Tomorrow Dad arrives for a weekend visit, his first to Chicago since Diane’s death.
On Saturday we’ll be attending a book party for A Rainbow of Memories, a book I co-authored with Agnes Consadori and Lori Lucchetti. Friend and colleague Christine Wachter did a gorgeous job designing the work.
I first met Agnes during the summer of 2004, when she was a spry lass of 86. She explained that she had been telling a few family stories at her sister Mary’s funeral in January, when a relative said to her, “Aunt Agnes, you should write a book.”
So she did.
We did the bulk of the work while I was working at South Shore Community News. Wrapping up the week’s work for the paper took all of Thursday. Friday mornings were set aside for driving out to Arlington Heights and talking with Agnes and her daughter Lori.
I loved it.
In simple, straightforward language, she evoked her family, a time and a classically American story of immigration and assimilation.
Initially, we thought that Agnes would talk to me and I would write the book from a third-person perspective. But I quickly realized just how gifted a storyteller she is, and recommended that we switch gears and have the book be i her words.
Of course, I would be less than honest if I said I thought the book was going to take more than six years to complete.
Much has happened since then.
The Red Sox have won two World Series.
Barack Obama is no longer a “skinny kid with a funny name,” but our nation’s president.
Lori’s son Marius is now the age that Aidan was when the project began.
Through all the aches and pains an delays, it has been a complete pleasure and honor to work with and learn from Agnes.
On Saturday, she will turn 92, and her family, our family and friends will celebrate the publication and release of her book.
I can’t wait.