Sunday Story: Zia Wanda’s Way. A heartwarming reflection about people that never leave us…

This story is a memory of my dear great aunt, Wanda. Although it is a personal story, the universal principle highlights the importance of creating human connections and relationships. The memories we create are like movies we play in our mind long after that person leaves this earth. Enjoy!

️Never miss a day with Zia Wanda!

She picked us up at 9 a.m sharp in her white Panda Fiat. You knew she arrived by the screeching tires and honking of the horn. You better be ready or she might leave! And trust me, you didn’t want to miss a day with her. Zia Wanda (Tata) was my Nonna Laura’s sister and basically second grandmother. She didn’t have children of her own. We were her golden angels.

️The spit fire personality loved by all

Zia Wanda was a spit fire and life of the party with a heart of gold. She dressed to impress, only herself, and didn’t understand why all the heads turned when she walked down the street.

Traditions aren’t boring they keep memories alive

️Our first stop was always Rita Boi a famous cafe/bar where we had the exact same breakfast year after year. It wasn’t boring it was stylish. They saw her and immediately brought a cappuccino and cornetto a la marmellata. I loved knowing what to expect. It’s the movie I replay in my head whenever I miss her. Next stops- the same vegetable stand, butcher shop, and market. She made friendly banter with everyone and called us ‘her girls’. She held my hand tight and made me feel like gold.️

Magic coloring books worth more than gold

If we were good we got Disney magic pen coloring books when she got her newspaper. No matter how bad we were-we always got the coloring books. She said the memory of a good time is more important than defining the day by a small mistake.

Feeding us like her little birds

️We returned to her apartment and she feed us a fresh slice of prosciutto right in our mouth as we looked up at her- “my little birds”. We ate farfalle pasta con sugo, fresh salad, and the best steaks you can imagine. We finished with fresh fruit and then passed out on the sofa and watched reruns of Murder She Wrote in Italiano. She always made us laugh and reminded us not to take life too seriously.

Memories are movies that you replay forever

️Days with Zia Wanda are like your favorite movie you’ve seen a hundred times. You know the ending, yet, it’s still your favorite. You crave that familiar scene. It’s not boring. It’s predictable and lovable. That’s why watching Notting Hill for the 100x still makes me cry. It’s the nostalgic familiarity more than the scene. Today, I miss her endlessly. My heart physically aches. I close my eyes and relive our movie. She’s holding my hand tight and telling me I’m still golden ️.

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Written with Amore, Elena 

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