When I was a young child, I thought my grandmother was God, so I called her Godie. And that name has stuck ever since that day, when her beautiful lullabies permeated the tiny bedroom where I slept.
Her parents emigrated from Abruzzo, Italy, a region know for its culture and history. When Godie's parents arrived in Ellis Island, they hoped to find a better life.
Godie took care of her five siblings when her mother became ill. As the oldest she made sure chores were done on time. She carried these sentiments on, when I argued with her one day years later, insisting that I would put the laundry away later. "Now, put the clothes away, NOW!" I didn't argue again. I also did not protest when it was time for dinner. She would say, "Munga," and our family knew to get to the dinner table NOW!
Godie inspired me with her love of gymnastics, education (she was valedictorian of her high school), love of reading and generosity. She'd visit during the week and wash laundry to help my mother and cook meals.
She could not go to college because only the men were educated in her family due to financial hardship, but always wanted to be an English teacher. Her grammar was impeccable.
She taught me and all of her family, to be strong, resilient and to value hard work and education. So, she ultimately was, the greatest of teachers.