I love the synchronicity of the Internet. Last summer, I posted a whimsical entry about the wooden salmon art piece I did called “Sam Mandala,” which played on the word “salmon” and used mandala images as a theme. Well, it turns out that there was a real Sam Mandala, an Italian born in the Bronx. His granddaughter Melissa had Googled his name, and wound up on my blog. Who woulda thunk it?
She said that she loved my fish mandala and wanted to know if it was for sale. (It’s not. It was auctioned off and I have no idea who bought it.) She added: “[I]t describes my grandfather’s personality to a ‘t’.”
When Melissa emailed me about this, I was skeptical, having been victim of an Internet job hoax several months ago. But I did my own online research before responding and yes, she did exist. When I asked to find out more about her grandfather, here is what she sent in a reply:
“I’m from New Jersey, my grandfather was born in the Bronx, then moved to Newark, NJ. His parents and oldest brother were born in Sicily. His brothers were deviants, his brother Paulie was a bookie and his other brother was the type to steal and then fence the items.
“Grandpa followed a different path. He married Grandma and then went to war in Korea. There are so many pictures where he’s kissing and hugging and holding Grandma on his lap. Every photo, he has a huge smile. I remember when I’d spend the night, he would wake up first, brew coffee, and bring it in to Grandma while she was in bed. He spoiled her and it was cute. Everyone in his senior citizen apartment building knew who he was because he would talk to everyone, but never got involved with drama or gossip. He always had a joke on hand. I think, maybe, he was a bit of a flirt!! So, that’s Sam Mandala as I remember him . . .”
What a wonderful story. I encouraged Melissa to write about her grandfather since so many family stories and reminiscences disappear, never told. That’s one reason why I’m writing a memoir and encourage others to do so through my workshops. Thanks, Melissa, for sharing a touching tale. I’m grateful that your grandpa’s memory ended up prompting you to contact me.