Recently someone posted on We Are Italians:
“SO AFTER MY OLDEST SON DECIDED TO DO OUR ANCESTRY EVEN THOUGH MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE SAYS I AM A CAPOBIANCO ...DEFINITELY, AN ITALIAN NAME AND I ONLY MET MY SPERM DONOR ONE TIME IT TURNS OUT I AM NOT ITALIAN AT ALL. I AM SO SADDENED BY THIS I FEEL I SHOULD LEAVE THE GROUP. I. WAS SO PROUD OF MY HERITAGE AND NOW MY WHOLE LIFE FEELS LIKE A LIE...WHAT'S WORSE IS THAT I STILL FEEL ITALIAN AND DO AND SAY AND HAVE MANY ITALIAN TRAITS. I'M SO SORRY AND SAD...GRAZIE.❤”
Let me tell you about that.
Years ago when we were trying to crack the American code of ethics as still outsiders, an older cousin of mine decided to marry someone out of her ethnic group and religion. This was a very unusual thing for a nice Italian girl to do. He name was Marie and she was very beautiful, so gorgeous and a special lady to boot.
Being the oldest cousin, she would naturally become the first to marry and she did. She married a gentleman named Sonny, he was German and Lutheran, educating himself in college and very respectful.
|John and my sister Theresa|
Finally, someone got up the courage to tell Grandma. I think it was one of her children who decided to say: “Buongiorno, Mama, oh, and by the way, the new boy marrying Marie is German-American and a Protestant!”
The World stood still as everything was frozen in time, the final syllables leaving the lips of the informer in slow motion. (You must have remembered that day way back in 1956?)
Grandma asked her daughter to repeat what she thought she just heard and listened sitting down on her kitchen chair still holding her piatto rabbia when a big smile crossed her beautiful face.
Turning to Grandpa Ralph she said: “Stai ascoltando questo?” (Are you listening to this?)
Looking up at us she said, and I remember it clearly: “Listener, a why a you so nervous, I comer here to be American, this is a what I hoper a happen somer day!”
Her words made me feel very different, suddenly being American was very important. Yes, I was happy, she explained it all for me rather lucidly, even in her beautiful accent.
This event marked a turning point in my life and my family. No longer did we seem to hide in an atmosphere of outsiders because we were Italians, but we became Americans first. Later years went by and my oldest sister married a Polish fellow named John. John became like a grandson to grandma and a brother to me. He loved us and we loved him, as he was immediately accepted.
When John passed back a few years ago, it seemed to take the heart and soul out of our family. We loved him and we loved Sonny, after all, they were family.