Amatrice 

I don’t even know what part of Italy Amatrice is in. Is it near Bari, where my mother’s people come from? Near Reggio Calabria, where my father’s people come from?  
I know I’ve never seen Amatrice, but right now it probably looks just like September 12, 2001 in lower Manhattan. Rubble everywhere and people not knowing if their loved ones are alive under there. A hell on earth nobody wants to see, let alone live through.  
In the chaos, fire fighters will be lauded as heroes. And rightly so…they’re heroes all along, and it’s fucking sad the earth has to swallow a town before anyone realizes it.  
I don’t wonder what the people of Amatrice will do. I know they’ll rebuild. I know the long tradition of Italians in carpentry and construction (a traditional my grandfather, a cabinetmaker, was part of), a tradition that carries over into the US. Amatrice looks a mess now, but they’ll hang a sign that says “Under Construction” and rebuild the whole thing. You’ll see.

Retail therapy 

And my mother can’t (really she won’t) go to the outlets in Deer Park unless both my sister and I go with her. And my sister made plans to have lunch with a friend, so my (now very angry) mother wouldn’t go to Deer Park. But she wouldn’t stay home. So the two of us are at the Roosevelt Field mall and the outlets will be another day. I’m not complaining. I bought my first pair of Toms, so I’m set for fall casual shoes.