A Gift From Malla
(As Plain As The Nose On My Face)
A True Story
Robert Alan Chapin
Revised September 3, 2011
It was a hot, sweltering August dog day at Pine Grove Cemetery. The momentous occasion was for our family and friends to lay Malla to rest next to her beloved husband who passed unexpectedly 30 years earlier. It was her second marriage, and although they shared each other’s love - it was short lived, only five years, and she was left with four children to raise, I being the oldest.
Malla as she was known, was my mother and a colorful character. At 71 years young, she was a passionate and devoted Elvis fan. Ahead of her time, she received great happiness in wearing imitation leopard design articles of clothing. Often in a mini skirt and mismatched blouse
However, she did beat to a different drum, but that is who she was and although I did not have the opportunity to see her often, when we did, the conversation unavoidably centered around Elvis.
Her name was Carmela Helena Izzi Chapin, the daughter of immigrant Italians, Rose and Dominic Izzi. Dominic spoke only when spoken to and as long as he had his outhouse, Sears & Roebuck catalog, crooked Italian cigars, hidden booze, and his prized garden he was in his glory.
Malla was 23 years old when her brother Basil, a Merchant Marine in The U.S. Navy was torpedoed outside Cape Town, South Africa. Navy officials paid a visit to his mother (my grandmother) with the dreaded news that Basil was in all liklihood lost at sea and the family should plan a memorial service. My grandmother, the solid matriarch of the family refused to believe her son was a casualty and vowed to walk a mile to Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in her bare feet every day until he was rescued. The probability Basil would ever be found was next to impossible. The waters around Cape Town were infested with hungry man eating sharks!