I learned a lot about myself in the process while writing “Just Say the Word…” simply from the creative process and the overwhelming challenge writing and publishing a book is. After the first edition of JSTW was run, I eagerly sent copies off to all my closest friends and relatives. After a week or so, I began to get comment and feedback calls and emails. The most interesting comments were from my very own Mom. She liked the book (she’s a tough critic) and said she found it unusual that I had unknowingly named the father’s character the same name as my very own (departed) Dad. I hadn’t. In a split second, fear rushed through my mind and body: Mom was losing her memory. She is, after all, in her 80’s, I rationalized. I asked her if she heard what she had just said to me out loud, and she replied yes and repeated the very same comment, “You named the Dad in your book after Daddy.” I reminded her that my father’s name is Joe and not Sal as in the novel. For the third time, she repeated her sentence slowly, as if I were a child. I took a deep breath, but before I could speak again, Mom stated, “Honey, your Dad’s birth certificate shows his name as Salvatore.” I was astounded. I had never known that of my very own father! When I asked her why she had never shared this with me, she shrugged it, deciding that I wouldn’t think it important. Another Mom making a decision for her daughter. It seems that when my Dad was born, he was named for both his father and grandfather, both name Salvatore. In an effort to keep the confusion to a minimum, my paternal grandmother began to call her new infant Joe. Joe grew up identifying himself as such. When he applied for a Social Security card (in the 1920’s), he used the name Joseph. When he enlisted in the Army to serve in World War II, he signed as Joseph. And true to form, his gravestone shows the same beautiful name, the name of a[nother] revered saint! I wanted to be angry with my mother for not sharing that bit of family history, but in her innocence, she really didn’t think it would have been important. Not important, but kinda “trippy”, if you ask me.
I don’t hope to stumble across another fun tidbit in my new writing, but as I write, I can’t help but wonder if maybe I already have…….