Sunday, June 28, 2009


My great-grandmother Josephine Rosaio was a tough lady, I don’t think she was afraid of anything or anyone. Lots of people still remember her old fashioned work ethic, colorful vocabulary and wild driving habits. As I’ve been preparing my little blog blurbs these past couple weeks, Grandmom has been on my mind a lot. I often wondered about this tough lady who buried two husbands and her three sons, parents, all of her siblings and friends - yet remained stoic in the face of it all.

Last fall my father and I went to the cemetery to clean the interior of the Rosaio family mausoleum. In the process of cleaning the little framed picture of my grandfather Rosaio that sits on the marble altar, I noticed something just barely sticking out of the bottom of the frame. It was a letter, folded tightly and tucked behind my grandfather’s picture. You can imagine our surprise, when we opened the frame and saw that the letter was written by Grandmom Rosaio forty some years ago, after her son - my grandfather Rosaio - had died suddenly at the age of 31. The grief expressed by Grandmom Rosaio - in Italian - was palpable, her tough exterior shattered by the sorrowful words she wrote in an attempt to understand her grief.

I’ll never forget the words in that letter, nor the way that Grandmom Rosaio never let her personal sorrow make her forget about life. This is the stock that we Giusvallìn come from, this endless perseverance and vivacity for life. Their blood flows in our veins - and we are stronger.

In the picture: Grandmom Rosaio; my younger sister Angela; my father Michael

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