You should listen to Brother Iz as you read this.
It has a been WAY too long since I've posted on my blog. Life happened.
I lost my Noni to breast cancer on 1/13/14.
It's hard to even type any more.
When I was little, I went to my Noni's every day. My mom worked as a nurse, so she always had some crazy hours. Every day, I'd pull up to Noni's house and say, "Hi Noni's house!" We would have our cheerios and watch our TV. Noni never changed the channel. The TV was on channel 2 (CBS) all day long. We would watch The Price is Right and then as the news came on, it would be time for lunch. Peanut butter and jelly. Every day. Then I would go down for my nap as she watched her "stories." And at 5:00, every day, Grandpa would come home and dinner would be on the table. He would put MASH on. I can still hear Noni yelling, "IACER!" to the MASH theme song.
Sometimes, my day with Noni would start at my house and she would eventually take me down to her house. On the way, we would count all the American flags. There were always 13.
In summer time, Noni loved to sit on her porch. All her neighbors would come up and visit and talk with us. Noni knew everyone. She would always say to me, "I just talk to everyone. Life is too short." I could sit on that porch with her for hours. She had this little black and white TV and we used to watch her stories on when we sat out there and she would do her crocheting and wave to every car that went by. She had so many friends, her neighbors, her card buddies, her church buddies, her Democratic Committee buddies - she knew everyone. And everyone knew her.
|Noni's birthday, some year ago.|
I remember when I was trying to decide where to go for college. Noni would always tell me about Marywood and the history and the sisters and then she would, of course, add, "If you go to Marywood, you can come visit me for lunch." And that's exactly what I did. I would make my school schedule so that I would have afternoons free to go have lunch with Noni. She always bought me my lunch meat and my cooper sharp cheese. Grandpa would always say, "Noni buys that just for you." Then, we would do the same thing. Watch our TV. Her stories, Judge Judy, Inside Edition. Last year, we bought her an iPad for Christmas, so as we sat watching our shows, she and I would sit on our iPads playing Slotomania or Candy Crush or Bingo or "Mahjahongy" as Noni called Mahjong. Every day.
|The iPad Christmas 2012|
On the weekends, the channel would actually change (WHOA) to the Game Show Network, where we would sit and watch endless episodes of Match Game and The Newlywed Game. I just enjoyed sitting there with her. Knowing she was there. She was like my best friend.
On her 75th birthday, we took her to her favorite place at the time - the Olive Garden. We had the greatest time. And she told us not to tell the waitstaff it was her birthday, but we did anyway. And she loved every second of it.
She loved being with her family more than anything. She loved our trips to Maxie's, our trips to the girls' basketball games, going to the Iacovazzi family Chirstmas party every year, having Christmas Eve with the Coleman's and just sitting and eating her homemade sauce with her family.
Noni was a big card player, and we would sit for hours playing our Kansas City Rummy. She played every Thursday with her friends at the Abington Senior Center, so I knew on Thursdays - I couldn't go over before 1:00. In the summertime, she literally played one day a week my Aunt Janet and their neighbor from 9-5.
Noni loved her Bon Ton and her Boscov's. The last place I actually took her was the Bon Ton before they went out of business. We had to get a new coffee pot. It was still too expensive in Bon Ton. I remember taking her to the Bon Ton in Wilkes Barre and she hated the highways so we would take all the back roads down there. Their Bon Ton had a bigger selection of her Alfred Dunner and Beckenridge. She always loved to show us her Beckenridge outfits with the tops that perfectly matched the bottoms. If the top had a sailboat on it, the bottom had a sailboat on it. We went on countless trips to the new Walmart in Taylor and every time we walked in there, she would say "Where do all these people come from speaking these languages? It's like we are in Puerto Rico." Every time. She used to take two other older ladies to the grocery store every Tuesday. When Noni couldn't drive any more, my mom would take them all. I took them once and Noni and I perused through the store and she would make me wait at the deli counter because they took too long for Noni to stand there and hold up her friends.
|The Great Grandchildren. Kaylee and Brooke's 1st Birthday|
Noni was an avid basketball fan. And every referee in town knew who she was. I sat with her at every game, no one else really wanted to. She would take her glasses off and offer them kindly to the ref as he ran by. She would tell them how awful they were. Our favorite line was when she told the ref to "Hang his shirt up and retire."
Noni loved her animals. She inherited a bird from my cousin, Joey. She got a cat from the animal shelter, and she LOVED her dog, Mya. She always teased her and played with her. I can still hear her yelling across the house to the dog. In her last days at home, she kept telling the dog, "I'm gonna miss you, Mya."
Noni was always there to save you. No matter what kind of trouble you were in. She would really take in anyone. She had many house guests over the years. I can recall this one time, my car and I got stuck in a ditch in Old Forge during a snow storm and one call to Noni and Grandpa was on his way to save me. Sometimes I wonder - who will save me now?
|I have no idea what this is from|
Noni never failed to make me laugh. When everyone was on my nerves or I was having a bad day, Noni was my escape. We could sit there for hours and just be happy. And she would make me laugh. I don't think she ever really realized how hilarious she was. That's what I really miss the most.
One time, we were sitting on her porch and Grandpa came out to mow the lawn. He did the whole thing and then came up and sat on the porch and Noni said, "Iacer, it doesn't look any different. What did you do?" He forgot to put the blade down on the lawn mower. Noni and I laughed the whole time he re-did the lawn.
|Noni and Grandpa's Wedding, 1958.|
Grandpa and Noni were married 55 years. He told me they planned their wedding in two weeks. He said to her, "I want to get married and I don't want to waste any time." And on their 50th anniversary, we had a huge party - all the Iacovazzi's, all the Coleman's - it was everything Noni wanted. A great time with her family.
|The Iacovazzi's. Anniversary Party 2008|
When Noni told me she had "the cancer' (she always put "the" in front of everything) I lost it. This was not supposed to happen. Not to my Noni. I made it a point to see her every day. I had to keep her going. To lift her spirits. I hated leaving her. I would cry every time I had to go back to school. We would still sit there, watching our Queen Latifah and playing on our iPads. Her appetite weakened and so did mine. There were so many things it felt wrong to do if Noni couldn't do them. Still, we carried on as the doctors told us she would be in remission in six months and blah blah blah. I saw her every day - they didn't. I knew it was worse than they knew, but I still carried that hope. She told me she wanted to show me the pattern for the blanket she had started to crochet. I knew, she knew. She said she was too tired today. She would show me tomorrow. Tomorrow didn't exactly come as planned. I knew - when she didn't ask for her iPad - something was wrong. Aunt G and I never left her side - day and night. On her last day home, I sat by her. I couldn't leave her. Then they took her to the hospital. She moved to Hospice within 3 days.
|Joey, Lindsay, me, Noni, Iacovazzi Family Christmas Party, 2012.|
Being in Hospice was like a family reunion. There were no less than like...20 people there with her. Always. Talking to Noni, telling stories, playing on our iPads, eating together. It was like we were one of those families that all live in one big house - except it was just the 7th floor of CMC. She couldn't tell you, but I know she loved every second of it. She was in room 777 - the casino room, we called it. At night, we stayed with her - my cousins: Lindsay and Joey, and I - and every move she made, we were there with her. Anything we could do for her, we would. She never left us - we would never her.
It was a Monday night when she passed. 5:45 ish. As I saw her take that final breath - my world fell apart. How do we live without Noni? The matriarch of our family.
Goodbye is my least favorite word.
Though, I can feel her. She is still here, like in the book she gave me to read once, Johnny Angel. One day, I went to visit her, and I laid in the snow next to her and it was like I could hear her yelling at me.
I know she's with me. Every day.
I know when I'm running late and all the lights turn green, that's Noni.
I know when I'm having a bad day and I find a penny on the ground, that's Noni.
I know when I'm watching GSN and I actually get an answer right, that's Noni.
I know when I'm worried about a test and get a good grade, that's Noni.
I know when I've lost something and it turns up right by me, that's Noni.
I know when I need guidance, my guardian angel will help. That's my Noni.
|Kaylee and Brooke's birthday, 2012|
She taught me so much. I was lucky to have her in my life as long as I did.
I love her so much, and I will miss her always.
My Noni. My Angel.