I dedicated A Family Affair: The List to my mom, the woman who gave me life and helped shape me into the person I am—my mother. (Read the complete dedication below.)
A Family Affair: The List is the first book I’ve completed since Mom’s passing last October 2020. When I was writing a book, Mom would often ask me about the characters and comment on the continuing saga. She absolutely loved Harry Blacksworth, the reformed playboy-turned–husband-and-father in this series. Much of the food in these books is based on memories with Mom. There is also a grandmother named Vincenza, my mother’s Italian name, which translated to Verna in English. (Probably not the most accurate translation, but that was her name for ninety-one years.)
After Mom passed, my daughters visited her house to help pack up her belongings and commented on how much Grandma loved her tchotchkes. I had never heard this term before and loved the sound of it. I asked them to explain and they pointed to the collection of knickknacks they called clutter and dust collectors. A Christmas village, a porcelain teacup, a ceramic flower, a jeweled egg. The house was filled with them! Yet when I looked at these tchotchkes, I didn’t see clutter or dust collectors. I saw memories. One was a gift from a friend, another from my brother, several from grandchildren, each special in its own way. They all provided deep and lasting memories for Mom and became what I like to call memory keepers. That’s why in this book there’s a woman who creates memory keepers—not like my mother’s, but with the same heartfelt emotion in them.
This book is for you, Mom. Long live the memories and the tchotchkes!