When Nonna Venere visited, she arrived by train like in a movie, stepping down from the first-class compartment enveloped by smoke, wearing a cloche with a veil. She had four large suitcases and no gifts. Each time she came, I felt an excitement tinged with fear, as while she was staying with us, I was forbidden to do certain things I enjoyed, like blowing bubbles in my glass of milk through the hole of a dry bucatini spaghetti. Nonna Venere’s lips twitched with secret slights and opinions. I followed her around the house like a puppy in the hopes that she would tell me one of her war stories, which later kept me up at night.