Travel Video ~ Sicilia Mia
Sicilia Mia highlights my travels through Sicily, land of my Ancestors, in 2018 when I turned 60. Visits to Santo Stefano birthplace of my Paternal Ancestors where the streets have surnames of families I grew up with in Tampa, FL and Sciacca, birthplace of my Maternal Ancestors near the Turkish Steps. Also, the Shrines of Patron Saint Santa Rosalia in Palermo & Santo Stefano, a tour of the "Godfather" home in Savoco, botanical gardens of Taormina, and FABLUOS food & vino all over this island paradise!
Celebration Video ~ Anna Leto 90th Birthday
To Our Mother Anna on her 90th Birthday was celebrated May 15th, 2015 at St. Lawrence Social Hall, where Mom was the oldest member of the church choir. Tells the love story of Anna & our father Frank Leto, living in the same Brooklyn brownstone during the Great Depression as children who had both lost a parent, through Frank serving in WWII, their marriage and move from New York to Florida, births of their children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren, celebration of their 50th Anniversary at the Golden Cross in St. Augustine in 1995, and the unexpected passing of our dad and how Anna carried on for 11 more years without him.
Celebration Video ~ Nina Leto 90th Birthday
To Aunt Nina Piazza Leto when she turned 90. Nina was married to our crazy "Uncle Red", my Dad's youngest brother. Dad and Uncle Red were two and one when their father Salvatore passed away leaving their mother, Mara Cicca, a widow with 8 children during the Great Depression. Nina was the last living Leto Matriarch when her family & friends gathered at the historic Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City to celebrate this icon of grace and dignity in Tampa.
To Mama Stella is a tribute to my Godmother, Stella Speziale Giglio, upon her passing in 1977, my freshman year at University of Florida. Her husband and my Godfather Joe Giglio lived on 17th Street in Ybor City along with many other Speziale & Leto relatives. She was certainly a "Woman of Gold" and our surrogate grandmother since our grandmother, her oldest sister, Calogera "Lillian" passed away at 31. Mama Stella along with great Aunts Pauline & Mary, and our great-grandmother Nana, helped raise our mom Anna and her sister Mary.
Picture Poem ~ To Mason James
To Mason James honors the birth of my best friend's 5th grandchild, born December 2020...year of the COVID. Wrote Picture Poems for her other 4 grandchildren (see next): Passing the Crown for the two girls (the oldest born on her Nonna's birthday) and Following in Your Footsteps for the two boys (my godson's children). The poems were written for the older siblings while the Moms were pregnant with the younger siblings to welcome their new baby sister/brother. The poems are framed and hanging in their bedrooms as a reminder that siblings "...are a gifts from above".
To Ila Elizabeth & her younger sister Ansley Gray written to honor my best friend's grand daughters. This poem was inspired by the movie Frozen and teaches the sisters that "pretty girls should act nice too" and to encourage Ila to be nice to her new baby sister. And it worked...Ila is a sweet big sis and acts just like her Nonna taking care of all her younger cousins! Framed poem & pictures hang in her bedroom and she reads it to Ansley.
To Liam Michael & his younger brother Hudson Lee written to honor my best friend's grand sons (and my godson's boys). Since I wrote one for his older cousin Ila, had to do the same for Liam. This poem was inspired by Power Rangers & Ninja Turtles encouraging the brothers to "have each other's back". Framed poem & pictures available from Picture Poem Productions.