There is nothing like an Italian grandmother. She cooks, she loves you unconditionally, and did I mention that she cooks?!! Rose was the world’s greatest Italian grandmother.
She was very religious and she always prayed for everyone she cared about. She was one of the few people that lived on this earth who practiced what they preached. She wanted to be less judgmental, less resentful, and she was the way she was with others because of how she perceived her own shortcomings. Rose gave so much of herself while not having many material things.
Family was the most important thing to her. She loved to have a lot of people around and make all the food. Even in her small apartment, she had as many as 15 people for holidays or just invited them to dinner. Rose knew how to make the most of what she had and she showed her love through the food she cooked.
She loved to play bingo and was determined to win. She did win sometimes, but mostly she just loved to play. She played the lottery as well and always talked of how she would give her children most of her winnings, so they wouldn’t have to work so hard. Rose loved to laugh, she loved family, she loved life and she tried to take care of everyone that would let her. She was amazing and one of a kind.
Rose loved Television – she loved old shows like Mannix, Streets of San Francisco, Murder She Wrote, CSI, and old Sherlock Holmes movies. She loved to laugh and most recently she liked Two and a half Men. She loved Lobster, she loved the ocean, loved Luciano Pavarotti and Broadway shows. She loved to laugh and she loved to cook. She cooked for everyone and you couldn’t get her to stop if you wanted her to. Lentil soup, pea soup, minestrone soup, meatball soup and on and on… She made the best meatballs and peppers, custard, anise cookies, pasta with meat sauce, pasta with meat balls, lasagna, chicken marsala, chicken with olives, risotto, cutlets, stuffed shells. The list is endless. Everyone who knew her would tell you their favorite dish.
No one could really call Rose a “stranger” because she befriended everyone. So many people cared for her, as she cared for them. There are far too many to list everyone, but in recent years, some of her favorite people were:
Francesca, her oldest daughter – She loved to take care of Rose. She was always there for her and made sure she had everything she needed in her home. They may have butted heads often, but only because they were a lot alike. Rose and Fran are both strong women, with generous, loving souls.
RoseAnn, her middle daughter – Rose and RoseAnn were active companions. They loved to go to tag sales, or to the Big E, or pick apples. Rose loved spending summers in Connecticut with RoseAnn and her grandsons, Frank and Philip.
Venerando, her youngest son – He loved listening to Rose tell him about the old days with her mother (his grandmother), her father, and her sisters and brothers. The thing that made them close was her unconditional love for Ven, his daughter Amy, and she always wanted to know how he was, and would tell him that he was working too hard.
Salvatore, her brother – She loved to go out to breakfast with Sal and his wife Marion. She loved to travel with him – went to Italy together. She loved to cook for him too.
Evelyn and Steve, her niece and nephew – she loved to help them and watch their daughters when they were younger. Also, she would cook for them too!
Mickey Prieto, former neighbor and dear friend – Rose kept in touch with Mickey even after she moved away from the old neighborhood many years ago. She used to cook for her and invite her over. Mickey also helped Rose as she got sick and made her days more pleasant by simply being with her.
Again, there are too many people to list. Family and friends were everything to Rose. They were what made the world go around.
Rose loved to tell stories about her mother, and how Anna Zappulla was a bootlegger while trying to raise six children alone. Or, the favorite story about her trip to the White House, and sitting next to the King of Romania at a State dinner during the Nixon presidency.
She dreamed of creating a guide to everything Italian. It stemmed from her husband’s vision, and she never let it go. While going through some of her things, the family found pages and pages of restaurants, shops, stores, galleries, etc. (with some as far away as Alaska) of Italian owned or themed businesses. She never gave up looking. She may have used creating the guide to pass the time, but she really hoped that someday it would be published.
Rose was one of a kind. She loved her entire family. She was even sure to write a note, or send a post card, or telephone family in Italy. She experienced life through giving to her family and friends just like any great Italian grandmother!
This is a living tribute to Rose Sequenzia. If you have stories, photos, or anything special you would like to add, you can post it in the comments below, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.