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Old 09-09-2017, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,696 posts, read 2,602,882 times
Reputation: 2594

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I ADORED my parents, strict as they were. Born in 1920 and 1922, they experienced the Depression Era and were raised by immigrant Italian parents. All lived in South Philly. Both passed away in 2010, 3 months apart, after 64 years of marriage. They were polar opposites who really loved each other.

My Father was the baby of TEN! His Father died young (after impregnating my Grandmother for 17 years, and I'm GLAD I never met him), having married her at 14 :: in an "arranged" marriage. She was all of 4' 10" and lived til 92! Few of the children finished High School, but the boys did well, particularly my oldest uncle who patented the "hook-and-eye" thing in the tailoring industry. Dad was the quietest, most handsome of the boys (I'm talkin' Paul Newman), with a gentle nature - BUT - you didn't mess with him, as they say. He was his siblings' "favorite" as well...easy to tell as they all made such a fuss over him. I get the feeling that they didn't think my Mother was quite good enough for him, which was utterly ridiculous. I was always somewhat stand-offish with his side of the family except for one aunt who was extremely warm and fun-loving. Although Dad would get both sea and air sick when he was in the service, he would do jumps from the plane for extra money to send home to his widowed Mother - and then spend the day with his head in the commode . He was an old-fashioned gentleman who never came to the breakfast table without being showered and fully dressed for the day. As conservative as he was, he took me to see my first concert at the Philly Spectrum (Stephen Stills) in a suit and tie! I was mortified, but it was the only way I could see my idol. When they started "passing the pipe," he told me to just "keep it moving" and then later announced that he was "high from the smell." VERY strict as I was growing up, but once I turned 18, he became more of a friend, taking me for trips to the race track in Atlantic City (where we would dress to the hilt) and have dinner. He was my ROCK, like his given name, all through my adulthood, the one I would call when low or anxious. His passing of Alzheimer's at 88 nearly broke me, following my Mother's 3 months earlier. OH, wait! Guess who one of his street gang was? MARIO LANZA, who always was called home early to "practice.'



My Mom was one of 6, one having died of crib death, and HER parents died 3 months apart as well. Her Father (LOVED, LOVED, LOVED HIM) was a tailor who always dressed as neat as a pin, smelled of Old Spice and often took me to the Bocci club. His lap was my favorite place to be. GET THIS: when things were especially bad during that time, he would take home left-over pieces of silk cloth, make gorgeous neckties out of them, and take buses to various "better-off" neighborhoods to sell door-to-door! He would also go to New Jersey over the summers and pick vegetables at the farms, send the money home, and come back in the Fall. REMEMBER: NO WELFARE BACK THEN. I'll never forget his wine cellar and tomato garden in that small row home. Once a year he and I would walk to "Willie the Butcher's" shop, with sawdust all over the floor, to pick up his special homemade brand of sausage. Now THIS was amazing: he would dry that sausage on special hangings on the back porch, and then place them in 5 or 6 gallons of olive oil and spices to "cure" it. Months later, all the neighbors would come and enjoy spreading that sausage over Italian bread, while drinking his homemade wine. What a TRIP that was! He was an astonishing cook and did most of the cooking since my poor Grandmom, sweet, gentle soul, was pretty sickly. But I do recall often sitting in her spotless kitchen making spaghetti, ravioli and gnocchi from scratch with her. My Mother was my Grandfather reincarnated: loud, highly-gregarious and LOTS of fun (though still very strict with me). She was my best friend and my "traveling buddy" to local places such as Cape May, NJ where we went twice a year without fail from 1988 to 2007. We did trips to NYC a few times, and I pampered her on her 60th birthday where we stayed at the Waldorf, ate at the Plaza's Empire Room, did a play and Sardi's afterward and all the other fun stuff. I was so happy to have given that to her, as so was just so damned GOOD to me all of my life, even though her worrisome nature sometimes got to be a bit much in terms of restricting me when I was younger, I wouldn't have traded her for the world. Her younger sister, my favorite aunt and dear, dear friend, was her Mother reincarnated, quiet, sweet, gentle and the keeper of all my secrets: "Don't tell your Mother."

Last edited by soulsurv; 09-09-2017 at 08:07 AM..
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:51 AM
 
Location: South Florida
195 posts, read 106,149 times
Reputation: 1157
Mom and Dad were both Brooklyn Irish Catholics. Six kids in my family, we grew up in the house that my father grew up in. We didn't have a car until after the 6th kid was born. It is strange looking back on it but we weren't a particularly close family despite all of the rituals such as attending mass together and having dinner together every evening.

Most of the kids went to Catholic school... my older brother and me being the exceptions. He and I were the hell-raisers while the other 4 towed the line. Because of my father's bad heart (his first heart attack was at 38) they moved down to Florida and took the 3 youngest with them but left me, my brother, and my recently married sister in NY. I remember the day they left they kissed me goodbye and said "I love you" and I wasn't sure how to respond. I realized that it was the first time they had ever said that. We were never a very demonstrative family.

Fast forward 40 years and here I am in Florida looking after my mother who calls me every day and sees me several times a week and says "I love you" every time she talks to me and kisses me every time she sees me. How did that happen??? I suppose part of it is relief that I am not still the same pain in the *ss that I was growing up, and part of it is that she is glad that one of her 6 kids is willing to take her in just as soon as she feels she can't live alone. Dad's been gone for about 25 years and she has become pretty independent but there will come a time that she can't stay by herself and although she says she will go to Assisted Living because she doesn't want to burden me I would put money on betting that it won't take too much arm-twisting to get her to move in with us.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:17 AM
 
13,315 posts, read 25,550,246 times
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[quote=soulsurv;49466922]I ADORED my parents, strict as they were. Born in 1920 and 1922, they experienced the Depression Era and were raised by immigrant Italian parents. All lived in South Philly. Both passed away in 2010, 3 months apart, after 64 years of marriage. They were polar opposites who really loved each other.


Such a south Philly story! I'm from south Jersey outside south Philly and I wish I had known your family. They sound wonderful.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,696 posts, read 2,602,882 times
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[b]
Quote:
Originally Posted by

Of course, they were ultra-conservative republicans and were bigoted against anyone or anything that was different from their own narrow selves.[/B
I've never known two more miserable people in my life. Looking at those my own age in the neighborhood, it was as though we were growing up in two different worlds. I learned better than to want anything, either a material object or the opportunity to go somewhere and do something, because the answer was always "No". Once in while, they bought something for me, but it was usually something that they, not I, wanted me to have.

There was no joy in the kind of life they imposed. Younger people today should realize how bad things were just a century ago in our society and be glad that their lives are now much more free.
Gee...how odd. My parents were Conservative Republicans as well. Strangely they ADORED us. My brother was a theatre major and took his grad degree in Philosophy. While my parents might have rolled their eyes at his choices because they grew up in hard times and were worried about his future salary, Dad still footed the bill and was proud of him. Guess you'll have to reboot YOUR narrowness.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,696 posts, read 2,602,882 times
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[quote=brightdoglover;49460985]My parents (both gone now) were born in 1928 and 1925. I think t theukey thing that affected my father was fighting in WW2 and being a Jewish boy and man in an anti-Jewish time (Philadelphia). I believe he also had depression or something because he gambled away his opportunity to be a business owner (a taxi) and gambled wildly for most of his life, to everyone's detriment./QUOTE]

Yes...thingS were extremely cliquish back then. What was really cool, though, was that once my Dad began his career, his two bosses were Jewish, and they hit it off like crazy! They were very good friends outside of work (small company, but still), often at our home and remained so until his and/or their deaths.

Coincidentally, my favorite boyfriend (in my early 20's) was Jewish as well. He and my parents simply adored each other. Sadly, his mom was not thrilled that I was gentile, telling him that he could never marry me. We probably wouldn't have anyway, but years later, when my parents were sick and dying, I looked him up. He was divorced (from his GERMAN-American wife, no less), and came to my parents' funerals. That was 7 years ago, and we now talk at least 3 times per week and are like brother and sister.

Now HIS late Dad, who passed last year, was a guard/escort of some of the prisoners at the Nuremberg Trials! The ULTIMATE REVENGE
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,696 posts, read 2,602,882 times
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[quote=brightdoglover;49468003][quote=soulsurv;49466922]I ADORED my parents, strict as they were. Born in 1920 and 1922, they experienced the Depression Era and were raised by immigrant Italian parents. All lived in South Philly. Both passed away in 2010, 3 months apart, after 64 years of marriage. They were polar opposites who really loved each other.

Such a south Philly story! I'm from south Jersey outside south Philly and I wish I had known your family. They sound wonderful!



Hey! South Philly and South Jersey? We're practically COUSINS!!
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:58 PM
 
13,040 posts, read 15,385,717 times
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1927, 1928. They were honest and hardworking, nondrinking. Never heard them say a bad word. High moral fiber but loving and non-judgmental. Always did what was right and taught me right from wrong. Lived by the Golden Rule. When I was a kid I used to think my dad was more like Jesus than anyone else I had ever met. And I still think that.
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Old 09-09-2017, 02:26 PM
 
13,315 posts, read 25,550,246 times
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[quote=soulsurv;
Hey! South Philly and South Jersey? We're practically COUSINS!! [/QUOTE]

Heh. I lived at 59th and Christian until I was 4. Then on to south Jersey, home of first-generation Italian and Jewish suburbanites and veterans.
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9,190 posts, read 8,287,258 times
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Post depression era Protestant work ethic.

My dad at 85 still works. My mom never did.
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Old 09-09-2017, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,696 posts, read 2,602,882 times
Reputation: 2594
Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
Heh. I lived at 59th and Christian until I was 4. Then on to south Jersey, home of first-generation Italian and Jewish suburbanites and veterans.
See There? I KNEW it was a great mix!
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