The quote by Jules Renard makes me pause. The quiet reflective side of me connects to this quote and thinks of me as the young, almost painfully shy little girl finding her place in a large and loud extended Italian-American family.
The air was always charged with an excited energy when the Italian side of my family gathered at either my great grandmother’s home or the home of one of her daughters (my nana or one of my aunties). Honestly, we weren’t yelling; that’s just the way we talk – animated and enthusiastic.
Italians are boisterous; their passion for food, family and life erupts in a cacophony of sounds, some pleasant, some unpleasant that make up the soundtrack of my childhood.
I was always the quieter child of all my cousins. At family gatherings, I would often go unnoticed while sitting in a corner listening to the adults laughing and talking. Occasionally, they would notice me or one of my cousins and switch to speaking Italian so we couldn’t understand.
I was so soft-spoken my words would often go unheard. A chorus of my aunts calling the Michels, Carloses, Anthonys, Michaels, Frankies and Thomases of our family to the dinner table could easily drowned out my teeny voice. It could be difficult for me to get a word in edgewise, never mind a complete thought or sentence.
Reading Renard’s quote I wonder whether my family’s natural enthusiasm and vigor in comparison to my quiet demeanor played a role in my lifelong attraction to the written word.