Nona Amelia liked to tell me how she was born in that very room the night McKinley was shot. “My father said they came after anyone they considered to be an anarchist. His own brother was arrested. My father said it is because our name sounded foreign.”

I remember her piano cluttered with framed pictures of family members, most of the photos taken in the house or just outside it. She would hold up a frame and say “This is your Uncle Julius. He was killed at Salerno, before you were born” or “This is my cousin Frieda. Mack Sennett once proposed to her.”

I remember how she would take my hands in hers and say “Johnny, this house. To our family, it is everything. Promise me you will never sell it.”  And how every time I would promise her.

But there are only so many promises a man can keep.


What Pegman Saw