This story cracks me up no matter how many times we talk about it as a family! I am thankful that my family always has stories and we love joking around and telling them. I always say that because my parents were 20 and 21 when I was born that I was an experiment and they were kids raising kids! Of course I would not change this for the world! I was lucky to have my parents grow up with me and that is why we are so close.
Let’s bring this back to Circa July, 1981 – My parents were just about ready to buy a house and they could not find the perfect home so my father suggested we go on a family vacation to Italy to see family! We took a three week vacation and I was just a few weeks shy of my 5th birthday and Chris just shy of his 2nd birthday. Vacation was great from what I remember! Of course there was the language barrier, me and Chris did not speak once ounce of Italian so that made it hard to communicate with my Aunts, Uncles, Cousin and Grandmother.
Speaking of my Grandmother (god rest her soul). My father’s mother Marie was not the most loving of grandmothers (well at least not to the girls), she had three boys and became a widow early in life, according to her the boys well they were princes. I was the first granddaughter which let’s just say was a challenge. Because of this I have really funny stories! This one is my particular favorite.
On our visit to Italy in July of 1981 we visited some family in Anzio for the day. Anzio is very historic for many reasons. For those that know me this story is truly ironic because I love to go to Italy and pray to the Saints and visit different saints and so on. When I was 5 of course I had no idea what was going on.
In Anzio there is a very famous Saint, Saint Maria Goretti she became a Saint when she died at the age of 11. Her father was a widow and cared for her siblings and father after her mother passed. She was home alone and a 19 year old man tried to rape her and she repeatedly told him it was a mortal sin and would rather die than to submit to him to he choked her and stabbed her 11 times. Most of the stories of Saints are tragic and hard to understand why someone must go through so much pain and agony to become a Saint.
In Italy when you become a Saint they say your body does not decay and they put it on display in church. You take pictures, you pray for miracles and maybe attend mass while you are visiting.
So I mentioned you take pictures. This was me at 5 years old. Scared out of my mind sitting in front of dead bodies at Saint Maria Goretti, I am still not sure why my Grandmother thought this was a good idea. I remember thinking this body was moving and please let this just be over fast!
Fast forward 20 years later, I was 25 years old and I was in Italy with my parents, Uncle Nicky and Aunt Rose and we tried to visit family in Anzio and while there we decided to pay a visit to Saint Maria Goretti. What a brilliant idea we had let’s take the same photo 20 years later and pretend that I am just as afraid!
Success! We have both of these photos in a photo album side by side. It’s a memory good or bad! I laugh about the story now. My grandmother has since past and now that my Italian is better I would loved to have asked why I needed to sit in front of the dead Saints????
The moral here is: Maybe I should thank my Grandmother after all now in my 30’s one of my favorite parts of traveling to Italy is to visit Saints and pray for miracles and bring people back home Saints for their cars, home and purses!