>> Tuesday, April 11, 2000
Since I've added the 'About Me' link at the top, I've been pondering how I wanted to go about doing this. I've left it blank for far too long, thinking I'll get back to it anytime now. Though it seems that 'anytime' just never seemed to roll around, so here I am.
And while I'm aware that I'm most certainly a life-long project,
A Work in Progress,
an unfinished tapestry with the threads of my existence still being woven,
some of you may think I'm just a piece of work. :)
Soooo, over the course of the next several
weeks months I'll either dazzle you with my brilliance, confound you with my idiosyncrasies or bore you with my ordinary-ness, but whatever the case, one thing's for certain........
you'll definitely learn more about me.
Chapter One -
10 Things about my family & younger years
1. Both my Grandparents came from Italy. Click on the links to see my Maternal Grandmother's and Grandfather's Naturalization papers. My mother's side is Calabrese, my father's side Sicilian. My mother didn't learn English until she was 5-6 years old. So both my parents spoke Italian, though different dialects. With the exception of a few 'choice words' or phrases for common things, none of us seven children were taught Italian in our household. So, whenever either wanted to say something to the other in front of us kids without us knowing about it, they would often talk in Italian. Because of the different dialects, this would sometimes cause communication problems and I remember my father becoming frustrated with my mom as a result. (This might have been my first experience with some of the more 'colorful' Italian language.) :) The closest I come to speaking Italian??? With my hands.
2. There are seven of us in my family. Four boys, three girls. Yep, I'm sure the Roman Catholic Italian
Thou shall not use birth control and will be fruitful & multiply *Rules* were at work here. The age range is fairly wide, the youngest will be 43 in October and the oldest will have a milestone birthday of 60, this December. 60! Wow! Growing up I always thought it a bit odd that all of my friends' parents were so much younger than my own parents. Of course, it took me a while to figure out that none of my friends had siblings as old as mine were. It was like my family was divided into two generations...the older four and the younger three. This was due to there being a 6 year age gap between two of my brothers. I'm part of the younger group, having grown up in the middle of two brothers.
Below is a pic of all of us. (My father took the pic.) I almost want to say this was taken at Easter cause I remember that yellow dress of mine. (This was obviously not part of the Dreaded 'hand-me-down stage', of which I mention below.)
3. I officially *Came out of the closet* around 1968, at the tender age of 5.
Please refer back to #2 where I make note of the Roman Catholic Italian Rules. My father, who worked as an Engineer at New Process Gear (Chrysler Corp.) had built our house. Himself.
And while he did a simply wonderful job (My mom still lives there) he apparently did not make it large enough for the posse he had created. There were three bedrooms. In the Basement, he had finished off a large portion and made it into what I know as The Rumpus Room (Anyone else ever call it that?) My two oldest brothers slept there.
Even with my two brothers being Cellar Dwellers, it didn't leave much room for the rest of us. Therefore, from the time I was old enough to be out of the crib till I was about 5-6 years old, I slept in my other two brothers' bedroom, on a mattress........In Their Closet!! And it wasn't until my oldest sister, who had left to attend Temple University in Philadelphia that I had FINALLY been allowed to come out of the closet, sharing a bedroom with my 2nd oldest sister, Brunetta. :) Surprisingly, I do not have a fear of closed spaces. However, I'm still trying to figure out how we (9 people total) managed live with only one bathroom! (I used to envy The Brady Bunch!) :)~~
4. I wore my brother's Black swimming trunks. Yup. Growing up in a large family definitely has it's ups & downs. Having Hand-me-downs was probably not too unusual for some families, particularly when very young. Most very young children didn't mind, myself included. I had just wished that my next oldest sibling was a sister, not a brother! So, there you see me in all my glory feeling pretty free. :) Can I just say how excited I was upon getting my very first girly swimsuit?? It was a two piece lime green with white polka-dots. (I bought it when I was 17.) HA! (Just kidding.)
5. All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth. I fell off a chair that I was standing on and knocked out both my front baby teeth. Because they were my baby teeth, my permanent ones were not ready to come in for a few years later, which left me with a huge gap in my smile for too damn long! I somehow lucked out though. My dentist was afraid that all my teeth would shift all around due to the length of time there was all that space. But they didn't. That Christmas song and a stupid doll called "Baby Grow a Tooth" was perfect material for my brothers to tease me with.
Surprisingly, my teeth are actually very white straight and strong, and all without the help of Braces.
6. My first childhood 'Crush'. OMG!!! Look at the dorky "I'm Sooooo Sweatin' you" look, before I even knew what 'Sweatin' was! That was J.F. and he was my older brother's friend. And how old was I there?...maybe 7 years old...Tops! I remember looking at this picture wayyyyyy back then and thinking..."oh wow, I am sooo busted." I was practically drooling in that picture. Oh Wait. That was from the lack of front teeth! Never mind.
7. My father passed away when I was 14 years old. This past April 25th marked 30 years that he had been gone. Rather than write all the details to it here, if interested, you can read my eldest (not Brunetta) sister's version of it here.
However, not only was he my First Dancing Partner, He also gave me a gift that none of my other six brothers and sisters had:
his Green Eyes.
8. I have a large 'family'. Not only is my immediate family considered large, with 7 total. My extended family is also quite large too. There are 9 on my mom's side and 11 on my father's side. Do you have any idea on what that equals when you add cousins, 2nd cousins, and 3rd cousins??? Again, please refer to The Roman Catholic Italian Rules in #2. I remember having a difficult time introducing all of them to my (now) ex-husband when we got married. The look on his face when I teased him that there would be a quiz regarding 'Naming that relative' is an initiation rite into my family. It was priceless.
9. I grew up a Tom-Boy. No doubt. Having brothers close in age I'm sure impacted that. I lived on Burnet Ave. in the Eastwood part of town. I'm going to date myself now, but our back yard was butted up against a large field/farm land that used to have migrant workers there. What you see now is Route 690. I remember before 690 was even built! Ack!! There was no State fence that divided that property from our back yard. Pheasants, rabbits, and even deer tracks were present in our backyard. I was actually able to climb a 'limb-less' tree up to a tree fort that my other brothers were unable to do. (This ability probably impacted my gymnastic ability in a positive way.)
10. Who remembers the movie The Night Stalker?? This was the Tele-movie, aired in 1972, that originally prompted the weekly tv series later on. This movie would be the inspiration for me to be the absolute one and only time I would be successful in scaring the shit out of my older brother, who, by birthright, made it his goal to scare my younger brother and me, by virtue of pecking order. Shortly after that movie aired my younger brother and I joined forces and developed quite an elaborate plot. Our bedrooms were across from each other. This is important to know. I found a spool of thin copper wire. With the help of tacs, which I had strategically placed in the corners, down by the baseboards, I was able to string a few different copper wires, from my room to his. My child-like hands would be at one end, and what was at the other end??? *Evil Laughter*
The other end of one copper wire was tied around the 'on' switch to a hair dryer we had, that I had wedged up between a table so it wouldn't move when 'yanked on'. In front of the hair dryer I had placed several puzzle pieces that were actually glow in the dark. The other wire was attached to a box of small toys, balls, etc, etc, and *that* box was placed way on the top shelf of the closet that I had *finally* come out of (please see #3) three years before! :)~~
My younger brother also had a wire that was strung with the use of tacs on the baseboards, and his was tied to other things around the room, that when yanked, would make them fall over to the floor, with lots and lots of noise. With my older brother warm & safe (yeah, right!) in his top bunk, and my younger brother in the bottom bunk, we 'synchronised' our clocks (Got that idea from Mission Impossible) We waited about 10 minute (Which felt like a lifetime to a 7 and 9 year old) and then the Shit hit the fan! Actually it really wasn't shit, they were glow-in-the-dark puzzle pieces, and it was a hairdryer not a fan. :)
Needless to say, all hell broke loose in that corner bedroom down the hallway of my home. The hairdryer made this high pitched Whirling sound, my younger brother said it was perfect to watch unknown chartreuse objects scatter across the floor, and the balls kept bouncing that had fallen from...where?? Come now everyone, say it with me....the closet I had just come out of three years earlier! :)~
I heard my older brother yelp, and my younger brother giggle. I had quickly left my room, opened up their door and went in quickly, trying to muffle the sounds so that my parents wouldn't come, wondering WTF was going on....NOW??!!!
And THERE, at that exact moment in time, in my brother's very dark room, in that perfect window of opportunity, I had this completely brilliant, if not evil idea and somehow was able to imitate perfectly, and I *mean* perfectly, the exact *hissssssssssssssssss* sound that the Vampire had made from the original Night Stalker movie that we had seen 2 weeks prior to this 'innocent little game'! My older brother first said.."ZZ...is that you?" I didn't answer. He asked again, though this time his voice was cracking from uncertainty. Of course that was met with another soft but still blood-curdling *hisssssssss*.
"MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!" and complete mayhem is what followed after.
And anyone who's ever followed Bill Cosby, would appreciate it when he said: "My wife grabs a yard stick... holds it like a samurai warrior... and announces that the beatings will now begin by saying "I HAVE HAD... ENOUGH... OF... THIS!". And these three brain-damaged people have the nerve to looked surprised!"
(I seriously thought Bill Cosby was referring to my two brothers and I being brain-damaged all this time.)
As I was carted back off to my room, I do remember looking back over my shoulder at both of my brothers and smiling with pure child-like smug satisfaction, and thought to myself,
"They can ground me until I'm 46, this was sooooooooo worth it!"
Wow! 10 down. 91 more to go!
And I have nine more chapters to do yet!
This is gonna take a while.
© 2008 Greeneyezz