Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Yesterday, my father's cousin and oldest friend drove me into the city. As we took the drive, I got to hear stories of what a crazy kid my father was - "Mr. Personality" as they called him, and what a crazy family we have in common.

There were stories of my father and his "group" traveling to Florida to visit his grandfather, my great-grandfather, and how my great-grandfather would insist on driving, blindly I might add, only to run into an orange and blinking median. He apparently didn't seem too concerned with the accident and upon driving away insisted "that wasn't there the last time I drove this route!"

There were stories of golfing adventures, where blind Great-Grandfather D, couldn't see the ball in front of him, but if you lined him up correctly, could hit the ball a perfectly straight 120 yards, and could walk off the course having only shot his age...86.

These are stories I rarely here from my father, so to get the opportunity to hear what he was like as a kid and what kind of crazy things they got into, was an amazing experience!

Then, last night I got the amazing opportunity to spend a "girl's night" with my cousin, Cathy, and her best friend, Becky.

Honestly, there is nothing like being up here in NY, where everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows your business ;) Case in point, Cathy and I walked into a restaurant and the waiter just so happened to be a former student of her husband. Unreal!

It's funny, I rarely get the opportunity to talk about my life and family and have the person across the table automatically know who I'm talking about. It is a sense of comfort I rarely get to feel and I often wonder what it would've been like growing up here. I would assume, if you live here and have spent your entire life here, you sometimes take for granted knowing everyone or being related to everyone. Having drinks with your cousin or your best childhood friend would be a common occurrence, instead of a once-in-a-lifetime gathering.

Overall, the day and night was enjoyed with plenty of laughs, plenty of wine (and Peroni) and I woke up today feeling full of smiles.

There is nothing like family and nothing like NY! It surely holds a very dear and special place in my heart, and the Pizza, the bagels, and cannoli's are just an added bonus to spending time with awesome family members!

This Thanksgiving I feel truly blessed to have spent time with family I rarely see and to get the opportunity to gain memories I would've never had before!!

With Love,
Your Very Full and Happy Italian Blogger ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

When I was a Girl...

Almost every summer I would come to this house and spend time with my grandparents.

I remember walking up those narrow stairs and the aroma of garlic hitting you in the face the moment you stepped in the door. I used to think this 3 bedroom apartment was so big, and "my room" (the one with my birth certificate hanging on the wall) was one of my favorite things.

I remember my grandfather, Poppy, walking to the garden and picking tomatoes as I skipped behind him thinking he was my most favorite person in the whole wide world! The smell of fresh tomatoes and basil was incredible. Even now, the smell is so unforgettable that when I catch a scent, it immediately brings me back to that time.

I remember waking up in the morning to the smell of sizzling bacon and Poppy standing over the stove in his favorite uniform, a white undershirt and his gold cross proudly across his neck, waiting for me to open the door and say "hey baby! You want some juice? Have some juice!"

There was the bright red patio with the gravel driveway and the mysterious shed in back, that was my person playground. There was tupperware and TV stands and cheerios hidden beneath the china cabinet.

Back then, I thought everyone within a 15 mile radius was my aunt and uncle and I thought chicken cutlets was the healthiest meal there was. I thought Carvel was the only type of ice cream they made and I thought pastrami sandwiches and pizza should only be eaten up here.

Now, however, coming back things have changed...and it makes me look back and realize how much I miss those times.

Poppy is no longer here to take me out back for tomatoes, the aroma of garlic has slowly disappeared, and those narrow stairs and small apartment seem like a distant memory.

My room, which I slept in last night, has the same mattress and my birth certificate has been replaced by a picture of an angel. Pictures on the wall that once displayed the 3 grandchildren have now been replaced by the 5 grandchildren and my son, her only great-grandchild.

It still feels like home up here, but it's different.

Typing on my IPad with my wireless keyboard at my grandmother's kitchen table, I realize things have truly changed, and I don't know if I am ready to let go of the way things were.

Maybe in my old age or because I have become a mother, I have become sentimental over those times.