The object I have chosen is my grandmother’s heart necklace. Everyone in my family calls it Nornie’s heart. Nornie is what we called my grandmother and Pop-pop is what we called my grandfather. Both of my grandparents’ families were from Bari, Italy. They were both the first in their families to be born in America. They got married in the Bronx in 1946 when my grandmother was 19 and my grandfather was 21. They had a traditional Italian “football” wedding. In 1971, my grandfather gave the necklace to her as a gift for their 25th anniversary. She never took it off, not even when she cleaned it. After my grandfather passed away in 2004, my grandmother was completely heartbroken. The love that she and my grandfather had was unfathomable, and the fact that she never took the necklace off is a testament to their love.
This necklace not only reminds me of the profound love my grandparents had, but also of the good times my family and I had with my grandmother. This necklace is a symbol of love, family, and food. Whether we were making eggplant parmigiana, listening to Dean Martin and thinking about my grandfather, or having Sunday dinner with our family Nornie was always wearing her necklace.
– Victoria Veneziano