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How To Make Italian Knot Cookies

Tis the season! Here's one of our more popular posts and fun videos from many years ago of my sister and niece making Italian knot cooki...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Where do I start....???


So, like many other people..I've decided to start blogging. I've always had this strong need to connect with other Italian Americans because I always felt there was much to be shared in our values and lifestyles.

Its hard growing up with parents who are really when they say "Off the boat," and your other friends and parents just don't get why you do certain things or live a certain way. I was lucky enough to grow up in a town outside of NYC, where everyone was pretty much of Italian descent.

My siblings and myself were first generation Italian-Americans. This meant that everything we did was experimental for my parents in the sense that even though they worked and tried to fit into the American way, they still stuck out like sore thumbs..because we were just unversed in the lifestyle and actions of American kids and teens.

So, yes..school was hard but it was even harder for my older siblings..I am the youngest of four. My sister, Maria who is the oldest basically went to school speaking Italian in kindergarten because my parents really didn't speak perfect English, so at home we spoke dialect. Dialect is not exactly proper Italian and we all ended speaking dialect-English. This meant some words were in dialect and others were in English. For example.. "Si mangia ...venite a mangiare...stammo mangiando pasta...go get the cheese out of the frigo." I mean a real mish-mash.

Needless to say, I wouldn't give up a second of my life growing up because as I got older I realized what we tried to always hide about our heritage and our lacking Americana was the very thing I hold onto tightly today. Its who I am...and probably a larger of who I am.

Growing up in the 70s-80s was an interesting time..but growing up with immigrant parents I think made it all the more interesting. My father was a blue-collar worker his whole life in America. He worked two and three jobs at a time sometimes. We had the basics, a modest house, simple clothes nothing extra. I mean nothing extra..including cable television. Cable television when it first came out was a big deal but my parents were like...you don't need that and besides it costs more money, of which we aren't spending. So, you can imagine some days at school people would talk about shows..did you see that? I would be like..no. They would say, why not? Cause I have no cable...? This was an utter shock to my American friends but now I look back and say you know what..it really didnt matter. I had culture, which was more than the other kids.

So, getting back to my parents..which I still think is pretty interesting. My father came to America in 1956 on Columbus Day. My father was the oldest of his siblings and was basically forced to come to America to make money because his father, my grandfather was killed in action in WWII. This led to his family fending for themselves, poor and with no money. He came here by ocean liner and travelled on that ship for almost two weeks to get to America. He like many other Italian Americans landed in New York.

As you can imagine, my father was put through a lot at a young age. So, when he came to America he came with all his energy and hope for a better life. He busted his ass working but in the end payed off.

My parents were married when my father invited my mother to come to America years later. He always knew my mother and had a romantic crush on her...so he asked her to marry him. My mom, who has balls of steel by the way, accepted his marriage proposal and jetted over to a land that she knew nothing about. She came here on a plane..no boat..but the story is similar.

My parents have been married a long time close to 40 years, it hasn't been peaches and cream thats for sure. They struggled, argued, at more than one time..hated each other..but always remained together. I know now in my adult life that they are bonded by their journey here in America. They do love each other..and understand each other only as they do. Only Italians know how passionate we can be which can include heated arguments especially from two Calabrians.

In a not so small nut shell that is the beginning of my life here in America. Stay tuned for my daily blogs on life as an Italian American girl.
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