On a hot July afternoon, the nonnas are sitting on folding chairs at the curb, crocheting lace trim on linen handkerchiefs, and watching their grandchildren play in water spewing from a fire hydrant. “Too hot to cook tonight,” one says, “maybe I make sandwiches.”
The others almost in a chorus pooh-pooh her. “You know you’re going […]
South Brooklyn, 1947, Palm Sunday afternoon. Palm fronds cover a kitchen table where the nonnas sit weaving strands into sculptures. Each twists and braids and ties the green- edged leaves into crucifixes, wreaths, and miniature crosses. They glance at one another’s creations admiring the braiding technique, but never saying so.
“Now we finish these,” one […]
On a rainy afternoon, the nonnas are having coffee in the kitchen. In the next room, separated only by a doorway, their grandchildren are turning the pages of old photo albums and rifling through loose black-and-whites. A grandson rushes in and waves a photo at a nonna.
“Who’s this?” the child asks.
“He’s great grandma’s brother,” she […]
The nonnas like to have their own money to set aside in covered sugar bowls. They use the money for treats for grandchildren, for special gifts for their husbands’ birthdays, and of course, for the yards of yarn and fabric they need to crochet, knit, and sew. Pinafores for granddaughters are all the rage, and their machines whirr […]
The nonnas arrive in a backyard. Each drags a piece of rolled-up linoleum — a leftover from that on her kitchen floor. They are here to take part in an annual event, the covering of a fig tree to protect it from fall and winter weather. Up and down the block, retirees, nonnas, children, and ladies gather to save the […]