The Italian Gang....true legend

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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gottogetit
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The Italian Gang....true legend

Postby gottogetit » 04 Feb 2011, 17:36

Got this from a friend, hope you enjoy it...


The Italian Gang ~

I am sure for most second generation Italian American children who grew up in the 40's, 50's & 60's there was a definite distinction between us and
them.. We were Italians, everybody else, the Irish, the Germans, the Polish, they were Americans.

I was well into adulthood before I realized I was an American. I had been born American and lived here all my life, but Americans were people who
ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on mushy white bread. I had no animosity towards them, it's just I thought ours was the better way with our bread man, egg man, vegetable man, the chicken man, to name a few of the peddlers who came to our neighborhoods. We knew them, they knew us.

Americans went to the A&P. It amazed me that some friends and classmates on Thanksgiving and Christmas ate only turkey with stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. We had turkey, but only after antipasti, soup, lasagna, meatballs, and salad!

In case someone came in who didn't like turkey, we also had a roast of beef. Soon after we were eating fruits, nuts, pastries and homemade cookies sprinkled with little colored things.. This is where you learned to eat a seven course meal between noon and four PM, how to handle hot chest nuts and put peaches in wine. Italians live a romance with food. Sundays we would wake up to the smell of garlic and onions frying in olive oil. We always had macaroni and sauce (gravy).

Sunday would not be Sunday without going to Mass. Of course you couldn't eat before Mass because you had to fast before receiving communion. We knew when we got home we'd find meatballs frying, and nothing tasted better than newly cooked meatballs with crisp bread dipped into a pot of hot gravy (not sauce).

Another difference between them and us was we had gardens. Not just with flowers, but tomatoes, peppers, basil, lettuce and 'cucuzza'. Everybody had
a grapevine and fig tree. In the fall we drank homemade wine arguing over who made the best. Those gardens thrived because we had something our
American friends didn't seem to have. We had Grandparents.

It's not that they didn't have grandparents. It's just they didn't live in the same house or street. We ate with our grandparents, and God forbid we
didn't visit them 3 times a week. I can still remember my grandfather telling us how he came to America when he was young, on the 'boat.'

I'll never forget the holidays when the relatives would gather at my grandparents' house, the women in the kitchen, the men in the living room,
the kids everywhere. I must have fifty cousins. My grandfather sat in the middle of it all drinking his wine. He was so proud of his family and how
well they had done.

When my grandparents died, things began to change. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing. Although we did get together, usually at my mother's house, I always had the feeling grandma and grandpa were there.

Its understandable things change. We all have families of our own and grandchildren of our own. Today we visit once in a while or meet at wakes
or weddings. Other things have also changed. The old house my grandparents bought is now covered with aluminum siding. A green lawn covers the soil that grew the tomatoes. There was no one to cover the fig tree, so it died.

The holidays have changed. We still make family 'rounds,' but somehow things have become more formal. The great quantities of food we consumed, without any ill effects, are not good for us anymore. Too much starch, too much cholesterol, too many calories in the pastries. The difference between 'us' and 'them' isn't so easily defined anymore, and I guess that's good.

My grandparents were Italian-Italians; my parents were Italian-Americans. I'm an American and proud of it, just as my grandparents would want me to
be. We are all Americans now...the Irish, Germans, Polish, all U.S. citizens.

But somehow I still feel a little bit Italian. Call it culture...call it roots...I'm not sure what it is. All I do know is that my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of our heritage.

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misbris
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Re: The Italian Gang....true legend

Postby misbris » 04 Feb 2011, 21:15

Brings back lots of great memories. We kept it going 4 generations, but it is almost impossible for this new generation. They are spread all over the country.

But we got some of it back by taking a family trip to Italy!!

jennabet
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Re: The Italian Gang....true legend

Postby jennabet » 04 Feb 2011, 21:48

Yeah, this is right on. Literally, I didn't know anybody who was not an Italian-American until I entered the first grade.

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tzan
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Re: The Italian Gang....true legend

Postby tzan » 05 Feb 2011, 01:22

Well said. I sure do miss the good old days.

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Biff83
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Re: The Italian Gang....true legend

Postby Biff83 » 05 Feb 2011, 01:52

Although our family's spread all over creation, my wife and I, our daughter, son in law, granddaughter and mother in law have at least one meal together during the week, usually on Sundays. During and after, we Skype our son in Houston and visit with his wife and our other granddaughter via the net. It's a poor substitute but we do try to keep the traditions going.

You might enjoy these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt8tYs8QiWU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzTBc-AR ... re=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmsDcI1Edrc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_XPc54Y ... re=related

And for those who miss hearing the Calabrese dialect, here's something from Rosina and Pasquale Parmiggiano. Language for adults only.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB5TuyIkRg4

Best,
Biff
"To dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands"

jennabet
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Location: Ancestral Homeland - Abruzzo Italy

Re: The Italian Gang....true legend

Postby jennabet » 05 Feb 2011, 02:50

I couldn't stop laughing. They are totally crazy. Rosina is a riot.
Thanks for this link. I'm going to watch all of the clips.


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