My mother turned 82 this past week. For her it is just a number.
A bundle of energy with enthusiasm for life, my mom has always been a role model for me.
She is the youngest of three children. Born in the US but lived all her life in a very Italian neighborhood where everyone spoke Italian all the time. Her parents were married in an arranged marriage. Both parents came from Italy to this country in search of a better life. My grandparents did not know one another and spoke almost no English. My grandmother was the head of the House hold. She was a fabulous cook and could make a dinner from any ingredients she found in the fridge. My mom says I am a lot like her. My grand mom passed when I was just 3 years old so I never really knew her, but my mom has many of the traits that I think made her the strong women she is today.
Always adventurous my mom took the El into to town as a young girl and tried all sorts of "foreign foods"(anything that was not Italian) that her friends would never think of eating.
She had and still to this day has no trouble dining alone. Although my mom doesn't drive she gets around. She is a big fan of the casinos and her specialty is not the slots... no no no she loves to gamble and plays craps, though she hardly reaches the tables.. roulette is another favorite and she has been know to win big, although when you ask she always says she came out even.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom, as a little girl I always had a hot lunch when I came home from school and our house was a gathering place for my friends. There was always something delicious simmering on the stove and we had frequent guests for dinner (all my school friends).
The support and love I feel from my family is a very real force in my life. I grew up in a happy house. My parents marriage was also arranged. They knew each other for less than a month before they married.
My Dad came by boat to this country in the last months of 1953. He met and married my mom in January 1954 and I was born in November 1954. Although they hardly knew one another, our family was a happy one. Good food always on the table, family outing each Sunday to Longwood Gardens, Playtown park, Atlantic city's Steel Pier. We did everything as a family, often taking friends with us.
Growing up, my mom would take me downtown to Wanamaker's to go shopping.
On Saturday mornings we would take the El in town and spend the day together. It was always an adventure. To this day my mom will go anywhere at any time and is a force to be dealt with when shopping. She has an enthusiasm that just won't quit. She is the source of all family gossip. Just tell her a secret and not to say anything and everyone in the family will know the news within an hour!
She has helped me in so many ways to grow and be the person I am today.
My mom and dad live a half a block away from me and I talk to her and see her daily. It is a gift to have her in my life. Her strength is contagious and her humor infectious.
Flavors of Calabria: Amarelli Licorice
9 months ago