Isn't That Beautiful?

May 13, 2010
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Sometimes a specific story is not needed to show the high points in one’s life. Maybe there were no horrid deaths, moves, or big events that happened in a lifetime, but the life story is the high point. I sit at the old wooden table of my great aunts living room, and share memories with my Nan/great aunt. Silvia Marie Schiro was born on February 5, 1942 in a house on York Street in Metairie, Louisiana. She is a brunette of 68 years who loves to talk and smile. Truthfully speaking, talking to Nan is like talking to a thirty year old with years of experience because of her bright attitude and mindset. She was the first to be born at a hospital, while all her siblings were born at home before her. “I was the queen, said Daddy.” says she of her relationship with her parents.

As most children, the first day of school is not the most exciting time of year. “Daddy had to whip me three blocks for me to go to school.” she says. The only way to happiness for this young girl was to be put in classes with her brother, Noel, which was soon arranged. At only six years old, she finally adjusted to school. High school years were her favorite. “Senior year was the best. It was so much fun.” she says.
“Were you on any teams? Like sports?” I asked.
“None! I did nothing my entire life! NOTHING!” she laughs that laugh which in itself causes more laughter.

“My first job was at A&P the grocery store.” she says. She went to Comptometer school before this job, and ended up being able to work in the main office at A&P working with inventory and sales on a comptometer. Two years of her life was spent at this grocery store. After these years, she talked to her neighbor’s brother who worked for Shell Oil Company. They were expanding their inventory to Louisiana and comptometer workers were needed so my Nan was chosen to be a new employee. “This is when my life really BASHOOMED for me.” she laughed. I’ve never heard of that word before, but that’s what her life did apparently. She was needed to work in Alabama, but the company did not make her because her father had just passed. “Wonderful people to work for; never asked me to go anywhere when Daddy died. Oil companies, oil companies, oil companies! Now that’s the place to work!” says my Nan. She ended up working on Commons Street in New Orleans.

“We had four functions each year for Shell. There were crawfish boils, Christmas parties, and many other parties. They were all fantastic!” she tells me. She worked there for a while and her favorite parts were the ball games. “We played ball almost every night. That’s when I had fun. I love volleyball.” she says. This is also where she met my great uncle, Ski Schiro. The workers used to get together and play different sports like volleyball, tennis, and soft ball after work. “It was purely for fun. We had a ball!” she says with a look of remembrance and excitement of old times. One night, almost out of fate, the game was going on at Holy Rosary. My great uncle had three kids at the time from his previous marriage, and got his sister to babysit them so he could go play volleyball with everyone for fun. After the game, they went dancing like most did after the ball games. “It just happened.” she says. They dated for a year and then got married in 1971. “Life began in ‘71.” she smiles.

Ski had a boy and two girls; Henry, Paula, and Rachel for children. She loved them as much as her own children. “They were always great kids. They always listened and made the right choices.” she says. After a few years of marriage, my great aunt and uncle had three more kids together; Jeffery, Chad, and Stacy. It was a full house. “I had my hands full with all the kids and my job.” says she. My great grandma had also lived with them. “Those years were great.” she says. “The kids were always wonderful and we always had fun. There was never a dull moment.” she smiles again. She even remembers their first years of school and how almost every day, every kid from the neighborhood would come outside to play with the children. “We would cut out the bottoms of cans for vegetables, give them little cardboard boxes as buggies, and they would play groceries all day. They loved it. Those simple moments are the ones I remember the most.” says my Nan with a look of happiness.
“I lived with my mom her entire life.” she says. My Nan never went more than a few days without seeing Grandma. We all called her this before she died. “She was a wonderful woman, very strong willed, but sweet at the same time. She was so cute. One time we went on a trip to Houston, she got on the plane, and the first thing she said was “Nothings moving!” she laughs with her funny laugh again. “Grandma loved bingo; I call it her Vitamin B. She was something else. Hunny, that hair had to be done, and that makeup had to be fixed to go anywhere.” she smiles at the thought of Grandma. Most people want to move out as soon as possible from home with parents, but my Nan loved living with her mom. “Grandma prayed every night for a beautiful death, and it was certainly beautiful.” she tells me. “She thought God had forgotten her poor darling.” my Nan says of her mother’s death. She died in her sleep on Dec 31 at 97 years old. “New Years Eve; when you see that sky light up, that’s for Jeanne/Grandma” she says. She was two months away from turning 98. “Isn’t that beautiful?” she says. She tells how everywhere they went, everyone knew Grandma and loved her. “It was great living with her. It may sound different, but it’s true.” she states.
To this day, my Nan still lives in her house on York Street in Metairie. She has never left that house but has renovated many times. All of her six children are all grown now and have lives of their own. She is still with my great uncle Ski and in my view, just as in love as they once were that night at the volleyball game. The simplest things like senior year, playing ball games after work, living with her mother throughout her life, and having six wonderful children are the most wonderful moments of her life. It’s a simple, yet peaceful and eventful life. It does not have to be a big happening that changes one’s journey, but maybe just life itself that in the end, shows to be the most important story.

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