Through a window …

*     *     * 

I arrived at the hotel in Bologna around 11:00 AM, every bit as tired as you might expect. Still, if I was to begin the ChgoJohn “Pasta-a-Day Diet”, I had little choice but to get out there and find me some pasta. About 2 hours later, I was back in my room and settling in for a well-deserved nap.

I awoke some time later in the best of moods. I had dreamt of the old two-flat. I was a boy and could hear Mom & Dad, Zia &  Uncle, Grandpa, and Nonna laughing and having a wonderful time. As I became more awake, I realized that the laughter and singing I’d heard in my dream were not from my family but came from people gathered on the street below my open window. It didn’t really matter. It was still a wonderful dream and it made my day. I took a photo of that window to remind me of the dream, thinking maybe I could work it into some future post.

Later that day, while on my way to a restaurant that Maps falsely claimed was within walking distance, I received a phone call from my brother. Our beloved Zia passed way about the time I was midway across the Atlantic.

Truth be told, I am not what most would consider a spiritual individual, and as for religion, I’ve described myself as a recovering Catholic. That said, I believe that my dream was Zia’s way of saying good-bye, that she’s in the best of company.

Now it is my turn to say good-bye and I will end this as I have most emails to her.

Tanti baci, Bella.

PS   I’ve been thinking. I remember seeing XXXXXXX served when I was little.  Do you know how it was prepared?

*     *     * 

The Kitchens will remain closed until further notice.

*     *     * 

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72 thoughts on “Through a window …

  1. John my deepest condolences. Please know we are thinking of you and sending much love. Although we never met Zia, she is close to our hearts and will forever be a part of our family through her delicious dishes (especially on Xmas Eve). Like you, not deeply religious, but I agree…the dream was certainly from her. Xoxo dear friend! We love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are some occasions in life for which words true to our feelings are hard to find. When someone very dear to our hearts passes away it is very difficult for those standing by to say anything really meaningful. It was meant to be. She had lived a long and beloved life and now it was time to go to those whom you saw in your dream. Grief is natural but will slowly abate: wonderful memories will remain. Much, much love John . . . each day will be easier . . .

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  3. wow – beautiful – and sad too – sorry abotu your loss – but I liked the window shot when I saw it at the start of the post – and interesting how now that window photo has all the more depth and meaning after hearing the story to go with it.
    I was with my dog when he passed away in April – and right around the same time, by spouse had a dream that our pup was up and running – and we almost feel like it was at the same time… spooky cool.

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  4. What a beautiful post John. Like you, I’m not deeply religious (but as they say, once a Catholic…) but it’s lovely to think that Zia said a little arrivederci (and not goodbye) to you. Our sincerest condolences. Your book is a wonderful tribute to her and we know that although she is now no longer with us, she was very much loved and will be remembered and talked about for many, many years to come. A big abraccio e tanti baci

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss.

    There is comfort Zia visited you in your dream and yes, I do believe that.

    My sincere condolences to you and your family.

    Donna Er Fredericksburg, VA

    On Mon, May 9, 2016 at 2:12 AM, from the Bartolini kitchens wrote:

    > ChgoJohn posted: ” * * * I arrived at the hotel in Bologna around > 11:00 AM, every bit as tired as you might expect. Still, if I was to begin > the ChgoJohn “Pasta-a-Day Diet”, I had little choice but to get out there > and find me some pasta. About 2 hours later, I ” >

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  6. I’m so sorry to hear that Zia passed away. I’d like to believe that she said goodbye to you in that beautiful dream too.
    Please reopen the kitchens when you feel that the time is right.

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  7. Your Zia felt the time was right for her John, you were in the bosom of your birthright, it was time for her to go. The generations pass, but memories live on, especially in food. Time will heal the hurt xxxxx

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  8. With sadness in my heart on hearing this news, please know that you’re in my thoughts John. I can imagine how much she will be missed, by you, your family, those who have been lucky enough to know her and those who have been captivated by hearing about her through your beautiful words. Take care my friend.

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  9. John, my heart is so saddened to hear of your darling Zia’s passing. Deepest and love filled condolences to you. I shall light a special candle for Zia this evening.
    Much love,
    Mandy xoxoxo

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  10. Oh, John…. this hit me like a ton of bricks, and the sweet tone of your post, avoiding to touch on pain and sadness makes me want to give you a hug, in real life. That is not possible….

    I have no words. My condolences for the loss of someone so special in your life and your whole family history

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  11. Such a poignant post, John. My heartfelt condolences to you on the passing of your beloved Zia. I really enjoyed reading your account of the wonderfully happy dream which you had, and love that you took a photo of the window to remind you of it. Hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am so sorry to hear of your sad news John. I do believe your dream was your beloved Zia’s way of letting you know that she’s now with loved ones – and that she’s happy. And I know Zia’s happy that you’re in Italy – and that you’re on The Pasta a Day Diet. You know, I bet you end up eating more than ”one” pasta a day. Enjoy your trip my dear friend.

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  13. John, wondered if you forgot to enter the name of the food you were asking if people know how to make. (I, too, enter ‘xxxxxxxx’s when I need to look up a name or a spelling.)

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  14. I am so, so sorry to hear about Zia, John. I feel as if I’ve got to her know her through your posts and your news brought me to tears as well. I know how you may be feeling and nothing I can say will really comfort you, but we all have our time and this was Zia’s. May she rest in peace and know that your love and respect is a testament to what she was as a person and that will carry her soul to a better place.
    As Muslims, we believe that the love, respect and prayers of our children and family members are what vouch for us in the next life.
    I will remember Zia and you in my prayers. May God grant you patience to get through this painful time.

    Nazneen xx

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  15. John, I am SO sorry for your loss. It’s really a loss for all of us — I sort of feel that your Zia was mine, too. You’ve made her part of all of our lives. A nice gift to us from both of you. Lovely tribute — thanks.

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  16. Sorry for the loss of your dear Zia. I do believe our loved ones let us know that they’re okay once they leave this plane, and I’m not all that spiritual myself. But it happens with too much frequency to discount. May happy memories stay with you forever.

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  17. So sorry to hear about your Zia. I do hope this is not the end of your blog, but I can understand what a huge loss this is.

    Thank you for sharing your stories and recipes and memories of this remarkable woman. I am sure she told just as many wonderful stories about you. She probably treasured the time you spent with her.

    As for the dream, it would not surprise me one bit if it was meant as a goodbye.

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  18. My deepest condolences for Zia’s passing. But what a beautiful dream and farewell. It was a gift, unsurprising. Sad news but very good of you to share it with us. Take care ♡

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  19. I’m so sorry to hear of Zia’s passing, John. I hope the memories of your time spent together will help to fill the void you must now feel. I feel blessed to have known her through your writings. Love and strength to you and your family.

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  20. Dear John, sorry you didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Zia. But glad you had that wonderful dream. I had one too, after my dad died.
    My dad had welded shut a bracelet for my youngest boy. The catch was faulty and was forever giving him trouble. The day dad died, the bracelet dropped off my son’s wrist. He and I saw it as a sign. It gave me peace and comfort at a time I needed it most. Thinking good thoughts your way, John.

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  21. ❤️.
    I’m sorry, John.
    You will hear her as you cook and savor your family recipes, when you drive to get the honey, when you sit down to her favorite dishes and begin to eat.
    It is so hard to lose those who love us the best.
    Keeping you in my heart.

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  22. John, you don’t have to be catholic or religious, it’s a sign of deep love your dream was about.The love is what counts what you carry in your heart and your beloved Zia, and it will always remain and get even deeper as you continue your life.

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  23. non si interrompe mai l’amore di chi ci è stato vicino, e chi si ama ci resterà per sempre vicino, di questo puoi esserne certo, è nell’0anima delle cose nel continuare stesso della vita
    un grande abbraccio molto affettuoso che comrende i tuoi dolci ricordi

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  24. I am so sorry for your loss, John. I have no doubt that Zia was communicating through your dream, “Don’t worry about me, I am home now.”
    Thinking of you with love and affection.
    Eva XOXO

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  25. Sorry John for your loss. I believe she is with you in spirit.

    And enjoy Bologna. My first pasta meal in Italy was on a little alley cafe there about 40 years ago. I can still remember it – so simple and so fabulous.

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  26. I am very sorry to here of the loss of your beloved Zia. Your stories about her and the times and recipes that you shared in some strange way helped me remember my long gone Zia and my Nona and to rekindle my own memories of them.
    Zia knows how you loved her and that is why she said goodbye to you in your dream.
    The fact that I am in tears as I write this is testament to your talents as a writer and your skills in connecting with readers, I do hope that when the time is right you will consider sharing more of your memories and recipes through this blog.

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  27. John I am so sorry to read about your loss of Zia. I do believe that she was with you and saying goodbye. I am more spiritual than religious, but I have felt the passing of the spirit as well as the occasional passing gentle touch of those loved and lost to us. I’m so glad you had so much quality time with Zia. Thank you for sharing her with us. Thinking of you and your family at this sad time.

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  28. My deepest condolences to you, John! My heart reaches out to you and your family. I’m sure you’ll miss her terribly but I believe her spirit will always be with you.

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  29. John, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. I bet Zia the little angel was part of your dream. Maybe it was her way of telling you know matter where you are she will always be with you. I am so happy that you were able to spend so many treasured days together, write a cookbook together. She will be dearly missed. A virtual hug coming your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. So very sorry to hear about your beloved Zia. 😦 From all of your stories, I feel I know a very unique part of her through her food. Being a recovering Baptist, I, too, would have seen the dream as her saying good-bye. AND, your pasta-a-day diet as a celebration of her life.

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  31. Dear John, My deepest condolences to you for the loss of your beloved Zia. She now lives in your heart. She passed the family baton to you to carry. Thank you for sharing your touching story. It is obvious that a lot of heartfelt thoughts are with you. 🙂

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  32. Cara John, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your Zia. A hole will be forever in your heart, that you can fill when you are in your cucina preparing her recipes. Your thoughts of her are beautifully reflected in your post. I miss my Zia, Nonna and Papa too. And like you, am so grateful to have had them in my life. Their influence will live on through us.
    Ciao amico,
    Roz

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  33. So sorry John. Zia was obviously such an inspiration for you and that shone through your posts. Grief is so difficult but as time goes on your memories will be your strength and her recipes will live on.
    My thoughts are with you.
    Amanda

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  34. Like all the others here, John, I wish you peace, comfort, and joy in the memory of your beloved Zia. I’m convinced that she not only paid you a sweet visit (because there’s nobody, religious or not, who can prove that other dimensions and ways of being *don’t* exist within, around, and beyond our own) but will remain alive in uncounted ways. You carry her and her gifts in your heart. And you have taught a whole crowd of your admiring friends to love and admire all that she was, is, and will remain; we, too, will carry parts of her on in the world. Thank you for that. We are *all* made better for having been touched by the life of that one woman. What power! What sweetness. My heart goes out to you.

    Kathryn

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  35. I’m really sorry to hear about your Zia. I totally understand the way you perceive your dream, I would probably see it like this too. In such circumstances it’s hard to find the right words. I can only say that one thought that always helped me when I lost my father was that at least I had him in my life up to then, this way I felt privileged. All my thoughts go to you and your family.

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  36. So sorry to hear about your Zia, CJ. She was such a large presence in your blog and your life. I feel like I knew her as well, and the rest of your family–especially those now gone–through the blog and the cookbook.

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  37. Oh, John. My condolences on the loss of your wonderful Zia. I feel like I’ve known her, these past few years, as you’ve talked about her so lovingly here on your blog. It does seem that your dream was a gift from her. Peace to you, and your family.

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  38. May has already come to its end! I hope you had an amazing trip and you did like it all over. Looking forward to read what you’ll be telling us about. Gorgeous photo of “that” window.
    I am so sorry for Zia’s passing away while you were absent. So sorry. – I fully agree with you that she’ll be in the best ever company now, wherever she is or might be.
    Imagine: I bought your book meanwhile! – I will comment about it later. But by your book Zia will live further on in so many of your Readers. It’s a real memory or memorial of (for/about?) her you made with this book, isn’t it? May God bless her.
    And may God bless you and your nephew on your journey – have a safe coming home again.

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  39. My dear John, I’m so sorry to know about Zia. You made her part of us through your tales about your family back in the days and telling us about your visits with her. Unlike you, I believe in all that spiral things so I’m convinced that your dream was her goodbye (or her see you latter caro mio) and your parents letting you know that now they are together in their heavenly two flat having a blast. I hope you will recover from this loss soon and keep the good memories with her, specially the look on her face when you finally show her the book with the Bartolini’s recipes.
    I wish I could say something to make you feel better…take care.
    Giovanna

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  40. John, I don’t know what happened, but the feed from the kitchen stopped so I am reading this sad news now.

    My sincere condolences to you and your family. Your stories make me feel like in some small way I knew her and that is a gift from you to all your readers. Thank you for that.

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