My very Irish friend sent an email to me the other day containing a satirical list of things, events and people that constituted The Life of an Italian Child. MMmmmm interesting. I’ve seen lists like this before and they are usually a caricature and over-the-top picture of Italian life and culture. This one had its fair share of absurdities and legendary myths BUT…as we all know, every satire is based in truths and facts.
Many on the list made me smile and reminisce of days long gone by. I remembered so many incidents from my childhood that reminded me that I always knew I was Italian. So I thought I would share most of these remembrances with my readers and If you’re not Italian, some of these things may seem a little strange. BUT… if you are, this is a nice reflection back to the way things used to be… In some cases I’ve added my own footnotes – well after all, it IS my blog!
Per tutta mia famiglia e gli amici, ti amo oggi, domani e sempre
1. You have at least one relative who wore a black dress every day for an entire year after a funeral. (well maybe not a whole year)
2. Every Sunday afternoon of your childhood was spent visiting your grandparents and extended family. (I lived in another state from my grandparents but I think my cousins did experience this to some degree)
3. You’ve experienced the phenomena of 150 people fitting into 50 square feet of yard during a family cookout.
4. You thought killing the pig each year and having salami, capacollo, pancetta and prosciutto hanging out to dry from your shed ceiling was absolutely normal. (Wow, that’s really Italian!) (not me but my Dad…although there was one year…)
5. You ate pasta for dinner at least three times a week, and every Sunday. (at least twice for sure)
6. . You grew up thinking no fruit or vegetable had a fixed price and the price of everything was negotiable through haggling. (oh yes, when Grandma visited)
7. You were as tall as your grandmother by the age of seven. (if not seven, then certainly by ten)
8. You thought everyone’s last name ended in a vowel. (well most of our friends and all the relatives)
9. Your mom’s main hobby was cleaning. (my Italian mother-in-law definitely)
10.You were surprised to find out that wine was actually sold in stores. (not quite but homemade was always available)
12. You thought Catholic was the only religion in the world. (I still have my doubts about those others lol)
13. You were beaten regularly with a wooden spoon or broom. (my father said Grandma used a wooden spoon on him)
14. You can understand Italian but you can’t speak it.
15. You have at least one relative who came over on the boat. (my Grandfather)
16. All of your uncles fought in a World War.
17. You have at least six male relatives named Tony, Frank, Joe or Louie.
18. You have relatives who aren’t really your relatives. (I had a few)
19. . You have relatives you don’t speak to.
20. You drank wine before you were a teenager. (Does dandelion wine count?)
21. You grew up in a house with a yard that didn’t have one patch of dirt that didn’t have a flower or a vegetable growing out of it
22. Your grandparents’ furniture was as comfortable as sitting on plastic. Wait….You were sitting on plastic. (and your thighs stuck to the seat)
22. You thought that yelling was normal. (it still holds true in my house)
23. You thought sugared almonds, full sit-down meals, and the Tarantella were found at all weddings. (never went to one that didn’t have the works)
24. You thought everyone got pinched on the cheeks and had money stuffed in their pockets by their relatives. (Oh boy, when Aunt Susie visited!)
25. Your mother is overly protective of the males in the family no matter what their age. (Italian mothers and Jewish mothers)
26. There was a crucifix in every room of your house.(well not in every room, just most)
27. . You couldn’t date a boy without getting approval from your father. (Oh, and he had to be Italian.) (definitely true)
28. You called pasta “macaroni”. (with gravy)
29. Every condition, ailment, misfortune, memory loss and accident was attributed to the fact that you didn’t eat something.