Since it is the holidays, I wanted to talk about my favorite subject . . . my family!! Most people who have seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” can garner some familiarity with some part of this movie. Whether you are an only-child or one of many children, you probably have a crazy uncle, a cousin everyone gossips about, or a parent that has made a point of embarrassing you in front of others. I’m not Greek, but I can totally relate. Trade the Ouzo for red wine, and the lamb for sausage and you have the same big fat crazy family except Italians.
My brother Vinny (the oldest living alter boy . . . I mean “stunt boy”)
My brother George (the only one who has a french name)
My brother Dean (as in Dean Martin. My parents drank and smoked a lot in the 60’s)
My father Vinny (Vincenzo if it was his mother calling)
My grandmother Antonietta (She’s almost 100!)
My mother Claudette (the half Italian half French woman who named my brother George)
My cousin Joey Two Times (the oldest of all the Italian grandchildren)
This list is quite extensive, but these are the main characters. Of course I can’t forget my Uncle Joey, my Aunt Carol, and my favorite half French cousins Dougie, Eugene and Deborah. A little French, a little 50’s, a little crazy!!! The French came through Canada, (sneaky bastards). The Italians came through Ellis Island (where a lot of other mobsters came from to hide their identity . . . just kidding).
The holidays hold the best memories. They include waking up in the morning and storming down a set of carpeted stairs in socks. If one of us didn’t fall on our faces, that was a start to a good morning. Then finally landing at the bottom to look to the left back corner of the living room where every Christmas tree was placed from the 70’s to the 90’s and finding loads of presents. To this day I’m baffled at how and where my parents: 1) could afford it; 2) could hide it; and 3) could get it all moved on Christmas Eve without us knowing. How???? I’m telling you, it was the sneaky French working with the organized Italians.
Now, Christmas is quite toned down, except for Dean. He is the only one with small children who appreciate the Christmas morning run to the tree. Except they slide on wood floors and try not to crack their skulls open on the walls on their way to the presents. The rest of us are much more mellow now. We enjoy things like no children, or having drinks with the grown children. Either way, it is all good times in new ways.