1.) For your birthday a sibling has decided to have the first six months of your blog printed and bound. Write a forward for the book
.2.) Write a 26-line poem using all the letters of the alphabet, where the first line starts with the letter "A," the second "B," the third "C," etc., culminating with the final line starting with "Z."(writersdigest.com)
3.) Start your story with, "In retrospect, I wouldn't say it was my best idea." And end it with, "And that's how I attempted to make this world a better place.(writersdigest.com)
4.) What would the truth have done? Write about a time when honesty was NOT the best policy.(writingfix.com)
5.) What made your childhood bearable? Write about it.(writingfix.com)
I choose number 5.
Why I loved my childhood
By Saundra Shaver
Grade 40 1/2
What made my childhood bearable? I know I say this all the time... but having immigrant parents. My parents weren't like all the other parents I saw and knew...
Mine were... different.. and I thought... better.
First of all, My Papa had this cool accent. Of course, I didn't even KNOW he had an accent until he came to school to pick me up one day in Kindergarten, and my friends heard him say...
"Hi a Sandra... Youa readya toa goa homea?"
The next day, the kids said my Daddy talked funny. I said it's because he was new to our planet.
(I kinda got my countries and planets mixed up)
My Mom came to America when she was 17, married my Papa at 18 and had me at 19.
She was waaaaay younger than a lot of my friends Moms.
My Mama cooked and cleaned all the time, with records on. Not American records.
All Italian recording artists.
I know every word to every Italian 50's, 60's and 70's songs.
What made my childhood special really...was the culture that my parents brought to America with them. I was immersed in the European way.
Fine crystal every Sunday.
Dinner was an event, to be eaten with your family and friends around a table,
wine flowing, loud banter, hands banging on tables, arms flying every which way.
Every week, we took a drive to Upland to the only Italian Store in the area back then, and
we would buy imported goodies that made my parents feel like they were home in Italy.
First pressed olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, sardines, tuna in olive oil,
dried figs, rock hard salami, aged provolone cheese,
iron cheese graters, pasta in 5 lb boxes with only Italian writing on them,
Olives so dark and bitter it would curl your hair.
The smell of that store, which is STILL in business 40 years later, to this day, hits you like
you are on a gondola, eating fresh cheese and grapes.
Mama cooked everything fresh... all the time.
We have never... to this day... purchased a bottle of spaghetti sauce. To us.. .it doesn't exist.
To us, grated cheese first comes in a block... and you fresh grate it at home.
I still do this in my own home. No jarred sauce here either.
We were eating sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, exotic cheeses and all that frou frou stuff everyone eats now... 40 years before it was cool.
Italian was the language spoken. It was like someone was constantly singing to you.
The rolling r's, the accentuation of the words when passion is needed.
Oh! I adore it!
We jarred everything. Our own tomato sauce. We picked and jarred our own olives, artichokes, mushrooms, truffles, we made our own jams.
We had over 100 fruit trees on our property. Pomegranate, pear, cherry, orange, lemon, lime, plum, nectarine, peach, 5 varieties of grapes, apricots, olives, you name it!
Papa grew and still grows every vegetable known to man.
Every time he comes over... he has a huge bag of goodies straight from his garden.
We made our own wine.
We had chickens, rabbits, ducks, dogs, cats, goats..
We would attend Wine Festivals and stomp grapes with our feet.
We would ask local grape growers if we could have a stem of vine so he could graft it to his own.
My Papa once had a tree that grew Apricots, plums, apples, nectarines and peaches...ON THE SAME TREE! He grafted it himself.
No, we did not have a farm. Just a 1/4 acre in Fontana.
My childhood was filled with laughter, loud family members, passionate people that loved deeply, demonstrative relatives, great food, parents that were from another world.
Sometimes I feel like my boys are cheated out a little bit.
I was born here.
I don't have a cool accent.
We do grow a grip of trees and have a great garden... but
no canning, and such.
I loved not living the typical American lifestyle.
It broadened my sense of self.
I knew there was more than just America... from a very early age.
Although I love America, Italy feels like home to me too.
Each time I've been in Italy, I've never felt out of place.
When we took the kids a couple years ago... they were very comfortable.
I do try to incorporate what I know into our life. I can't help it... it's in me.
They say they 'feel' more Italian than anything else.
My childhood rocked my socks off.
Thanks Mama and Papa!