My parent’s marriage brought together two very different cultures- southern Italy and upstate New York. They had eleven children and I was born smack dab in the middle.

Buying lots of “stuff” and eating out was rare…. but you were never at a loss for company. Even good company at times. Aside from obvious challenges like getting hand-me-down clothes, I sometimes think that having had limited financial resources had real benefits.


Daphne and Matilda

My parents were artists and educators, which led to an incredibly varied and rich home life. Both came from musical families and we were subjected to serial lessons on many instruments. (It worked for a couple of us) We always sat down to dinner together and often sang after -accompanied by my mother on piano.

Reading, cooking, woodworking, gardening, sewing and working with clay were integral parts of daily life. Saturday afternoons invariably resounded with the opera broadcast from the Met. International folk dancing was a regular neighborhood activity we always enjoyed.


Paola Prints

So, what’s the takeaway? Enjoyment in life doesn’t have to be complicated or dramatic. It can be achieved by putting together simple pleasures like great food lovingly prepared, soft beautiful fabric, and a warm fire on a chilly night. Shared.

Autumn is a great time to enjoy festive indoor scents –even just the smell of a candle extinguished. Here are a few others you might consider.

And always, put on some great music…


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