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  • Am I really Italian?
    Page 2 of 2

    by Flora Mitidiero Raehl

    For lunch today we went to cousin Pasquale's house for a multi-course lunch that lasted about two hours. Primo piatto, pasta, secondo piatto, beef in spaghetti gravy (yes it's gravy NOT sauce), terzo piatto, Italian sausage, and lastly, ensalata. The thing I learned this day is that you really can take one more bite, or two, or three, or ten, as the case may be. Later in the afternoon we had many visitors who learned of our arrival. One of them was a long time friend of my fathers, Pepino, who posed this question to me in the course of the visit: Even though you were born in America, do you feel Italian in your soul? Without hesitation, I could immediately answer yes. And much to my delight (and sometimes dismay at having to admit this) my father did instill in me the idea that I AM ITALIAN above all else. He came to America with his family when he was 21 and he, my grandfather, along with my mother and her family, when the families were joined in marriage, carried on all traditions that were practiced in Alessandria del Carretto. The food, family closeness, the customs, all the holiday traditions were a daily constant when I was growing up. And even though as a child I was somewhat embarrassed in front of my true American friends that we spoke mostly Italian at home and NEVER went to restaurants, today I am nothing but grateful that I have that and am able to pass some of it along to my own children.

    Later in the evening we went for a walk to the local bocce court where my father and his godson teamed up for a heated game. Sitting under the most brilliant stars reconnecting with people I haven't seen in a few years, a beautiful and familiar song coming from the house across the road, laughter on the bocce court, all these little things make me realize just how much of Italy my dad brought to the States with him and make me appreciate not only am I Italian, but I love being Italian. And to my many American friends who have taken up this sport of trying to get the big ball to kiss the pallino - if you're reading this - please tell the other people in your bocce league that NO measuring tapes ever appeared!

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    Article Published 3/8/11


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