|To Kalon "I" Block|
It prompted me to think about the arc of my family, in that both my grandfathers came to America for different reasons. One, my mother’s dad, Attilio, was trying to escape the most abject of poverty. He was married and left his wife (a “white widow”) and young son. Eventually they joined him, and after four more children were born, they separated. He went on to other pastures.
When nonno Alfonso saw an opportunity to move his young family to Los Angeles, he didn’t waste a moment. It was a very good time to be in LA, all options were open. It resembled his native Sicily in weather with unlimited access to sun, soil and water. They enjoyed local olives, artichokes, tomatoes and assembled a life similar to the one they had known as children. And of course, there were grapes.
Nonno Alfonso loved land. I’m told he had a plot in Cucamonga, which was the epicenter of a young California wine industry. By the time I arrived, those vines in Cucamonga were already old. Driving past them on our many trips between LA and Palm Springs, those vines, untrellised and head-pruned, spoke to me. I often wondered who they were. To a youngster with an imagination, they were more like people than vines. I was sure we were related somehow.
Now I know we were. The vines the Italians bought with them were as much family as their children.
As a speaker in the PBS show said, “My grandfather made my life possible today.” For all of us American-Italians, this is true. The sweep of my family’s life extended from Italy to Texas to California. And then, for me, a return to Texas. I am in the middle, between the birthplace of my grandparents and my childhood homeland. I’m still very much a Californian in my heart, but my soul is all Italian. Thank you nonno, both of you, and nonna, both of you as well. For without my grandmothers I would have never known the reason why we have wine – something magical to drink with their wonderful cooking.
wine blog + Italian wine blog + Italy W