Our Nonni. My Gram.


This past weekend we lost the matriarch of our family. My Gram passed away after 96 years of living. She saw hardships, she was an orphan before being taken in by her aunt and uncle, she lived through WWII when her husband was in the army, and she had 7 children while working full time at the bar that her and my grandfather owned. She lost him, my grandfather, 42 years ago at the age of 57.

At that time she was a grandmother to 6 grandchildren. When she passed she had 20 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren, 1 on the way. Family was her everything. She came to everything and supported everyone.

She was equal parts tough and easy going. She was the one who calmed the family down and was able to steady the ship when things got wild…which happened often with the beautiful brand of wild that is our family. But she was also the one who came home from the hospital with baby #4 to find out that the cook at the restaurant was fired. So she went into the kitchen and took care of her new baby while cooking for the 100 or so people who came in for their meal.

When I think about my own memories with Gram there is a jumble of things that rush to the forefront. I think of warm pb&j sandwiches where the peanut butter melts into the jelly. Dancing around her house. Her watching our dog Bigsby. Soap Operas. The time my parents called the police because my twin sisters didn’t come home after dance class…they stopped by Gram’s for an impromptu visit. She was everywhere. Trips to Italy. She never missed a birthday. Or a card game. Never missed a dance recital. We will never stop missing her.

This picture was taken the last day before she went into hospice. Reny and Nonna share a birthday, a mere 91 years apart. I don’t know if I will ever be able to put into words what it means to me that my children were able to be with her on this day. That we are able to be here period. If we hadn’t taken this road trip then I would have most likely flown out here for this by myself. The fact that we get to be here together for this…well, if this is the only thing to come of us going on this trip, than it was worth it.

~ Us 5 with love

Jonathan Gordon