Showing posts with label Italian American Fathers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian American Fathers. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2009

Growing Up Italian American & Celebrating My First Holy Communion.

This past weekend, I celebrated my niece's first holy communion. Ok, but the picture on the left is actually me (being a joker) and my parents. Experiencing all these milestone occasions with my nieces and nephews now always put me through these reminiscing journeys, where I think back on how it was for my immigrant parents to adjust to the Americanized ways of celebrating occasions and answering to Americanized kids who demanded the American way.

So, I thought back to my communion and how my parents made it the best ever that I could imagine. I have amazing memories of that day and the unbelievable party they threw me in one of the best restaurants. Mind you my parents worked hard and were by no means wealthy, so throwing a party and not skimping on anything meant a lot then and now. I appreciate my parents for everything they did to make that day special for me. One other example I can recall too was so many of my American friends were getting Communion portraits done and I remember not asking my mother to do one because even as a kid I knew that would cost a lot of money. But, a few days before my Communion, my mother surprised me and told me I was going to get in my Communion dress and go to a professional photographer to get my portrait done. I was so excited!!!!

Its funny now, because my niece got hers done too this week and that made me think, what a big deal it was to get a such a special picture done and my mother who didn't know the ways of the American traditions made it happen for me. The party was beautiful and full of great people, who were my parents friends..of course no family because remember we have no immediate family here, but my mom and papa did everything that day to make it one of my best memories of growing up Italian American.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy San Giuseppe's Day!

Today, in Italy is the equivalent of Father's Day here in America. Its a religious holiday honoring Joseph the father of Jesus. The day is often celebrated with great food, and incredible pastries, often called, St. Joseph's pastries. I wish you all a great St. Joseph's Day today and don't forget to kiss your fathers, brothers, cousins, etc. Auguri!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why Family Is Everything.

These past couple of days have been a bit stressful for me in the sense that my mother was rushed to the ER over the weekend because she thought she was having a heart attack. Now, if your Italian you know that Italian parents will do anything in the world not to go to the hospital and if you tell them you're calling your 911 they freak out. They would rather get up on their own two legs and go the doctor because the ER doctors don't know them personally.

So, as you can imagine this was exactly the scenario that occurred, as my mother lay in pain telling me she couldn't breathe, she was still telling the paramedics that they didn't know what she was talking about and telling the first response police officer to sit down in the living room and my father asking him if he wants coffee as my mother breathes through the oxygen mask.(I kid you not)

The second part of all this drama was the fact that I realized while in the ER with my mother, that my family is so tight and if one of us are in trouble we drop everything and support each other to high end. After my mother came home that day, I said to her, I saw so many poor older people in the ER and hospital beds with no one there for them, it made me sad for them because I can't imagine ever being alone in a bad situation, my family is everything and we are always there for each other, that's one thing we were brought up to be supportive and always help each other, an amazing family value and quality of being Italian. So, for those of you who have wondered why I haven't posted in a few days, this is why and now my mother is home and doing much better, so back to our usual Italian craziness.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Voglio Fare L'Americano...Sunday Dinner --Part Due.

Today of course is Sunday and once again I am lucky enough to eat Sunday dinner at my parents home. I was happy today because my mother made the sauce with my favorite, porpetti. Oh, just amazing. Then, my father drew wine out of the barrel from the wine we made this past October. Now, the wine is not ready yet but he wanted to test its consistency and let me tell you the consistency could kick your butt. Its definitely strong. Can't wait for it to be completely done.

So, in the course of our dinner today, my father was very reminiscent about his life when he first was married to my mother. They were both saying how they would take trips to the Meadowlands race track, go into Manhattan, and visit with friends. I just think its so funny, that they actually went out and did fun stuff, I mean if any of you know Italian parents, you know its takes a lot to convince them to leave the house or do anything fun.

My father was talking about the times he worked three jobs and had money to do or buy anything for the family. He claims as he says, "volevo fare l'americano." He says there was almost a sense of romance to living, working and engaging in the American lifestyle. His greatest memory is buying his first American car, a Chevy Impala. I guess the vibe was very Frank Sinatra-ish. Everyone wanted to be American.

My father's feelings and opinions were pretty strong today as we also discussed the crashing economy and the declining American pride. I guess the idea of such a great America and the excitement he talks about from when he came to America, made me think.."Do I feel or think that?" I mean, he sounds like he's talking about a time that can never be duplicated. I guess it can't, but I wonder will we as Americans, Italian-Americans ever feel the romance or excitement of a great America again? Its hard to imagine right now, but I will remain hopeful. I'm here because the idea of a great America was real for my parents, so I will do my best and then some to keep that idea alive. Yet another reflective moment about growing up Italian-American.

(pic-My father & me)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Italian Americans, What Really Matters To Us When It Comes To Connecting With Our Heritage?

Italian Americans constitute almost 6% of the population here in the United States. That's a good chunk of us here in America that were brought here by our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers. We might be close in the generation gaps or really removed by fourth and fifth generations. Either way, no matter how far you fall from the generation tree we are all seeking to hold onto our culture and identity.

Sometimes, if you meet someone out and start talking about your background, you might come to a familiar conclusion that you're both Italian or know of each others similar upbringings. These familiar cultural characteristics that we identify and try to grasp are what hold the Italian Americans together. Sometimes the guys who act the parts of the stereotypes we aren't so fond of, just don't know any better, and to them this is their part of the culture they think is the culture. I guess, it might be true..everyone wants to be Italian.

We hold onto what we can, we are American --rightfully and proudly so, but one day once the generations fall further and further apart, we will be grasping onto the time capsule of traits, familiarities, traditions and culture. What really matters to me is keeping my heritage real and tangible. I see how easy it is to dilute our heritage when we are submerged in an everyday melting pot. It has to be our job to keep these amazing traditions and feelings of identity preserved, active and sacred.

Does the feeling of holding onto your culture bring you closer to your roots? Do you have a sense of pride and love for where you came from? Could the answers to these questions help us in figuring out what really matters to us when connecting to our Italian heritage?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What the Economic Crisis Means For A True Immigrant.

Every time you turn on the television these days or even on the Internet we are overwhelmed with the bad news of the economy and the negative job perspectives out in the working world. I will say I'm hopeful about the future only because now we've elected a new President who will hopefully bring us back to life. This topic was quite heated today when I spoke with my father, who is under extreme disbelief about the current economic situation here in the United States.

He is an immigrant turned US citizen, who came to this country for the very reason he left Italy in the late 1950s. No jobs, no economy, no money. Now, here some 50 years later and he is even worried about his retirement. Now, he's been retired for many years, but he's also faced with increasing costs in his medical insurance, taxes, and bills.

In discussing our worries about the future, one thing he made clear, even though he knows this is a bad time in the US, he has faith. The same faith that brought him to success here in the USA, and the same faith that motivated him to travel two weeks on a ship to an unknown land that would promise him faith in a better life and future. I know things are tough for a lot of people financially, but I guess the moral of this story is to have faith. My father is almost 80 years old, so if he can have faith, then I guess we have no excuse as the younger generation. I think he gave me some inspiration tonight. Thanks Papa.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 7th, A Day To Honor Italian Americans, Who Served In World War II.

November 7th, marks a very important day for veterans of the Italian-American community. On November 7, 2000 Congress passed the Wartime Violation of Italian American Civil Liberties Act. This act was passed to help discuss the injustices brought to the Italian-Americans who served in the second world war. Congress felt that the story on how the Italian-American's freedoms and civil liberties were violated could help educate newer generations about civil liberties and how freedom and liberty should never be taken for granted.

This topic is especially sensitive for me as well, World War II is where my grandfather lost his life. It wasn't until recently that the Italian government actually notified my father of the supposed resting place of my grandfather. At first he was claimed MIA, then years later there was documentation that he was killed in action somewhere in Northern Italy. Having a family member in World War II, leaves us very interested in knowing about the freedoms and violations that occurred to many especially the Italians, who at that point were also fighting for freedom. Anyway, its truly an interesting topic and here is the link to the actual act passed by Congress.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Ever Happened To Sunday Dinners....?

I can speak for myself and say that I am extremely lucky. Come hell or high water..which is pretty likely these days..there is always dinner on Sunday at my parents. By dinner, I don't mean like 5:00 or 6:00 pm its more like 1 or 2:00 pm. My father is a creature of habit and loves that my mother cooks him sausage and meatballs in the sauce. (Yes, its sauce.) Then following a fantastic plate of pasta. Sometimes, if I have an event to go to or someone invites me out for a Sunday I always do a second guess about attending, because I almost feel like I am missing out if I miss dinner at parents.

Their house is like the headquarters for everyone. I might be there, then my sister shows up with her kids and husband, followed by my brother or my other brother who might be visiting with his family. Sunday dinner, doesn't mean its just about food. I mean, Sunday dinners are like the meetings of the knights of the round table. There are some serious conversations that occur and pretty deep ones at that. We usually sit around the table for hours with revolving courses and especially coffee at the end of our meal.

Sunday dinners are one of the major characteristics of our family's values. No matter what, you are expected for dinner and you usually should attend..its in your best interest. ;) (according to my father.) Now, that I look back at my life growing up as an Italian American, I really cherish the fact that my parents kept my brothers and sister and myself super tight. The core of our values revolves around our family and respect for one another. Who would of thought that pasta and a few meatballs could be so meaningful? I'm lucky and wish more Italian Americans could experience Sunday dinner.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October 15, 2008 is Blog Action Day. What is Blog Action Day?

Well, many of you are probably wondering what is blog action day? In an effort to change the direction of conversation tomorrow on the web and in the media, blog action day will call upon all bloggers to discuss a large issue haunting the world today, poverty.

As Americans, we are lucky citizens of a country where poverty is only something you see on television or in a press report. The majority of us are lucky enough not to have to deal with this horrible reality. Poverty is a real topic in my household, where I had to listen and learn about my father's childhood stories of being so poverty stricken that he had go out and work at the age of 12, just so he and his siblings wouldn't starve to death.

Even in the hardest of economic times, the United States remains one of the richest countries in the world, but yet there are millions living here that are living in poverty. Its real. So, tomorrow contribute your part to this issue and discuss ways to make differences. There's a lot going on in the world right now but remaining focused on helping others is something we can do daily.

For more information, go to:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NJN Public Television, Pride & Passion: The Italians In America Watch it Tonight!!

In Celebration of Italians This Weekend For Columbus Day: Watch This Documentary: Pride & Passion: The Italians in America

There will be another program right after the above documentary.This is a beautiful show which features the best of Italy and its coast lines from an aerial view.
Visions of Italy: The Great Cities---Rome, Florence & Naples

You know, as always..don't pay too much mind to the people who talk too much about things they don't know about. Give these documentaries a chance and watch them. You'll love it and might learn something.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In Celebration of Columbus Day, My Father Commemorates His Anniversary in America.

This is my father almost 52 years ago on Columbus Day. The day he arrived in America. Its pretty cool that he arrived on the day we celebrate the existence or I should say discovery of America. I love telling people that story because it just seems so orchestrated and perfect. A couple of years ago, I went to Ellis Island to see if his name was registered, at the time they were formulating records, so it wasn't available. But now that everything is computerized, you can easily find your ancestors online. Now, my father is in his late 70s and still acts like the guy in that picture to the left. This weekend, I celebrate my father. There is no other, Papa!

To research your ancestors and immediate family members who came through Ellis Island, go to:

The above ** Photo is Copyright ItalianAmericanGirl 2009**