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August 30, 2012

Silver Linings

Giacomo & Slick

Life is Full of Surprises

My mother wasn’t the smartest person in the world. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t stupid, she wasn’t even “not intelligent,” but she would never wow anyone with her fierce intelligence. She wasn’t the funniest person either. She had a sense of humor, but in our family her humor always seemed to be in the background—perhaps because my father was so entertaining.

As I think back on my time with her, there are a lot of things my mother “wasn’t.” But there was one thing she always was, and that’s supportive. She might also have been the most optimistic person I’ve ever known. No matter what happened, no matter how tragic, she would find a way to see a bright side. “There’s always a silver lining,” she used to say. That attitude extended to people also. She never saw the bad in people. When the movie Jaws first came out, my wife joked that my mother would say, “what nice teeth the shark had.”

Silver linings

I took all this with a grain of salt, often finding it difficult to buy into my mother’s philosophy. I found it particularly difficult a few years ago when my youngest son almost died from drugs. He spent weeks in the ICU, was almost dead, life ruined, and to top it off my wife and I had to find some way to get him cured.

When he was physically able, we put him in a rehab center. Let me tell you, if anyone had mentioned silver lining to me at that time, I think I’d have hit them. It was plain and simple—there was no silver lining here.

And then…

Two months after going into treatment, we saw hope. Not a bright shining light. Not a sunny day at the beach. But a glimmer. He seemed to be taking to rehab and buying into the program. Six months later, he was working at a center and helping to manage a halfway house. Within a year, he was running a new rehab facility. Shortly afterwards he met a wonderful woman—Kristan.

Three Years

It has been three years almost to the day since we checked Tony into the rehab center. And three weeks ago, he and Kristan blessed us with a new granddaughter—Adalina Sofia Giammatteo.

Adalina Sofia Giammatteo

I met Adalina a few hours after she came into this world. She’s got a full head of dark hair and Kristan’s long legs (a promising sign for our family) and she seems to have an appetite that won’t quit. I don’t know much more about Adalina yet, but one thing I do know. We wouldn’t have her if Tony hadn’t gone into rehab. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have met Kristan.

It’s taken three years, but I see now that my mother was right—there is always a silver lining.

Ciao, and thanks for listening,

Giacomo

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of Murder Takes Time, and A Bullet For Carlos. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 41 loving “friends.”

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photo credit: clkohan via photo pin cc

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6 Responses to “Silver Linings”

  1. Your mother was not only smart but prophetic as well.

    Congratulations on the new grand baby. She’s beautiful! And such a lovely name. It’s perfect.

  2. Grazie, Maria. Mikki is already planning “day trips” to spend time with her.

  3. Giacomo. Thanks for your note. Silver Lining. Wow on steroids. Hope it’s “nothing but blue skies from now on”. Jerry

  4. Ciao, Jerry: I loved your article. Reminded me so much of growing up in our neighborhood with so many relatives around, and half of them with the same name. And then all the nicknames… And you have got to be so proud of your daughter; she’s a very talented writer, and, a super nice person. I feel the same about mine. My daughter writes for several of the Italian-American Newspapers doing a genealogy column and she finds some great stories in her research. Have a great day, Jerry. Thanks for stopping by. One of our cousins was a Giuliano, but this was down in the Wilmington, DE area.

  5. Ciao Giacomo. Like me, I bet you connect with some of those long ago friendships and, it seems,no time has passed since last meeting decades ago. Just a tiny interruption… a comma in a sentence. Another silver lining.
    When others see “super nice”; those are proud moments. Does your daughter also write Italo-American magazines? 1st time in Italy, I learned Giuliano is a popular given name. Guess the folks didn’t have enough lire to warrant a surname. Still wouldn’t change a thing. Have a good one. Harry Viderci.

  6. Exactly. I have heard from a lot of people I grew up with in the old neighborhood since this book came out, and it’s been great to connect with them. As to my daughter, yes, she is an Italian genealogist and writes columns for several Italian-American newspapers. La Voce in Vegas, Houston, and others. She has some articles posted on her site: http://www.rootsintheboot.com. Great reads!

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  • This blog will be a little different from many you see. Contrary to the characters in my books, I don’t really kill people, or catch those who do, so the blogs might be about reading, or writing, or animals. These are the things I have great passion for. It might also contain posts about food, or ancestry, or substance abuse. My oldest son is a great cook. My daughter is a genealogist (rootsintheboot.com) and my youngest son is a recovering drug addict. He has been clean for three years, and runs a rehab center (intoactionrecovery.com).

    I hope you enjoy the posts, and please let me know what you think.

    Ciao,

    Giacomo

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