Personal Note: Remembering Nonno

My grandfather passed away on Sunday afternoon. He lived a healthy 95 years. Ninety-five! Nonno was born in  a small town in Calabria, Italy in 1915 and moved to Canada in 1953 and was joined by his family in 1962. Like many Italian immigrants at that time, Nonno worked in construction for the City of Toronto. He and my grandmother raised four children with little money but with great strength and determination.

Nonno and Me, January 2010

I have many fun memories of Nonno. When he stopped driving a few years ago, family members took turns taking him to do his errands. On one trip to the library, he instructed me to wait in the car while he went in to pick up his Oggi (Italian magazine). Before I even had a chance to tell him I would go in for him, he was out of the car and running – yes, running – across the street. He was fast, too! The car ride was fun too – we discussed movie stars, social events and world news. And of course, no errand was complete without stopping by his favourite café to enjoy a cappuccino.

Watching Nonno maneuver aisles in the grocery store was quite the entertainment. When you reach his age, I guess you’ve got a pretty good idea about the layout of your favourite store. He was efficient, direct and got around with mighty speed. He also knew the best place in the city to buy fresh bocconcini and ricotta. Even at 95 years old, Nonno was responsible for supplying everyone in the family with these delicious Italian cheeses.

Nonno was the most social person I’ve ever met. If he had a Facebook profile, I can guarantee that his friend count would be higher than any of ours. He was self-sufficient, busy, and his healthy diet was enviable. He was an avid reader, made excellent use of the Toronto public library, and loved to play Italian cards.

No matter how old any of us grandkids got, when we visited him at home he would be sure to offer us a juice box. Ha ha. Just thinking about how many juice boxes I’ve drank at his house puts a smile on my face. Every chat with Nonno usually involved him saying, “Whaddya gonna do?” We grandkids always tried to recreate the line but it just never sounded the same as when he said it.

He was also quite the fashionisto – he was particular about colour, design and fabric. He was always happy to add another beautiful Merino wool sweater or cozy argyle socks to his wardrobe – as long as they were up to his standards. When he was 93, Nonno went out to buy a new suit for his Italian club’s dinner/dance. He wanted to look good, of course, and his existing suits just wouldn’t do. And yes, at 93, he still enjoyed a good party!

I am happy to celebrate Nonno’s long and healthy life and dedicate this space on White Cabana to him.



17 Comments on “Personal Note: Remembering Nonno”

  1. How lucky you are to have had your Nonno for so long. What an inspiration.

  2. sarah says:

    This was so lovely to read—you clearly adored him. Thanks for sharing him with us. I’m sorry for your loss as I’m sure his passing leaves a giant hole. Take care of yourself. xo

  3. AR says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss….but so wonderful to share the beautiful memories.

  4. Karena says:

    Oh I am so sorry for your loss. Hold on to the wonderful memories,they will help you through.

    Art by Karena

  5. Johanne says:

    Jordana, Thank you for sharing your stories of your wonderful Nonno. I’m so sorry to hear that he has passed away.

    You and your family are in my heart and thoughts, xoxo

  6. I am so sorry for your loss Jordana. Best, Si-

  7. Jordana says:

    Thank you for all of these kind words. Nonno’s funeral was just as he would have wanted it. He would have especially been proud to know that we stopped traffic on St. Clair for him! The procession from the funeral home to the church was beautiful. Again, my sincere thanks for keeping us in your hearts.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear that, Jordana! I’m glad his life was long and healthy, that’s the better than any words of comfort, isn’t it? He made the most of it.

  9. Jordana,

    What an amazing tribute to what was clearly a unique and highly respected man. Please take solace from the fact that you have had so many wonderful memories and experiences with this wonderful man, and that when it came to the game of life, Nonno squeezed every last drop of fun and enjoyment possible.

    La morte non ci porta via completamente la persona amata, rimane sempre il suo ricordo che ci incita a continuare. Coraggio.

    Much love,

    Billy P and Michelle

  10. vanessa says:

    what amazing memories xox

  11. Leanne Olson says:

    Really enjoyed reading about your grandpa, Jordana, what a great post. All the best to your family, and I’m sorry for your loss.

  12. Kathlyn says:


    A beautiful story of your grandfather, thank you for sharing with us. I can see where you get many of your fantastic traits and it’s wonderful to have such great family members to help shape you to be the special person you are.

    I know you will miss him and it is evident his legacy is clearly in your heart.



    • Jordana says:

      Thanks for thinking of us Kathlyn. And thanks for reading about my grandfather. He was definitely a proud man and his strength really impressed us all.

  13. Jacquelyn says:

    Hi love, I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your nono. ❤

    • Jordana says:

      Thanks Jacquelyn. It was definitely a tough week but we had so much loving support from friends and family. My Nonno surrounded himself with an amazing group of people and it was nice for me to meet all of his friends that I had heard so much about over the years.

  14. escapade says:

    What a beautiful little tribute to an obviously very special man! Thanks for sharing this. Sending you warm thoughts + wishes
    xo xo xo

    • Jordana says:

      Thanks so much for reading this post Sharalee. Sharing such personal moments online can be difficult. Nonno loved making connections with people and I wanted to share his enthusiasm for people and for life in this part of the online world.

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