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Treasure your heroes

| Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Most people have someone they look up to and call a hero. I am lucky to have two heroes, my loving grandparents who I call my Nonna and Nonno, which means Grandma and Grandpa in Italian.

My Nonno is 86 years old, has survived a stroke, a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. As a child, riding my blue Schwinn bike behind him around Lake Michigan and going to our favorite park, Petrifying Springs, were our favorite activities. After pushing me on the swings, we would gather sticks and stand on the bridge over Pike River. We dropped the sticks from the bridge and ran to the other side so we could watch them flow down the river until they were out of sight.

My Nonna will be 84 next month and has survived breast cancer, three knee replacements, a heart attack and triple bypass surgery and takes care of my Nonno. She is the sweetest lady and can put a smile on anyone’s face, not to mention she is the best cook in the whole world, the Queen of the kitchen. Words can’t describe the immenseness of her heart.

My Nonna always calls me tesoro, which means treasure in Italian. My Nonno, an avid reader of the Kenosha News newspaper, is always telling me stories of the news he read that day in the paper. They came to America from Montecatini Terme, Italy, in 1958 and have taught me so many important life lessons.

This is for my heroes, to give them and the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame community a little piece of how important it is to make your heroes proud, by giving them a part of the things you treasure most in life: the gifts God has given you.

My hero taught me to love nature and find my passions in life. He is the wisest man I know, and even though he isn’t strong enough to go on bike rides and to the park anymore, I can feel his love and strength in every big squeeze he gives me. My other hero taught me to be strong and to love with my whole heart. I hope one day to be half the woman she is.

Riding my blue bike around the Saint Mary’s lake, my memories with my Nonno are brought to the present. Eating pasta in the dining hall and going to Regina Hall, home of the queens, I remember how my Nonna will always be the Queen of the kitchen.

For two people who have taught me everything, a few hundred words in black and white will never be enough to show how much they are loved. But it is so much more than that — it is giving them a part of something I love: writing for The Observer.

I want to share this with my heroes. They will always have a piece of The Observer, a story to read in the morning and talk about, a piece of something I love and treasure.

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About Alaina Anderson

Alaina is a Junior at Saint Mary's College and is studying English Writing and Communication Studies. From the warm and exotic state of Wisconsin, she is a professional shower singer, an ambassador for The Elephant Pants, and an avid lover of alliteration.

Contact Alaina