“Shoes take you places!” Sophia said with determination. She was trying to explain to her parents what she wanted for her seventh birthday.
“Whatever do you mean, Sophia?” asked Momma.
Pushing herself forward off the chair a little, Sophia spoke louder, “Giovina wears fancy shoes and boots, and she is always going to Italy. I want to go to Italy too, so for my birthday, I want fashion boots! I also want nice clothes and a diary with a key!”
Momma chuckled. “Are you six or sixteen?”
Momma kept shaking her head and talking, but Sophia was no longer listening. Her thoughts were going back to the last time she saw “Aunt” Giovina, and her new husband Jack before they went to Italy.
“Little Sophia! Jack and I go to Italy! Jackie meet my family and I show him where I come from– all of the beautiful places we will go! When we get back we will have you come for a nice lunch and we show you pictures. Next time– you come with us to Italy… all of you! It was so nice to see you today! Take care now, drive safe.”
Daddy had started the car. Momma had called to Sophia to get in. But Sophia had stood looking for another minute. It was a chilly March day in Chicago then. Rain was drizzling, but when Sophia had looked up into Giovina’s face, it was full of warmth and sunshine. The raindrops seemed to light up in that sparkle as they finished their course to the ground, pooling around Giovina’s fancy boots. The boots were stylish and sparkly, but they seemed impervious to rain drops.
“I would give you a pair, if they made them in your size, Sophia!” Giovina often liked giving things, making others happy– it was her way of staying happy too.
Sophia was at the dinner table, and Momma and Daddy had seemed to resume talking about other things. Sophia continued thinking about Giovina.
Sophia could tell that Giovina was distinct from others. Giovina always dressed up to see people. Some grandmas wear t-shirts, baggy pants and clumsy looking tennis shoes. But not Giovina. Sophia judged that Giovina was the age of a grandma, though she did not have children of her own. She had been married to Daddy’s older cousin Frank. Frank was a kind man, but he had passed away. Giovina didn’t stay sad. She dressed up, went to parties and met Jack, and remarried. It made Sophia wonder what was different about Italy… was everybody happy and pleasant there?