Tuesday, May 17, 2016



I don’t know about you, but growing up there were certain unwritten rules, almost law if you will, that centered around grandma. Being she was the matriarch of the whole family, respect came her way in many ways.

Some of these rules were assumptions that never held any reality. Some were hardcore truths all were followed to the letter.

One of the rules was you never married out of your faith. Doing so was punishable by cold silence in your presence and chatter behind your back as harsh as this sounds, this rule was not a real one! One day an older cousin of mine announced her engagement to a wonderful man who happened to be Lutheran. The alarms went off: DON’T TELL GRANDMA! WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO???

Another rule was you married Italian, and like the first rule mentioned, the same cousin was marrying a German. The disaster would be overwhelming!!! Non-Catholic AND German:! What was the younger generation coming to?

But grandma was wise and could gather information by deduction of what was said and by whom and figured it all out. The marriage would be conducted in an Italian church on a Saturday morning but not on the altar! Being religious Grandma knew what that meant! She confronted my aunt, the mother of the bride doing the deceptions and announced: “What difference does it make how he sees God, he sees him. I came to America to be an American, my children should be American and think like Americans!” In one long sentence: she summed up the whole of her philosophy from when she came to America as a 15-year old girl.

Another unwritten rule was a woman didn’t smoke. One of my aunts was a smoker, and when she came to grandma’s house, she would slip off into one of the bedrooms and hide while she smoked. Grandma would never know since the men all smoked. Then one Sunday Grandma, suspicious followed my aunt and caught her in the act! What did she say? If she was a younger woman, she would have taken up smoking too! All those years of hiding under a false assumption!

Grandma lived until she was 97, a pretty good age. Had she lived by today’s norms, she would have only lived to maybe 87. Every Saturday night, grandma had a big steak, complete with bitter broccoli in Garlic and oil and sprayed with lemon juice, along with Italian bread. She ate red meat, of all kinds and drank red wine, home-made by grandpa. Eggs were a part of her diet and cooking, as was sweets. Pasta and carbs? What are you kidding me, sissy? She would have lived longer if she took better care of herself?

Grandma lived by her own rules, not like her sissy generation that followed. No gym did she belong to, no diet did she adhere to, just a lady who worked hard, fed the Earth and ate well herself.


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