonderful memories you have of your Nana!! She sounds like a very special lady. The tablecloth is really beautiful and so nice that you have it to remember her by. Love the "pasta" story. Reminds me of how I used to make home made ravoli - dough from scratch just like your Nana's and then we'd roll them out, fill them with ricotta cheese mix and then put them on the bed on a clean sheet to dry before boiling them up. Yum, is right!!! Thanks for sharing some of your memories -

  7. Lovely post and thanks so much for sharing it. I especially love the part about making pasta on Saturday night. Lane

  8. Touching tribute! I particularly like the stories about making pasta and helping an elderly couple that was younger than her. Her comment about the stolen quilt reminds me of the children's book, Rueben and the Quilt. Have you read it? My children love it.

  9. What a beautiful tribute to a generous soul. Her comment about the person who stole her quilt says it all. We are so lucky when we have people like her in our lives.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...