As a child the safe place in my mind was at Nonnas house, sitting on that old rusted yellow swing, in the heat of the summer, sipping cool glasses of Country Time Lemondade, the home that had been a part of my life for as long as I can remember where summer time meant porch swings, and Lemondade and winter time meant warm bowls of Pasta Fezel after school, its an Italian style soup, made with Tomato Sauce, Elbow Noodles, Northern White beans, and Garlic cloves, simple but delicious, and Christmas meant frehly baked Anisette Biscotti’s, Nonna’s place was the place we came together as a family and dreamed dreams as children sitting around the oak table, Nonno had built with his own two hands, that table that bore years of abuse, from pen marks and pencil marks from all the homework and stories that were created together, and as we grew older it meant memorizing Bible verses, and learning Italian, and putting together Scrap books, perhaps one of the last biggest memories I have of Nonna, before she got sick was putting together a scrap book going through pictures and memorabilla, somethings that dated back over a hundred years, I was determined to hold on to my roots, to hold on to the Italian culture I had been born into, though I was not a “Full Italian” I was and am American of course, but I am Italian equally as much, because it is the food, the culture and the memories that I relate to the best.
At eighteen, long before Nonna took sick, I once again found my safe place, friends, wonderful beliving friends, had invited me to see a play, Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames at a church in a small town near where we lived, and on that cool April Evening, I gave my heart to Jesus, when the Powerful words of the play made me realize just how much I had needed Jesus, I had grown up going between the Catholic Church with Nonna, and the Mormon Church with my family, and to this day if I had to choose between the two I would go to the Catholic Church, because the Mormon Church is just to occult like for me.
I learned earlier on though, what matters is not the denomination you are in, Nonna was Catholic, but she was one of the most amazing woman I knew, who believed in the Saving Grace of Christ, and celebrated with me when I decided to leave the Mormon Church, and when I talked to her about giving my heart to Jesus, she celebrated with me.
I still find my safe place, in the loving arms of Jesus, and in the memories he blesses with me…
Michelle Renee Kidwell