Sunday, April 24, 2011

Godmother of the Cosa Nostra?

Godmother of the Cosa Nostra?
(taken from "Uppity Women of Medieval Times by Vicki Leon)

In 1194 a forty year old woman gave birth to an audience of 200 in an Italian marketplace. Why would she do such a thing, you ask. Well, she just happened to be Constance,queen of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI. The audience of bishops wanted to make sure that what ever sprang from her womb actually came from her body (and not a slight of hand switch). The baby would become Frederick II and at three inherited Sicily and Germany. He would later become Holy Roman Emperor and was called "stupor mundi" or wonder of the world. Constance and her husband died when little Freddie was quite young and when foreign rulers began to exploit poor Constance's Sicilian holdings, she just may have given birth to something more sinister. Freedom fighters emerged in Sicily that fought the foreign rulers encroachment and they may have morphed into the Mafia - which would of course make Constance the Godmother of the Cosa Nostra!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Love, Life and Loss - on Waving Good Bye

Gentle Readers -
I found out something last week that really knocked me to my knees.
I finally connected with an old friend who was very kind to me years ago. Many times over the last few years, I had searched for her on the Internet, but could not find her - but finally she opened a Facebook account and Voila! there she was. It was so good to hear from her again. She mentioned that she still had the portrait of her daughter that I had done years ago and she treasured it now that her daughter was taken from her. When I enquired about her daughter, I was told that she had been killed 4 years ago in a murder/suicide. Just typing these words brings tears to my eyes and I can't even imagine the pain she must go through each and every day.
It really depressed me to think of it but as I was thinking last week, I started counting all the people that I knew personally who had been murdered or people that I know who had a relative or friend murdered. I had never thought of that before. But as I began to remember and count them, I came up with the number 7. Yes, seven.
Does that seem excessive to you? It does to me. Is this normal? It doesn't seem so to me. Seven precious souls whose life was cut short at the hands of someone else. Seven people who were loved by family and friends. As my mind tried to take all of this in - just the scope of it - was something I just could not get my mind around. I still can't.
My family laughs at me because I always wave goodbye to them as they drive away from the house - I keep waving until I can no longer see them. I have always wanted that to be last image of me they have - should I never see them again. When I tell them my reason for waving so long - they laugh again. I think I will keep doing it.