A Proud American Writes His Story

When I founded Sunday Dinner Stories, a dear friend loaned me a copy of her grandfather’s memoir, My Nine Lives (Minus) One: How I Survived the War, Six Kids and a Wife and Lived to Tell My Tale. My friend’s Popi, Joseph A. Izzillo, passed away earlier this year, but since he published his memoir five years ago, his children and grandchildren were able to learn more about him and inquire about his life. Now, his story is immortalized and all future generations of his family will have the opportunity to know him as a person, a parent, and a military veteran.


Mr. Izzillo was a storyteller who not only shared his family, work, and WWII experiences, but also researched and shared the history of many topics he mentioned in his memoir. He interspersed short vignettes, similar to my 5-Minute MemoirsÔ, throughout the chapters as a way to share compact personal stories that had a beginning and an end. “Joey Needs a New Suit” and “My Mission to Patton” were two of my favorite vignettes.

Mr. Izzillo passed down the values that were most important to him including a strong work ethic, honesty, faith, military service, and kindness. As he described some of his most treasured possessions—for example, a signed picture from Dinah Shore, the rosary he prayed over during the war, and his memoir—I wondered whether he took the time to ask specific family members to care for his heirlooms when he could no longer do so.

Memorable Quotes:

I love to find so many nuggets of wisdom and history in a memoir. Here are a couple that touched my heart:

“The people still alive were mostly the elderly and the children…Although they were starving, they did not beg. But we shared our food with them. I have never been more proud of being an American than I was in those days to see how we treated our so-called enemies. The innocent civilians always suffer the most.” (p. 128 - 129)

“When danger is near, most of us call for our mothers and our God.” (p. 61)

I encourage you to read this memoir about a multi-faceted man who lived such a full and exciting life. You can purchase the book from Amazon and numerous online book vendors.

My Nine Lives (Minus) One: How I Survived the War, Six Kids and a Wife and Lived to Tell My Tale

If Mr. Izzillo’s memoir inspires you to share your story, I can help you start, finish, and publish a memoir for your family.

You or your loved one only need to tell your story as if we were sitting on the back porch sipping iced tea or enjoying Sunday dinner with your family.

I’d love to help you create a priceless family heirloom.

My Thank You to Your Loved One and Your Family

If you purchase a gift certificate for an introductory Words of Wisdom package for your veteran loved one before November 30, 2016, I will add a complimentary audio recording of your loved one’s Veterans History Project interview suitable for submission to the Library of Congress.

Please contact me for details.

I partner with daughters who want to honor their parents, cherish their families, and help their loved ones save their life stories.

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© 2016 Sunday Dinner Stories, Michelle Beckman