As I took my hometown exit, I rolled down my car window and took a deep breath. I loved the smell of the air in the springtime… just like my Grandpa Frank. He would say ‘springtime is a time of new growth and new possibilities, so let’s get busy pruning the grapevine Elizabeth!’ I smiled as I thought of my Grandpa enjoying a glass of wine at Mr. Ferrucci’s Hardware Store. He would sharpen my Grandpa Frank’s pruning shears, while I ate a piece of candy. Now, those pruning shears hang in my barn in Vermont. I use them every spring to prune the grapevine I inherited, after the passing of my Grandpa Frank. I know my Grandma Marie is anxious for my return to our farmhouse, as we have much work to prepare for the summer and fall tourists. Our diners’ main income comes from seasonal travelers looking for some good home cooking and their purchase of some jam from our gift shop. Of course, our wine, made from Grandpa Frank’s recipe is very popular. One stop to make before I continue home to Southington, CT- exit 32.
I stopped at a local nursery to buy some flowers for my mother. I always bought my mother flowers on Mother’s Day. Why should this year be any different? I purchased some marigolds for my father, his favorite, so he wouldn’t feel left out. I will be unable to make the trip home on Father’s Day, so today they each get gifts! As I drove past St. Thomas Church, I took a left onto Waverly Road and pulled into the driveway. I turned off the radio and slowly parked near my parents’ pathway. I quietly retrieved the flowers, my shovel, and a watering can. I proceeded to my parents’ gravestone. I believe there is nothing that makes you become an adult as quickly as reading the dates of your parents’ birth and death on their gravestone. My mother passed away two years ago from an illness that my aunts would only whisper the name of in conversations. My father passed away a year later…in my opinion…of a lonely heart. Knowing my parents are together makes me happy. Not having them around for guidance brings the deepest pain in my heart.
After planting their flowers, and telling them all of my endeavors over the past year, I started to pack the gardening tools in my car. I glanced up as a lady around my age stared at me. I gave a wave and she walked in my direction. It was Katy, an old friend from high school and someone who helped me get my first publishing contract. Her parents were buried just a few hundred feet from mine. The conversation we were about to share would change my summer plans completely, not to mention the rest of my life. The course of action I took after my conversation with Katy was something that had to be done. As my Grandpa Frank would say, ‘when it’s family, you don’t ask how something happened, you just ask how you can help.’
‘Mama’s Bookends’ is the second story in the Manciano Family Trilogy. It is the bridge between the first story in the series, ‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’ and the last, ‘If There Hadn’t Been You’. ‘Mama’s Bookends’ will allow the reader to understand the bond Elizabeth had with her sister, Rose. The life changing events in this story will help the reader build a deeper & more compassionate understanding to the life choices Elizabeth’s nieces & nephew make in the last story of the Manciano Family Trilogy.
‘This story is a quick read, but one filled with many highs & lows. Some of the events weren’t always easy to write about, but they are real struggles faced by real women every day.’ Linda Massucci
‘This was an amazing story of family values, love and support, respect for each other, and “always have your back for the other”like bookends. Thank you, Linda Massucci for an awesome story, I loved it!’