The pronunciation of our last name has come up a lot lately. It is an easy one to butcher and get wrong. Our last name is Giglio pronounced jill- E- o but most often it comes out JIG- leo
and even on occasion jige-LO ???
I remember back to when my mother-in-law was a substitute teacher for my sister and as a third grader called her Mrs. Jello. Chris was called Gigs growing up. (As high school sweet hearts from a small town, Chris and I have these old stories) Yesterday, I overheard the boys cracking up about how and when people have messed up our name. But, when someone gets it right, they are over the moon. The principal at Alex’s school now calls him Giglio (pronounced correctly) and he beams with pride. The name Giglio is one associated with beauty and meaning. It translates to lily, which in Italian is the iris. Read more here. Similar to the Fleur-de-lis, it instead has five petals instead of three. It is great fun to have this icon associated with our name. We have the flag of Florence which appropriately for our family has 5 Giglios on it. Our garden is full of iris of all shades. They are on our plates, glasses, doorstops, jewelry, etc. Chris and I have been to the Isola del Giglio where we were the only Americans and people there were baffled we were there and in SHOCK that our last name was indeed Giglio. I even had to show an elderly man my passport to get him to believe me. In turn, we were given tremendous service and attention while there. It was a hoot! We dined at Restaurante Giglio in Lucca with Chris’s family for his parents’ 40th and the menu is in our dining room. The name has taken us to wonderful places and given us some favorite memories. But the man who gave us this name is who is really on my mind and heart. Chris’s dad aka Mr.G is a gentleman to the core. I met him 25 years ago when I was just 15.
He watched me grow up along side his son and was nothing but supportive and caring as we stumbled along to find our footing into adulthood and eventually marriage. He was Chris’s best man.
In my studio I have a print of a young girl running with all of her art supplies under her arm that is in a frame that he made. Right now, Chachi sits at a table eating a snack that his grandfather proudly made with his hands. But Mr. G has given us so much more than his woodworking creations. He gave Chris a tremendous sense of what is right and wrong, a ridiculous work ethic, the importance of being a part of a community and an authenticity of being a true gentleman. And to me he always finds a quiet moment to sneak in a wonderful and heartfelt compliment. I cherish those words dearly. Right now he isn’t feeling well and Chris and I feel like we might as well be on the moon. If only we could put Colorado where West Virginia is. Chris will soon be going to lend a hand around their house and hopefully get in some fishing time with his Dad and brother to just enjoy the company and the day. Mr. G. is a great story teller. One of my favorites is that he had to be taken to first grade in a cab and checked in to school or otherwise he would just go roam for the day. He would rather be outside than anywhere, so it makes perfect sense.
I now have three boys who have his name. It feels like a huge responsibility to instill in them those hardworking, genuine, and sweet gentleman qualities that seem to come with the name. I am lucky to have my four Giglio guys here under roof and so fortunate to have had Mr. G lead the way. I will always be grateful that this loving man is a part of who I am and that I have the honor of being a Giglio, too.