Sunday, July 3, 2011

Scenes from an Italian.... Party

Today we had our annual Independence Weekend party. All of the guests were family and close family friends- the kind who might as well be blood. I'm tired tonight and helped Dusio with some technical difficulties on his Sacred Birds post, which is very awesome so don't forget to read that one! My entry tonight is a slice o life and some stories around the table.

I explained how second cousins, and cousins once removed works- a genealogy 101 lesson. Hubby and I learned how the family tree lingo works at a reunion for his family. In an Italian family, everyone is an uncle, aunt or a cousin, whether or not you're actually an uncle, aunt or cousin! I explained this to my second cousin. He and I have the same great-grandmother. His mom and my mom are first cousins: Our moms have the same grandmother. Everyone was confused lol "Keep it simple: Aunt, Uncle or Cousin!"

The same cousin mentioned above had a turn to tell a story of his own. This one was told to him by his grandfather: Grampa C talked about how in Little Italy, back when it was more than just 3 blocks of restaurants, there used to be 3 butchers on one single block. There was Tony the butcher, Sal the butcher, and Vito the butcher. Each of them did well, none of them tried to outsell the others and none of them tried to woo away customers. Why? Each was from a different town in Sicily. Immigrants from that town would only go to that butcher. It wasn't enough to support someone from your country, it was more important to support someone from your own town. This anecdote illustrates the Italian worldview in a nutshell: Family first, then your town, then your region, then the country. Italy hadn't been "unified" as a country for very long when this story took place.

My uncle (an actual one, my Dad's brother) was there today and I showed him a picture that had been in my Dad's wallet. There were no names on the back of this black and white photo. My uncle said it was his grand parents and his uncle. Yay! And I even got 2 of the names! I thought it was them, but I wasn't sure. My uncle pointed out that the piece of furniture visible in the background is still in that same house today. So interesting to see the people who first owned the house and passed it down through the generations. I feel like I got a piece of my family back today. I got to hear stories about them as well. Since it was a picture around the dinner table, he waxed about family dinners: There was always a pitcher of wine and a pitcher of water on the table. Talking about the food, I realized that my Mom was serving the same things that had been served 60 years ago when that picture was taken.

I'm pretty flippin tired so I'm going to call it a night and regale you with more fun tomorrow, perhaps a progress report from the Statue of Liberty!

No comments:

Post a Comment