Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers by Adriana Trigiani
If you're very, very lucky, Adriana Trigiani's memoir, Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers, will remind you of one of your grandmothers. They don't even need to be Italian, as Trigiani's were. They just need to be strong, independent women, who made lives for themselves, and inspired their grandchildren. Trigiani made me appreciate my grandmothers all over again.
Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of books such as Big Stone Gap and Very Valentine. As you read the stories of her grandmothers, Yolanda Perin Trigiani (Viola), and Lucia Spada Bonicelli, you not only read about their lives and their lessons, you see the roots of Trigiani's stories. Viola was co-owner, with her husband, of a blouse factory, The Yolanda Manufacturing Company, in Martins Creek, Pennsylvania. Lucia Spada Bonicelli, was a seamstress, who lost her husband, a shoemaker, early in life. She continued to live in Chisholm, Minnesota, where she sewed and sold factory-made shoes. But, she walked to the public library every day, and her twin daughters, one of whom was Adriana's mother, grew up to be librarians. If you're a faithful reader of Trigiani's novels, I'm sure you've seen her characters and storylines in these short notes about her grandmothers.
But, Trigiani's grandmothers provided so much more than the meat for her stories. She says she learned important lessons, how to create a fulfilling, peaceful, gracious, and secure life. Admittedly, she goes into a great deal of detail in this book, but the advice she received over the years is worth sharing. Trigiani doesn't hesitate to point out how disappointed her grandmothers would be in the direction taken by this country. Her grandmother, Viola, wouldn't approve of a country that sends its manufacturing overseas, taking jobs away from Americans. Lucy, a widow who sent three children to college, "Could not fathom Chisholm without a library, and wherever we live, we should not either."
As a granddaughter, and a widow, it's inspiring to read about two women who flourished after forty, working and sharing life with family and friends. Don't Sing at the Table offers lessons for life. But, if you're lucky, as I was, you will also remember lessons from the strong, independent women in your own lives.