To this day I remember my mum's letters. It all started in December 1941. Every night she sat at the big table in the kitchen and wrote to my brother Johnny, who had been drafted that summer. We had not heard from him since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I didn't understand why my mum kept writing Johnny when he never wrote back. "Wait and see, we'll get a letter from him one day," she claimed. I don't know if she said that to calm herself, dad or all of us down. But I do know that it helped us stick together, and one day a letter really did arrive. Johnny was alive on an island in the Pacific. I had always been amused by the fact that mum signed her letters, "Cecilia Capuzzi", and I teased her about that. "Why don't you just write 'Mum'?" I said. I hadn't been aware that she always thought of herself as Cecilia Capuzzi. Not as Mum. I began seeing her in a new light, this small delicate woman, who even in high-heeled shoes was barely one and a half meters tall. She never wore make-up or jewelry except for a wedding ring of gold. Her hair was fine, sleek and black and always put up in a knot in the neck. She wouldn't hear of getting a haircut or a perm. Her small silver-rimmed pince-nez only left her nose when she went to bed.
至今我依然记得母亲的信。事情要从 1941 年 12月说起。母亲每晚都坐在厨房的大饭桌旁边，给我弟弟约翰写信。那年夏天约翰应征入伍。自从日本袭击珍珠港以后，他就一直杳无音信。 约翰从未回信，我不明白母亲为何还要坚持写下去。 可母亲还是坚持说：” 等着瞧吧，总有一天他会给我们回信的。“ 虽然我不肯定她是否只是在安慰自己，或是父亲，或者是我们几个孩子，但我们一家人却因此更加亲密。而最终我们终于等到了约翰的回信，原来他驻扎在太平洋的一个岛屿上，安然无恙。 母亲总以塞西莉娅·卡普奇署名，每每令我忍俊不禁，还要嘲笑她几句。我问：” 为什么不直接写母亲呢?“ 以前我一直没有留意到她把自己当成塞西莉娅·卡普奇，而不是母亲。我不禁以新的眼光打量自己的母亲，她是多么优雅，又是那么矮小，就算穿上高跟鞋，她的身高依然不足一米五。 母亲向来素面朝天，除了手上戴的婚戒，她基本是不戴其他的首饰。她的头发顺滑乌亮，盘在颈后，她从不剪短或烫曲。只有在睡觉的时候，她才摘下那副小小的银丝眼镜。