off on vacation

Last night, friend and chef Diego Felix, who’s visiting from Buenos Aires, cooked a superb dinner that turned into quite the send-off. He invited some friends, and it was wonderful to hear more Spanish and Italian than Englisharound the table .  I described our extended family to two sweet Italian guys, one of whom lives nearby, and he asked if I were retired. I said no, slightly puzzled. Turns out that he’d assumed that since I was a “nonna” (a grandmother), I must be retired!

I’m off today to Italy to visit my godmother Anne, who is 94.  She has considerable short-term memory loss, but her sly wit, joie de vivre, and capacity for abstract conversation remain very much in evidence. As Margaret Morganroth Gullette writes in Agewise, about which you’ll be hearing more upon my return, memory — however fetishized — is just one aspect of personality.

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