Lessons My Great Grandmother Taught Me

July 26, 2011


Today I am in New Jersey, scrambling quickly from the Cape across the Tri-State area to mourn and celebrate the life of my Great Grandmother, Sylvia Albanese, who passed away Sunday morning after nearly a hundred years of life. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Sylvia was first generation Italian-American. Over the course of her life, she was a mother, wife, sister, grandmother, and great grandmother. She was independent, fashionable, beautiful, smart, strong, and hard working.

Things I Learned From My Great Grandmother:

  1. Matching is important. Even when macular degeneration had taken most of her sight, she used to affix brightly colored ribbons or yarn to her slacks, so that she would know the difference between black and navy blue and match appropriately.
  2. Family is important. Having people who love you, and who stick with you through thick and thin, is one of the most beneficial assets one can have.
  3. Don’t take any sh*t. From anyone. Self-explanatory, but I’m pretty sure she never did and I try not to either.  Like that one time she married her second husband, a man quite a few years her junior, and spent her retirement playing golf, going to Florida, and enjoying her life – even though everyone said she shouldn’t.  Just like that.
  4. Love fiercely – love your family, love your partner, love people even as they are ill, be generous with those around you.
  5. Be true to yourself. Above all else.

I love you. I will miss you. I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to spend twenty-six years knowing you.

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