Tag Archives: book reviews

Friday Writings January 11, 2013

This afternoon I will attend a Life Story Writing class. It is an ongoing weekly class. I have been wanting to do this for a while. I have been writing my family history for quite some time, and this class might possibly give me some insight or some instruction on how to coordinate everything into a fascinating and interesting read for family members. Writing a family history is one thing, making it interesting is another. Words, words, words, they are definitely important, but so is the content within the prose and the photographs in order to make it an enjoyable reading journey.

Speaking of family history, my second cousin was in contact with me this week. She and I exchanged several ancestral photographs, ones I did not have, and ones she did not have. They are the last of the remaining ancestral photos from my collection and from hers. So much was lost throughout the years and we cherish the little we have. We both are avid genealogists for our family, and contact each other every so often for updates.

I found out some interesting information regarding my Italian maternal ancestors: My great grandfather did actually apply for citizenship in 1894, and was granted it, which in turn automatically granted my great-grandmother, and granted my grandmother, then twelve-years old, citizenship. I did not know that he had applied. I have a copy of his naturalization papers. I was able to send my second cousin information she did not have. Caring through sharing, that is what I say, regarding ancestral information.

It is always exciting to peek into the past through photographs. I had always heard about the family store that my mother’s parents owned. She spoke of it off and on through the years. I never asked my grandmother about it, and, as we all know, time reaches out and grips us, and before we know it, it is too late to ask questions.

Lo and behold, one of the photographs is one of the family Stationery and Cigar store that my maternal grandparents owned. I was thrilled to receive it, printed it, and stared at it for the longest time. I am still in awe over it. The mysterious store that we have all heard about, but that nobody in the family actually knows about, as far as where it is located. There is no street address, just three numbers on the awning and the front window. My first cousins know nothing about the location, but, we have the photograph! The precious photograph.

I see the pastries in the window, all baked by my grandmother. I can still taste her delicious cannoli. Although cannoli originated in Sicily, they are associated with the pastries of Italy, not just location specific, like they might have been 100 or more years ago.

My grandparents had to close down the store about five years after the crash of the stock market in 1929.

Montanaro store frontjpg

My grandmother is standing with my aunts. They were about nine and six, give or take a year. My mother was not born yet. There was a thirteen-year and a ten-year age difference between her and her sisters.

In other news:

I participated in Inquisition and the Jews, an online video course through Rutgers University. The content was well-researched and there were a few points regarding the Inquisition/s that I wasn’t aware of. Thank you, Leora, for the recommendation. Speaking of Leora, check out her latest Swirly Gig, along with her reviews!

I reviewed the book The Life of an Unknown Man, by Andrei Makine. And, I also reviewed Open Heart, by Elie Wiesel.

I have read several books since last Friday, and one of them is Conversations With Elie Wiesel and Richard D. Heffner.

I have also read Until the Dawn’s Light, by Aharon Appelfeld, have read Family Pictures by Jane Green, and also Gentile New York: The Images of Non-Jews Among Jewish Immigrants, by Gil Ribak, to name three others.

Visit Hannah to see her delicious sounding recipe for Salmon Balsamico.

Shabbat Shalom!

January 11, 2013 – 29 Tevet, 5773

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