THE KEY TO MY GRANDFATHERS HOUSE

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… a very personal, yet universal story of an immigrant, Italian-American family …
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M
y brother Doug and I, along with two Italian Aunts, went to Italy, the place of my father’s birth. After traveling all over the world … Africa, China, India, the Philippines, and more,  I did not expect that this trip would affect me more deeply than any trip before.

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My brother, the journalist, usually writes his emotions but felt the need to turn to photography to help express his feelings. I usually photograph things that are important to me but, my usual medium felt insufficient to interpret what I felt, and I started writing.

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The Key to My Grandfather’s House was the result.  I kept the story to myself for over a year, not knowing why.  Then, something even more significant than this trip happened. I realized that my story was lacking a conclusion until the events recounted in the last chapter.

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PLEASE NOTE: Personal privacy is a very high priority for me. Thus, I use only the first names of family members mentioned in The Key to my Grandfather’s House. My purpose here is not to share family secrets; it is to explore the shared, universal realities of an immigrant family background. If you are interested in genealogy or similar quests, please leave a comment below and I will pass on your name to family members involved in that search.

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ALSO NOTE:  I don’t claim that this is poetry or any other named medium or phone. I just began writing. I perform “The Key to my Grandfather’s House” as a “spoken word” essay, most recently with indescribable poet and spoken word artist, Ron Whitehead and the Third Eye Cabaret in Charleston, West Virginia. Many of the page and line breaks in The Key, are an attempt to express the deep feelings tapped in writing this story as if I was reciting it to you. 

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Now, please find a few minutes to sit quietly and enjoy chapter one of, “The Key to My Grandfather’s House.” Click the Keyhole below to begin. Also, your candid comments would be very welcome. Use one of the comment forms at the bottom of each page.

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2 Comments

  1. I spent about a half an hour composing a stunning reply Alas, it is difficult to put my reaction in words. I will post the full reply soon, but, for now — This was beautiful in SO many ways.

  2. HERE IS THE REST OF MY COMMENT ON YOUR WONDERFUL STORY – I don’t know what to say. This is so beautifully written. I laughed and cried. I wanted to comment on much of what you captured, but lost track of the many thoughts and emotions our story evoked — how fortunate to have this story about my brothers’ journey back to our roots and the soil from which our ancestors were nourished, and depleted. Recently I attended the funeral of a co-worker – about my age. As his friend sang from somewhere deep in his heart, I realized that art (whether music, stories, poetry, paintings, dance, photographs….) is maybe the most expressive way we are able to express that which is inexpressible. Art is a solitary, yet shared journey for those willing or able to create or be touched by it. Your story captures both the journey by plane, trains, and cows, but also the internal journey through the deeply artistic probing. To read your story, I stopped and took a break from reading meaningless documents that financially support me. It was a needed break. And, I’m also inspired to stop and read Dougaley’s blog for his version of the journey. Not to find the time, but to make the time to move, even temporarily, from the lifeless, but necessary efforts to those pursuits that nourish the soul. I’m grateful to both of you for capturing our intriguing past, linking it to our present, and eventually shaping our future. So much to say … I’m glad this is not limited to 140 characters, like Facebook.

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