Saturday, April 02, 2016


We all have experienced it if we have any Italian blood, it is a tradition that if old enough we will continue and hopefully pass on to the next generation. We all dreaded it, tried as we might: avoid it, but in the end it caught up to us!

The pinch!

You walk into your aunt or uncle’s home after a long time away and they look at you, you know they are coming, they say something like: “Oh watta bigger boy hew har!” Then they reach to pinch the cheek, as you stand there praying that it will not last long.

There are all types of pinchers. Some use their thumb and forefinger, some go for the more traditional index and middle finger, there is the soft and light squeeze to the darn right “Oww” to “Ayi” and then there is the dreaded bite.

Being how I had a dimple and fat cheeks, it was a curse. First thing they went for was my cheek, pinching it and going; “Hee hee” as they pinched. “Oh you gotta dimp” they pinch it and go “Hee hee” again.

The most dreaded was the bite, it came from one aunt and one aunt only, my aunt Tessie, my mom’s younger sister. She happened to be my Dad’s younger brother’s wife, so the spit was all hypo generic, in the family kind of.

Aunt Tessie lived in Patchogue, a million miles away from Brooklyn, so when we visited she saw me, wiped her hands on a dish towel and bared her fangs, chomp into my cheek, leaving a red mark and a giggle in the ears.

The pinching, the giggle and the hee-hee’s were all part of the culture in my family, I wish I could bring those days back again, just one more day, and see those wonderful old-timers once again. Besides, my cheeks have finally healed.


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