Sunday, October 11, 2015


At St. Peter's Catholic Church, they have weekly husbands' marriage seminars.

At the session last week, the priest asked Giuseppe, who said he was approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same woman all these years.

Giuseppe replied to the assembled husbands, 'Wella, I'va tried to treat her nicea, spenda da money on her, but besta all is, I tooka her to Italy for the 25th anniversary!'

The priest responded, 'Giuseppe, you are an amazing inspiration to all the husbands here! Please tell us what you are planning for your wife for your 50th anniversary?

Giuseppe proudly replied, "I gonna go picka her up."

Grandma had one important rule, which was: you enter her kitchen for any reason; you eat! Say you were attacked by a herd of ferocious elephants that stomped on your head and broke all your bones, or a paper cut and you went into Grandma’s kitchen for relief, first you had to have something to eat!

Living in a tight Italian/American community, people took care of each other. Your neighbor had a son who was a doctor; you went to your neighbor’s son for a cure,

You needed potatoes, you went to the local green grocer, and you bought potatoes. The important factor was they were all Italians. You wanted a good lawyer, you went to Belmont Avenue and found a good lawyer, Jewish preferred.

The same was true with preparing your taxes: there was always someone in the family or neighborhood with an Italian last name that did your taxes. H&R Block was street names with alphabet running between the two streets.

So one year Dad had to have his taxes made out for Uncle (Zio?) Sam and the State of New York. Since we had moved from the old neighborhood, he would go back and have it done, and asked me to come for the ride.

Once we arrived at the tax lady’s house, she plied us with Italian cookies and black coffee in demitasse cups. Dad put his shoebox of receipts on her kitchen table and the process began and ended with the cookies.

Off we went and afterward stopped at Grandmas, who wasn’t expecting us.

We enter and happily she greets us, making sure to pinch the Hell out of my cheeks (the ones over my Adam’s apple). She sits us down at her table and takes off while we drink a cup of coffee. Suddenly I get the delicious odor of steak on an open fire, Grandma is down in the cellar cooking steaks.

Reappearing a short while later, she reappears with two steaks, takes out this crusty Italian bread, wine a salad and cheese and pepperoni, (She was a direct descendant of a saint) and so we feasted, once more, Grandma’s rule enforced.

I wish I could go back to the old haunts, the older generation and tell them how much I appreciated all they did for me, my love of all of them from Zio Felice’s nasty smelling Napoli cigars to grandma’s steaks, I hope their reward is great where they are now. God bless them all, in every family like them in every way.


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