Last night I dreamt of many beautiful places. I dreamt I went to New York with a bunch of friends. We shopped and played and traveled everywhere we could on the subway. It was very reminiscent of my time there in 1988. Not much had changed and I felt very confident and safe being there.
Later, I found myself in Italy – where I’ve never been – visiting my distant family for a couple days. Funny me, after I’d been in Italy for a day and knew I was going home the next day, my brain began wondering how I was going to get back in America because I don’t have a passport. I had this whole dialogue with the me now and the dreaming me…
How did you get into Italy without a passport?
I used my birthcertificate.
Oh. I thought you had to use a passport.
You do. They let me go just this once.
Funny how dreams work out like that.
At any rate, Italy is beautiful. The family home in which I was staying was warm and inviting, made of old stone and hardwood floors that gleamed with a polished sheen. There was an old stone fireplace the had a gently roaring fire in it. Above the fireplace there was a projection of a slideshow containing my family’s art. On every wall there were masterpieces of art. Some of the created by my family. Some of them were massive puzzles they had done together then Hodge Podged them and framed them. Some of them were famous pieces by famous artists. Everywhere I looked, I was delighted.
I discovered that my cousin had created all of the art and animation for a 1/2 hour children’s movie about Jesus that was popular over there. She showed parts of it to me and I wanted to cry with the beauty of it. The colors were vibrant. I remember her saying how she loved using the rose and azure the best. The movie reminded me of a children’s book I had once read and she had portrayed Jesus so lovingly and real. I remember feeling so much love and passion radiating from her and realized that was how I felt when I created my art.
I walked through the house several times throughout my stay, falling in love more and more with the place. At one point, we were all gathered in the kitchen – a longstanding tradition on my Italian side – and I realized that Grandma Faye (who was married to my Italian Grandpa, but died in springtime 2003) was there and I felt such happiness to see and hug her. I felt the touch of her hand on my cheek and smelled her familiar scent – roses. And there, looking out the window at the backyard was Grandpa Vic (my Italian Grandpa who hasn’t been the same since Faye died and is now in a home for Alzheimer’s patients) and I kissed his cheeks and ruffled his dignified, silky white hair – our little “thing” that he always let me do. He is such a proud man and always looks his best. Ruffling his hair was the absolute worst thing because then he looked mussed up. But he would let me.
I stood between them and we looked out the window. The backyard was a miniature version of their backyard of their home in which they lived for over 50 years on Signora Drive in Rose Park. I remember saying to them, “This reminds me of the old backyard on Signora Drive. Especially that tree.”
Grandpa had a thing for trees. He planted a ring of trees around his backyard – all fruit bearing – and then spent an exorbitant amount of time complaining and fighting off the birds that were attracted to the fruit.
When it came to wake up, I felt sad. I wasn’t ready to leave Italy or my grandparents. But I was grateful for the time I had had there.