In Memory of Ann Rinaldi

In Memory of Ann Rinaldi

I have so many fond memories of my grandmother from my childhood. When I think of her I immediately think of mozzarella cheese, coupons, and chicken soup.  Strange combination of thoughts, right?

Well it all has to do with the fact that I loved mozzarella cheese so much when I was little (still do) and Gran would always have it at her house for me every time I came over her place.  She would cut it up in slices and I would put salt on it and eat the whole block.

The coupon reference is one that makes me smile.  My grandma was a coupon wizard.  She would have so many coupons that she filled an entire dresser drawer with them.  She lived in a retirement apartment complex and she would collect all of the coupon circulars from the recycling center and when I would come over I would sit at the kitchen table and cut them out for her for hours and help organized them in envelopes for her.  When she would go to the grocery store she would work with the store’s sale circular and her coupons and she could fill a whole cart with groceries and never pay a cent…we joke that sometimes they owed HER money at the checkout! She inspired me to do the same thing for my mom with coupons when I was young.  Sometimes when mom and I would go shopping I’d save her $40-$50 with “double coupons.”  You can’t beat savings!  I still try to use them where I can to this day!

I always wanted to help her when I came over.  One day she showed me that her can opener could sharpen knives on the back of it and next thing you know I was sharpening every single knife she had in the kitchen, in turn, burning out the can opener in the process.  She didn’t get upset with me…she just told me not to worry about it…but I never forgot that story all this time!  lol.

She was a great cook.  I have memories of more great Italian dinners than you can imagine.  She was also famous for her homemade chicken soup.  She’d make tons of it and freeze it in recycled containers she saved from other meals (my granny never wasted a thing!) and every time you’d come over you’d end up leaving with a container of her homemade chicken soup.

She was super thoughtful and very generous.  I remember over and over going to her house and if I complimented something she had she would tell me to take it home.  I would tell her, no Gran it’s yours, but somehow the item would find it’s way home with me in my bag because she snuck it in there.  I was just packing tonight and found a teeny tiny glass vase with teeny tiny glass flowers in it that she gave me.  I keep in it on the shelf in my office and it reminds me of her.

Grandma loved to swim at our house during the summer and she loved to read.  She has probably read tens of thousands of books in the years past.  When she would come over to relax at our house during the summer she would read her books while cooling off in the pool and would finish a book in a day!  Between her and my mother who also loves to read – I can see where my love for reading comes from (if only I had more time lately to do so!)

Grandma had many ailments and had been on oxygen for about 10 years.  Even with all of the health issues she had through the years she just kept on ticking!  That’s why it’s hard for me to grasp that she is no longer with us.  No matter what, she always pulled through, even with the WORST diagnosis – ALWAYS!!  So, I’ve been in a bit of a denial since I was told she passed away last week. It still doesn’t seem real.

It’s been a hard year.  First my Aunt passed away last year…then my Father this May, and now my Grandma (my Dad’s Mother) a month later. I’ve lost almost all of the members on one branch of my extremely small family tree.  It’s not an easy reality to face.  I’m trying my best to get through the tough days I have ahead and I’m looking forward to a bright and shiny future…there has to be a rainbow after all of these stormy days!

Visiting with Gran in NC this past November:

I can’t believe your both gone from my life…

Her favorite things…reading & relaxing in the sun in the pool:

We’ll miss you Gran!

June 25, 2009 - 5:41 pm

elaineobrienphoto - Jen, they say that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I do find that I question that at times like this. But, you CAN and WILL handle this grief and you have honored both your father and your grandmother so beautifully in your blogs.

My heart is with you! Take good care of yourself during this time of sorrow.


June 25, 2009 - 3:53 pm

Jo - Very beautiful Jen – what precious memories you have:)

June 25, 2009 - 8:13 am

Laura Bruen - What an amazing Tribute. Beautiful!!

June 24, 2009 - 8:07 pm

Andy - My sympathies.

June 24, 2009 - 8:48 am

leegro - beautiful tribute

June 24, 2009 - 8:46 am

oneshotbeyond - I truly hope she had a good and long life. I love that you included your childhood memories with her and of her. That’s the beauty of grandparents…there are so many little memories that add up to one big full heart of love.
:-) Great tribute!

June 24, 2009 - 7:47 am

Julie - I’m so sorry for your loss, Jen. These stories and photos make such a beautiful tribute. I just adore the photo of her in the pool with her book and refreshments.

June 24, 2009 - 7:28 am

Jeri - So very touching, Jen. You captured your grandma beautifully. Peace be with you and keep your chin up.

June 24, 2009 - 6:50 am

Mom - There are lots of memories in the 42 years I knew Gran……….but Jen you captured the ones that describe her the best………RIP ANN and thanks for being a second Mother to me.


June 24, 2009 - 4:16 am

Colblue Photography - These are some wonderful stories to hold on to and cherish.

I’m sure there will be great times ahead for you!

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