When writing family memories, my thinking goes to food and to my Noni Arata.
Basil is just an ordinary herb, but whenever I smell it, wherever I might be, I think of Noni. I also picture her in her sunlit, shiny clean kitchen, perhaps with a pot roast and gravy bubbling on the stove and raviolis boiling away next to it. She didn’t always make pesto (hence the basil), however, for some reason the scent of fresh basil is synonymous with Noni for me.
Noni was born on October 12, 1899, to Italian immigrants who had made the journey from Liguria, Italy, to San Francisco, California. When I was old enough to remember her, long before I ever thought of writing family memories, she lived alone in Redwood City, just thirty minutes south of San Francisco. She is the grandmother I knew the best, since she lived the closest to us. She was a happy-go-lucky lady, always smiling and laughing. In writing family memories, I don’t remember her sad or depressed, unless the occasion warranted that. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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