My Grandmother's Pendant

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
My Grandmother's Pendant
My Grandmother's Pendant

My grandmother immigrated to America from a small, rural town in central Italy. She brought four children with her; the eldest was eighteen, and the youngest, my dad, was just seven. They came by boat through Ellis Island in 1965 and joined my grandfather in New York. This pendant belonged to her, gifted to her on her 90th birthday. It contains five different stones, the birthstones of her seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She wore it around her neck every single day as a symbol of her love for us.

Nothing mattered more to my grandmother than our family. Everything she did was for us. She made sure we were never hungry, feeding us hand-cranked pasta with sauce made from homegrown tomatoes. She made sure we were never cold, gifting us hand-knit scarves and hats with little pom-poms on top. She made sure we were never lonely, always inviting everyone over for homemade lasagna on Christmas and fried crispellas on Easter. 

This pendant represents an integral part of my grandmother’s immigration story: the importance of family. Her fierce love for her children is what motivated her to come to the U.S. My experience as an Italian-American has largely been shaped by the recipes she passed down, the traditions she created, and the bonds she forged. It is because of her that I have been able to develop such strong, meaningful connections to both my family and my heritage, and for this, I am incredibly grateful. I love and miss her every day.  

Year: 1965

– Nicole Vitiello

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant