Sunday March 30th, 2008
On the 30th of March 2008 my sisters and I celebrated our mother’s 90th Birthday. We: Delia, Iole e Maria.
It was held at the Settefratese Social Club on the West Side.
The Social Club has been a meeting place where members have always gathered to play a game of bocce or tressette and just to be together and talk about “ the old Country”. Many times we hold social functions there.
We only told my mother of her party the day before so she would not be too anxious. Mom is a little forgetful these days but she is as feisty as ever.
She still calls me at the same time every morning to make sure I don’t sleep in. She is adamant about getting up early. Ever since I was a little girl mom
would wake me up early even when there was nothing to do. “ You have to get used of everything” she used to say when I complained. Adding that when some day I had my own family I wouldn’t have any trouble getting up early. I think I was barely 9 years old when she started telling me this
“My own family” was a long way off.
My mother cannot stand idleness. She had always something to do for me.
She felt that I might get lazy if not busy all of the times. Is it any wonder
I can’t keep still even at this late stage of my life. When I’m idle I’m filled
with guilt complex.
We invited some seventy close friends and relatives to the party. Relatives came from as far away as the State of Ohio and as far as Long Island to honor my mother. It was good to see the old friends and relatives
all gathered in the same place. It brought back old nostalgic memories.
Mom arrived at the party all dressed in her finest and looked quite pretty. She took one look around at all the guests and smiled broadly. Then she began to go around to say hello to her friends. They were all there her childhood friends gathered happily to celebrate their good friend Triestina. Then she noticed the display of photographs on the table and went to look. We had brought many photos of our family that told the story through the years.
Some of the pictures included the guest present at the party and some our dear departed, we wanted them to be there in spirit for my mother. Many went to look too and reminisce about the famous “ good old times”. Then my mother noticed our cousin Bobby from Ohio and smiling asked “ E tu”
what you do ove ie` ? ( And what are you doing over here?) Bobby kissed her and told her he had come for her birthday. And she said “ oi quanta ca sient e`” (senti da dove sei venuto !) Many grandchildren and great grandchildren came with bouquet of flowers for their grandma who always had home made pasta ready for them when they visited. It seem to appear magically from nowhere the pasta, even when grandma did not know they where coming. Mom was always a step head of everybody, she would make the pasta and save it in the freezer: “in case”. She’d say. When everybody had sat down we made a toast to mom. I welcomed every one on this special occasion and thanked them for coming. I told a little story mom is fond of
telling us, her three daughters, when she wants to drive home “what a good mother she is.”
She says: “ I always send you dressed and with shoes on”. Now after 65 of hearing this said to me practically every day one time I asked: “mom what did you want to do send us out naked and barefooted?” Without missing a beat she added loudly: “ and always clean!!” Who can argue with the logic of my mother. Yes my mother is loving and caring and her family is above all else.
I ended my little speech with a famous poem written to his mother by a famous poet and author: Edmondo De Amicis.
Time does not always destroy beauty,
nor can tears or pains wither it:
my mother is sixty years old and the more I look at her,
the more she seems beautiful to me.
Non sempre il tempo
la beltà cancella
o la sfioran le lacrime e gli affanni
mia madre ha sessant'anni e più la guardo
e più mi sembra bella.
I added: “Our mother is no longer sixty years old or even seventy.
She is not eighty any more. My mother is ninety now and she is still as beautiful as ever. Our good friend Bruno the “ music man” started playing
and singing “Mamma”. We all chimed in.
Bruno is a good friend of the family. We lived next door to them in Settefrati.
Our friendship continues to this day. The food was delicious thanks to the Club’s own chef: John Antonelli who outdid himself. Thank you John.
The décor was also very pretty in the colors of cream and lavender.
It was time to take pictures. I invited the oldest guests to come up and take a picture with mamma. There was Mario Di Preta 98 years old. Mario is the oldest member of the Di Preta family and a cousin of my mother. Loreta Gentile 96. A childhood friend of my mother. Barbara Vitti 88 also a long-standing family friend. All venerable friends for practically all their lives.
Toward the end a group of guests joined Bruno and sang old
“Melodie Montane”. Some danced. The choir ended the day with our very own “ Evviva Maria” the hymn we sing in honor of la Madonna di Canneto.
Time to go. All quiet now, we gathered our things looked around and noticed that every one had a smile on their faces. It was a very good day.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMMA
Delia Iole e Maria