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Book details
  • SubGenre:Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:318
  • eBook ISBN:9781667899664
  • Paperback ISBN:9780962774522

Paintings of Mama and Papa

by Mary Reginato Hudson

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Paintings of Mama and Papa is a collection of short stories written over several decades about growing up as a child of Italian immigrants in a rural part of California called Dunsmuir. Dunsmuir is now an historic railroad town. After Mary Reginato passed away, her daughter took her collection of stories, and added many family and historic photographs to make the stories come alive. The memoir of Mary's childhood is a delightful "collezione" and scrumptious compilation and scrapbook about actual family members and real places. This personal project uses the author's Mama and Papa as a source of inspiration, while the book is the fruition of a dream and a special sharing of words and nostalgic images. The book traces the progression of a large family from northern Italy to America. It covers a marriage of six decades and is a finale to lives well lived, shared with honesty and love. It tells of the connection to an all-important railroad, nature in the backyard, the Sacramento River, and life on Butterfly Avenue. The book also reveals the importance of pure water, extreme climate, food (such as stuffato, chicken stew), and simple joys like fishing that bonded the family. Paintings of Mama and Papa speaks to all ages and generations because it speaks about important and wonderful things that no longer exist. It speaks about values of a lost generation. It speaks about living in a community where people cared about each other and helped each other and needed each other. It speaks about living in a simple way with very little money or possessions yet feeling like you have it all. It speaks to simplicity and kindness, and the importance of working hard and valuing and respecting your work. Things that are now rarely seen in this complicated and media driven world. The stories and memories are universal and timeless, and all immigrants and descendants of immigrants will relate and yearn for this wonderful way of life.
Mary Reginato Hudson's book Paintings of Mama and Papa is a sensitive and heartwarming collection of short stories and memories about growing up in the 1920's and 1930's in the historic railroad town of Dunsmuir, California. Pietro and Antonia Reginato immigrated from northern Italy believing they would find gold in California. They did not find gold in the streets, but instead they found the wonderland of Siskiyou County in northern California. Together they built their little house and established their home on the banks of the Sacramento river where the majestic Mount Shasta hovered over them. Surrounded by the beauty of Castle Crags and Black Butte and the Trinity mountains, they raised their seven children with a goal of giving them a good and honest life in America. Although they had very little, they had everything they needed. In fact, they had it all. The small Southern Pacific Railroad community, which at that time was the hub of the railroad in northern California, provided a great support and provision to the working families. And the street on which they built their house called Butterfly Avenue was a small example of unity and diversity amongst the neighbors. Sharing their burdens and their joys, they took care of each other. And Mama and Papa were able to see their children succeed. They were able to see their children become the new Americans. Angelo, the football star of Cal Berkely, made the winning touchdown in the game between Cal and Stanford in 1936. Katerina, an incredible female athlete, who also attended Cal Berkely, was invited to the Olympics in 1936. Johnny became a successful businessman. Albert following in his father's footsteps, became a career railroad man. Tony, the jack of all trades, was successful in the auto business. Mary dedicated herself to writing and wrote many wonderful children books for children, editorials, and of course Paintings of Mama and Papa, a legacy to her parents. And Carolyn, the youngest who also graduated from Cal Berkeley became a teacher. The These stories are wondrous and uniting memories of a time when life was simple, despite the depression and the war. There was kindness and caring and trust amongst the people of the town. They took care of each other and filled each other's needs. And in the magical beauty of Siskiyou County, they experienced the joys of trout fishing, and picnics in the mountains, and walking in the woods, and hunting for dandelions and mushrooms and raising chickens and rabbits and eating food from their garden. Paintings of mama and Papa will take you back to a time in America, where the most important thing was doing the right thing, and following the golden rule and helping anyone who crossed your path. Today we see signs and T-shirts everywhere stating… If you can be anything, be kind. Well, that was the reality of life in Dunsmuir, California, and in many ways it still is. These stories demonstrate the joy of simple living to a world today where life is driven by social media, competition and mistrust of everyone. The book will transport the reader back to the hardships and joys of an era long gone.
About the author
Mary Reginato Hudson. October18,1923 - JANUARY 30, 2021 Mary Reginato Hudson was born in 1923. Her parents, Pietro and Rina Reginato were Italian immigrants who raised their 7 children in the historic and magical town of Dunsmuir, California. Mary married Herbert Hudson in 1947. He was a decorated and honored World War II Army pilot. Mary and Herb and daughter, Christine settled in Mountain View, California when Herb became a commercial airline pilot. But, shortly thereafter, Herb was killed in a plane crash over the Pacific Ocean, leaving Mary, now pregnant with her second daughter, Laurie, a widow. Mary never remarried. Instead, she devoted herself to raising her two daughters. Trying to be a single mother in the 1950's, with very little money, and living in a neighborhood of married couples that did not welcome a single woman back into their circle, was an eye opener about life. So, she started to write. She wrote about everything. She believed the only way to save her soul and her sanity was to write. Today, it's called journaling. So, she sat down at her typewriter with her onionskin paper, and she wrote stories, and she wrote how she felt, and she expressed her anger and frustration…and fear. And she was very creative. Mary wrote for her entire life, and she loved to write. Complaint letters, short stories, editorials, books, just her feelings, everything. She just put it on paper. During her lifetime, Mary had many different jobs. She worked for Bank of America, Motherhood Maternity Shop, Stanford University, and was the favorite employee of Manpower Temporary Services. Through the temporary services, Mary worked for many many companies in Silicon Valley. Her last job was at Sears Roebuck where she was their top salesman in furniture. But Mary's true talent was her writing abilities. As a young widow, she began writing children's stories. Mary's children's stories were very creative and beautifully written. Mary was an exceptionally creative and intuitive writer with a great imagination. Later, she wrote a beautiful memoir of her parents called Paintings of Mama and Papa. After her parents died, Mary was sad and she was grieving, but she did not let it overwhelm her. Instead, she chose to deal with grief by remembering what was good; by remembering cherished moments in her life that brought her joy. And so, she put these memories on paper. It seems my Mary truly had a special lens through which she saw the world of her childhood and youth with amazing sensitivity to the deeper layers of life. The result is a beautiful series of precious thoughts and memories that are not dark and isolating, but wondrous and uniting. She also wrote many articles and stories honoring the Italian immigrants, like her parents who came over in the early 1900s from Italy to help make this country what it is today. Her father worked 47 years for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Many of her articles were published in local Italian heritage magazines. She also loved, more than anything else, to attend an Italian American Heritage function because Mary really loved being an "Italian woman." Mary was an extremely spiritual woman and wrote many stories on spirituality. Although raised as a Catholic, she believed that all religions were good and true. Mary had many friends and many interests including Greek dancing, cooking, Lawrence Welk, and socializing. But her favorite activity was working outside in the garden. She called her garden "the garden of no money" because everything just came back in the spring without a lot of expense. Mary was a people person. She loved people, she loved to talk, and entertain with her stories. Mary had a profound love of life. Mary loved to live life, and always tried her best to keep busy and keep living. In her elder years, she loved to go to the senior center and listen to music and have lunch with other seniors. Those who knew her were always touched by her wisdom, sense of humor, discussions of life and love, and friendship. It is believed that when she passed away in 2021, at the age of 97, the heavens opened with joy and said, "Let the storytelling begin!"