Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday 13: More Things About Minerva Jane

1. I have a younger sister named Gabrielle who looks so much like me that sometimes people think we’re twins. Except she’s taller and her hair isn’t as curly. Still, we had our round with sibling rivalry. I was just over 2 years old when she was born. Whenever my mom nursed her I'd climb up onto the sofa next to them and somehow elbow Gabi in the chest. Now, though, she’s my best friend and lives on an organic farm in Napa Valley.

2. My mother’s name is Rose. She’s of Sicilian descent and named after her grandmother. When this grandmother died The Family found out that her name wasn’t Rosa after all, but Rocca. She’d hated the name and hid it from everyone—even her children--for years. Now my mother says she’s grateful no one knew about the true name. Why? If she’d had been named Rocca she’s convinced everyone would have called her Rocky.

3. My father’s name is Charles but everyone calls him Snuffy. Snuffy was his father’s nickname in World War II--after the Snuffy Smith comic strip. Dad was born five months after his father was shipped out to Italy to work as a translator for the Army bases stationed there. Grandma sent a wire that said: Snuffy, Jr. arrived! The other guys in his troop thought it was hilarious. And I guess I should consider myself lucky about the whole Roccca thing--I could have been Rocky and Snuffy's daughter.

4. My grandfather spoke three languages: English, French and Italian. He also made his own wine; painted elaborate watercolors; wrote a book about our family's history in the upper northwest; wrote short stories; played the piano; grew an elaborate Monet-worthy garden; and worked full time as a small town doctor. Together, my grandparents went on a series of trips in their 70s--biking across France, Italy, Egypt and Australia.

5. Now he’s got advanced Parkinsons’, bladder and prostate cancer and lives in a nursing home in Northeastern PA. My grandmother visits him everyday. She wears the same perfume every time she visits on the off-chance that the odor will trigger a memory and he’ll remember her. Still, 99 out of 100 days he’s catatonic. Except one day when I visited and I said, "Grandpa, do you remember when I was in high school and we used to speak French together when you visited?" He opened his eyes slowy and said, "Mais oui." And then went back to sleep.

6. I drink at least three cups of coffee every day. One of the things I adore about my friend M. is that he has espresso machine in his apartment. We have lattes all morning.

7. I’ve written a novel. In between bouts of trying to find an agent, I continue to tinker with short stories. I’ve got another novel on the chopping block but am too nervous to begin it—the first one was such a gut-wrenching emotional experience.

8. I wrote my first piece—a poem about a dream—when I was 6.

9. I still think it’s a pretty good poem even for a 6-year old. If you ask me directly about it, though, I’ll laugh and tell you it was just a silly little poem.

10. I have this memory book I kept from when I was in kindergarten to high school. There’s a space for each grade where you were supposed to fill in your height and weight; your hobbies; your favorite subject in school; your best friends and what you wanted to be when you grew up.

11. In third grade I decided I wanted to be an “Arthur.” Which was a big change from a “balla girl.”

12. I’m still a really bad speller.

13. I’m also really clumsy. Which is why the whole “balla” thing wouldn’t have worked out anyway.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Blogger Pass The Torch said...

Best wishes on becoming a published "arthur";) I'm sure the right path with appear.

Thanks for visiting my TT. Number 13 happens a lot in this house.

I hope you'll submit a post to the Pass the Torch contest!

10:48 AM  
Blogger The Shrone said...

I've enjoyed learning more about you each TT! My husband has written a book and we're still procrastinating about the revisions. ;-)

My list is up!

11:42 AM  
Blogger Something's Missing said...

I can relate with the name thing in a way. I come from a long line of :::whispers::: Berthas. My cousin and I share the same first name, and we are very glad that Bertha trend stopped!

Thanks for stopping by!

My Thursday Thirteen is up!

Happy Thursday!

12:45 PM  
Blogger Buttercup said...

Love the memory book. I've been writing in journals since I was six. It's nice to have markers of your life.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

Great T13, loved reading all of this and getting to "know" you more. Your grandfather sounds pretty incredible, in fact, your whole family does. Congrats on the book, hope the agent/publishing thing goes well :)

Have a great day, thanks for stopping by my T13!!!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

love the peek into who you are again this week.
thanks for visiting my tt.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

It's so nice to get to know you better.

And sisters...don't ya' love to hate 'em?

1:36 PM  
Blogger YellowRose said...

What a lovely 13!! I enjoyed reading about your family history! It's so nice to get to know you!

Happy Thursday!

1:54 PM  
Blogger shellibells said...

#5 about your grandmother, that made me teary. How sweet. That is love.

If i drank that much coffee I'd be on the toliet all day, useless!

What do you do to get auto links..i've been meaning to ask someone.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Great list. I am sooooooo clumsy. Drives my husband crazy!

thanks for visiting my TT! :)

2:27 PM  
Blogger Becky, Mom, Mommy, Hey you, said...

your list is wonderful..your grandfather sounds great...I'll think of him when we go to Italy.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Knitting Maniac said...

Oooo... a continuation! Thanks so much for sharing this about you! I still love your nickname!

Thanks for visting! Happy TT

3:16 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

Great list, wonderful stories.
Thanks for stopping by my TT!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Darla said...

I have one of those memory books, too--and I have one for each of my kids...I really need to update those.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Hi I think I just signed up for thirteen thursdays...will try.

I enjoyed reading this you have a lovely natural style.

I recommned even if you are waiting for ana gent to begin another book/novel. I bet you will surprised to see how different it may feel to write a different story. Besides, an agent may want to know if you have more books in you....?

Is thirteen thursday your idea?

5:11 PM  
Blogger Lilize said...

my dream is to write a book one day (and obviously release it hehe)

the story about your granpa is sad but beautiful. and your gramma sounds beautifully devoted. i'm sure he remembers dep down, but maybe he just can't express himself anymore ;*

5:30 PM  
Blogger Minerva Jane said...

Hey CandyMinx--thursday 13 is a wonderful web things. Check them out at

5:35 PM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Um I need some advice and it standard to link comments? should I say so in my post? Or are you only linkiing people in the TT or people who make a comment?


5:48 PM  
Blogger Charmed1 said...

WOW! I wish I knew my family history! Your's is awesome!

Thank you for stopping by!

6:26 PM  
Blogger Charmed1 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Interesting list!

Thanks for stopping by!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

You sound like a very interesting person, wish we were neighbors I'd bet we'd be good friends. TAke care. Great 13. -margie

10:02 PM  
Blogger Nathalie said...

Wow, very interesting list - I would love to have met your grandparents to hear their stories...I love stories. I've also written lots of poems and some books, but I don't have the guts to look for a publisher. I hope you manage though!
Thanks for visiting my TT!

2:53 AM  
Blogger TC said...

What a wonderful, insightful TT! I feel like I know your family a little now. how sad that such an amazing man as your grandfather has to be the way he is now. Good Luck getting your novel published!

7:10 AM  
Blogger Geekwif said...

Your grandparents sound like wonderful people. Your grandmother must be incredibly dedicated to him to visit every day. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

9:12 AM  

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