In remembrance of my great-grandmother Madeline Mattucci Ferroni Gick on the 7th anniversary of her transition to Heaven
She was a woman, respected and adored by many. She was a woman, unique in her own right. A true definition of strength. She was a woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind. She exuded true feminine grace with her crimson polished fingernails and fiery red lipstick. Fashion, to her, was her main form of personal expression inspired by the most beautiful starlets of the Golden Age of Hollywood. She had an obsession with shoes and handbags and enjoyed the finer things in life. She spent her lifetime as a beautician, doing hair and making women look and feel beautiful!
The most memorable piece of her presence was her smile- it went with her everywhere!
She danced to the sounds of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and her favorite, Perry Como! While in Vegas once, she met Perry Como while in an elevator. She was ecstatic to be so close to one of her most favorite artists. She even pulled out pictures of her grandchildren to show him!
She wasn't afraid to defy the social norms of her time, she knew what was right and what she would not tolerate. Although it wasn't easy for her, she stood behind her strength and insisted on pushing forward. She was a true realist, understood that death and hardship were inevitable factors of life. She challenged people. One of her most memorable quotes was
"Talk is cheap....Whiskey costs money."
I'll never forget the times we shared together. When I was little and she'd come to visit, she'd bring me costume jewelry and we'd play dress-up together. I'll never forget those fancy rings and pearl necklaces sitting together drinking juice out of wine glasses. I'll never forget the last time I saw her in 2005. She was in her mid-eighties then and still looking fabulous as ever. She sat on the back patio of my Nana's home with her big black plastic-framed sunglasses, fishnet stockings, fancy heels and red lipstick smoking a cigarette with a sort of soft musical rhythm, just like they do in the movies. I remember observing this moment and thinking, "Wow, I could only hope to have such grace when I'm her age." I asked her that day if she could tell me about one of her most favorite memories. She paused for a moment, looked off into the distance with a mischievous smile and replied that she had enjoyed the time with her long-term gentleman friend the most.
I wish that she had lived closer. It would have been wonderful to spend more time with her and hear the stories of the full life she had lived. But even with the distance, I can say, she's always been close to me. There's a part of her that lives within me, a deep soulful connection. I "get" her. And I respect her. I am honored to share her blood and am beyond grateful of the family that she has created that is mine!
On Christmas Day 2010, she celebrated her 91st anniversary of life. And just 8 days later, she left us. I will always remember this day not as the date of her death, but more of a passing on to another phase of life. One where I can only hope that she'll be able to remember again the life she's lived. I hope that she's above, dancing again to Perry Como reunited with her love and looking down upon us, happy with what she sees; her family that she's created and the friendships she has built.
She was my Great Grandmother, Born with the name Netali Mattuci her name became Madeline when entering elementary school because the intake person didn't understand the spelling of this Italian name. She left this earth being known as Madeline (Madge) Ferroni Gick. To me, she was called "Grandmother."
Knowing her, she's not resting peacefully- she's probably having a party!
And I can't wait until the day we see each other again to play dress-up in heaven.