As I popped in to Walmart late one night recently, I never expected I’d leave there with a new friend.
I was asking a sales associate for help, when this older customer wandered over to me an struck up a conversation and didn’t want to let me go. She brought up the fact that she was Italian, no Sicilian actually, and started retelling me stories of growing up in an Italian family. Interested, I asked her what brought her to Ventura, California and more about her life. She had a firecracker personality, sharp wit, still very agile and lucid and was determined not to slow down. Which is why she drove herself to Walmart at 8 o’clock that night.
She then encouraged me to guess her age. I couldn’t believe it when she said ONE HUNDRED! 100 years old and still driving, but what’s more shocking is she’s self-sufficient physically and mentally carrying on interesting conversations and shopping for herself and by herself at Walmart.
Not believing her, she then proceeded to whip out her CA drivers license to prove to me her real age and sure enough, she had just turned 100 in April. We exchanged numbers and she posed for a picture right in front of the clothing aisle! Teresa Piano, the coolest Italian centennial nonna I’ve ever met, that said her secret is “not taking shit from anyone and eating anything you want”!
I’m really happy to have met a living legend and would like to pick her brain one day and hear more stories on what it was like being born in 1917 and growing up during the 30’s in an Italian family.
For those of you who don’t know the origins of the sign she’s giving, it means cornuta (which also has another meaning which we won’t get into) “horns“ or malocchio “evil eye” which when flashed is a superstitious gesture to ward off bad luck.