Sunday, May 21, 2006

Memories.....Light the Corners of My Mind

Since my birthday last week, I've been thinking a lot about Memories. Family Memories. I come from a big Italian family - my mother was one of 7 children and my father one of 6. Both sets of grandparents came from Italy with nothing.

My paternal grandfather (Pappy) was the only grandparent that I actually knew. All the rest had passed before I was born. Until he died and we saw his obituary in the paper, we all thought his name was Charlie. His given name was Michael, but when he came to America he was just a WOP (without papers) and they couldn't understand him so they called him Charlie and passed him through. This past January we had a 90th birthday party for my Uncle. The whole family came from all over. My aunt and uncle from CA, my brother and some cousins from FL, more cousins from NC, more cousins from DE -- you get the picture. The evening was all about memories, most happy, some sad.

I remember when Pappy was alive he lived with my Aunt and Uncle. We'd go over every Monday night for macaroni. Pappy always had butterscotch candy in his bottom dresser drawer. My sister, my cousin and I would go to see Pappy and get candy and he'd call us Miss Mud. We all thought it was a cute nickname, only to find out later that Pappy was 3 sheets to the wind and he called us Miss Mud because he couldn't tell who was who!

My sister lives in my Aunt and Uncle's house now. It amazes us how we used to sit 12 people around the dining room table on Monday nights and feast on macaroni, meetballs, sausage, bracciole and salad (at the end of the meal). I developed my affinity for a cocktail in those days. I'd get a sip of my father's whiskey sour before dinner, had my first sip of wine at that table and then after dinner, my cousin Charlie would slip us a shot a Galiano.

Of course, Pappy is long gone now. My parents are both gone now too. My uncle passed many years ago and Aunt a few years back after a battle with Alzheimers. But the great times we all shared together are very special. Now I make the gravy, meatballs, sausage and braccoile (ok, that I buy already made, but I cook it). We still sit around my Aunt's table, but it belongs to my sister now. And when we do, we tell my nieces the stories of when we were their age at that same table.

My brother lives in Florida now, so we don't get to spend holidays together. This year, my sister and I decided to fly down and spend Thanksgiving with him and my SIL and nieces and nephew. It will be the first holiday we've spent together, all 3 of us, in many years. I can't wait. (now watch, Clay's tour will be hitting NYC Thanksgiving weekend!)

P.S. -- the Yankees are pissing me off. I bet my boss (a Met fan) that they will have a better record than the Mets at the end of the season. Maybe, if someone accidentally breaks Randy Johnson's left pinkie finger, I'll win that bet.

P.P.S. --- 17 pounds lost!!!!

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CB said...

Well, the first thing I learned from your blog is that I've been singing that song wrong all these years. I used to sing "Memories, like the corners of my mind".

My father's side of the family sounds like yours. Best memories are Christmas Eve, my grandmother would cook for days in the second kitchen in the basement. She had a long cement table that was built into the floor, it was the length of the cellar. (Dad was one of 8 and they all had lots of kids).

feelingthejoy said...

Italian here, did you call it gravy instead of sauce? I grew up in Boston and there was brown gravy or red gravy...sauce didn't exist *g*. Now that I live in SC...people don't have a clue of what I'm talking about, so I have to call it tomato sauce.

beauzzartz said...

Ciao amica mio! Paesano!

Thanksgiving with your sibs this year sounds exciting!

Some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories were at the home of my Aunt Eva and Uncle Bruno. The turkey was but one course. There were always 3-4 different pasta dishes and of course bracciole and garlic stuffed artichokes. I love to carry on those traditions....well, almost all of them.....

Why do Italian aunts pinch the stuffing out of your cheeks?

GraphicsinMind-Ramy said...

You made my mouth water with all the great Italian food talk. AND you have lost 17 pounds???? Congratulations!

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

What a wonderful story and how lucky you are to have a big family and lots of memories. Thanks for sharing.

And CONGRATULATIONS on the 17 lbs!!!! That's fabulous!

Pink Armchair said...

These are great stories, and we're so lucky in the memories we have, aren't we?

And congrats on the weight loss...I'm getting back on the wagon, um, any day now!

~ YSRN ~ said...

HAHA! I always thought it was "like the corners of my mind" too!

Viva la Italia! Except the Bacala. Ick. Actually, we grew up fairly mid-west, rather than Italian, even though my father is 100%. I wish I had learned more of my heritage in my youth, rather than having to dig it up later, but it's fun to travel to Gramma's family's house and get a real taste of it.

Congrats on the weight loss! I really should start being good... hmm. If Clay would put a schedule out there, I swear I would stop eating immediately. ;)