Posted by learnitalianfortravel  |  March 18, 2018

My nonno (Italian grandfather) was born in Bozzano Italy in the heart of Tuscany on October 3, 1920.  When he was very young, his father left for America in order to find a job and create a new life for his wife and son.  When my nonno, Enzo was 8 years old, his mother contracted tuberculosis and died a year later.  He was left without parents in Bozzano, and so his aunt and cousin soon brought him to America to reunite with his father.  When he was a young man, he joined the military, and was sent to Luxembourg to fight in World War II.  One day, a beautiful young woman came to his military base, and asked loudly, "Dov'è l'italiano?" (Where is the Italian?)  This was my 17 year old grandmother, or Nonni as well call her, Odette.  Odette was born in Marseilles France on August 8, 1927, but her parents were both Italian, and they all spoke Italian at home. The family ended up moving to Luxembourg a few years later, which is where she grew up.  Odette's father had heard that there was an Italian amongst the American soldiers and had advised Odette to go introduce herself, and invite him over for dinner.  She did, and the rest is history.. The two fell in love, 17 year old Odette, and 24 year old Enzo.  Enzo was sent to the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and the two continued to write each other letters which were delivered by a fellow soldier.  When the war was over, Enzo returned back to the United States to find a house for them.  He also bought a wedding dress for her and returned to Luxembourg with the dress in hand, and they were promptly married.  Enzo and Odette lived in Idaho, Nevada, and eventually settled in Livermore California.  Enzo worked at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and Odette was a stay at home mother who cared for their 4 sons.  They have 8 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.  This past year on January 31, 2018, my nonno passed away at the age of 97.  He and Odette had been married for 71 years.  Their love has been an inspiration to me, filled with romantic gestures, passion, and a steadfast appreciation that they were perfect together.  Individually, they have both inspired me with their tenacity, humor and strength, amidst difficult life experience. They are the reason that I learned to speak Italian myself, and will always give me inspiration and purpose.