In Italian families, our grandparents played a vital role in passing down family traditions. They were always around for whatever you needed and always had a good story or a life lesson at the ready. Sadly, many people never get to know their grandparents. Here are five things people wish they had asked them.
1. What is your recipe?/How do you make that?
This is by far the biggest regret many Italian grandchildren have. As they grow older they have vivid memories of grandparents’ creations, but can never seem to get it right when they try on their own. Sometimes, these recipes are treasured secrets that are guarded more heavily than any national treasure. However, if you can, try and get that recipe out of them, you won’t regret it.
2. What was your childhood like?
Sharing childhood memories is a great bonding experience and often leads to some of the best stories. Growing up, most kids don’t think to ask their grandparents about their pasts. They are more focused on their own lives, and unless your grandparent volunteered the story, chances are you’ll never hear it. Getting a first-hand account is the best and will give you better insight into who your grandparents are. Just make sure to fact check some of those stories if you can, especially if some of Nonno’s tales just aren’t adding up.
3. Where is our family from?
There are a startling number of Italians who left Italy and never again talked about their homeland. Most immigrants wanted to acclimate and become apart of their new country, but in doing so, they lost a piece of history. Make sure you ask your grandparents where they are from in Italy. It will provide so much insight into the traditions of your family, and you might even be able to look up some distant relations. Yes, there are plenty of websites and tools available to find this out, but it’s better coming from them.
4. How did you two meet?
This particular question is very important because, without this life event, you wouldn’t be here today. The stories are usually corny or hilarious, sometimes filled with hardship or family intervention. This question allows them to show their softer side, especially if it’s your Nonno talking. It may even open the conservation up to what they went through as a couple and how their marriage has survived over the years.
5. Life Advice
Life advice from your grandparents is vital and is something you will carry with you forever. Some grandparents dole out advice like candy, but that can make it hard to take in. Others are tight-lipped and rarely talk about anything that deep. However, their wisdom could keep you from making serious errors later on. If you still have the chance, reach out and ask them for their best advice on any topic you can think of.
Feature Picture [Flickr]