My Late Mother's Travel Book

My late mother's travel book
My late mother's travel book

 When looking through my family’s photo albums, I always find myself coming back to my mother’s Travel Book. It is a well-kept photo album documenting her travels all over Europe in the 1990s. My mother was half-Italian and half-Ashkenazi Jew and she went on this journey not only to discover her roots, but also to immerse herself in cultures unfamiliar or vaguely familiar to her. After returning from her trips, she missed Italy so much she ended up moving to a small town there called Sesto Fiorentino about a year later. The book also follows some of her time living there. She left the book to me after she passed away from Breast Cancer when I was nine. To me, I connect this book to the long gone tradition of when the two of us would have picnics under the stars while she told me stories from it. Before she passed we were a family of two. Living alone. There’s nothing more reminiscent of that time than that. As a mixed person I have many sides of my family with many different cultures. I never really felt fully connected to my black, Jewish, or Italian sides. With this book I can feel a little bit of that true connection. This book is important to me because when I read it, it almost feels as if my mother is still with me, as she was in the pages: Young, adventurous, and free. 

Place(s): Siesto Fiorentino, Italy
Year: 1995

– Jaela LaPolla-James

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more