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Ravioli stuffed with memories

Marguerite Melia with her five daughters, clockwise from

Marguerite Melia with her five daughters, clockwise from top left, Joanne Melia, Mary Giambalvo, Kathy Levine, Maggie Milgrim and Eileen Melia Hession Credit: Paul Fetscher

I'm not sure if the book "Tuesdays With Morrie" was the inspiration for our "Wednesdays with Mom," but my four sisters and I decided it would be a good idea to meet at Mom's once a week for dinner. Mom was in her 80s and living alone in Long Beach, and she would be boosted by our companionship and have a good meal. At least two of us, and sometimes all five of us, were there every Wednesday for the last four years of her life.

We sometimes cooked, but usually, takeout was easier. Mom always wanted Gino's spinach ravioli. We would bring a bottle of wine to make the evening festive, and we spent the night talking until she would tire and go to bed. Actually, I usually got tired first.

Family celebrations, like weddings and Christmas, are great. The excitement and number of people involved make for fun but hectic days. Our Wednesdays were celebrations on a more intimate level. We could get deep into conversation. We laughed, sometimes cried, sometimes brought up old memories, good and bad. I think back on some of the things discussed: how mom caught me smoking; Dad's days in the war; shopping for Easter outfits for five little girls. It wasn't all about the past. We also talked about world news, books and neighborhood gossip.

Mom loved Wednesdays, and so did we. Such cherished memories. When I find myself missing her, I go to Gino's and order the spinach ravioli.

--Eileen Melia Hession, Long Beach

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