I grew up in a blended family. My mom married a 2nd generation Italian-American man named Domenic. He adopted me when I was 3 years old at the Cambridge Probate Courthouse and became my dad.
Growing up with a large extended Italian family was pretty cool. There was lots of cousins to play with, lots of cookouts and get togethers, and uncles that kinda had that Tony Soprano feel to them. Yet, I spent the most of time with my grandma.
Grandma could make her own pasta and pizzelle by hand. She always cooked homemade pizza on Friday nights. She prayed the Rosary every morning. She was the most holy woman I have ever met.
Grandma spoke with a thick Italian accent and she was very quiet and reserved. Well, unless I made her cross. Then all bets were off and everything was spoken in Italian. I didn’t understand shit from shinola of what she was saying. I only knew to run to my bedroom quickly.
Grandma came to the United States from Naples, Italy in 1922 through Ellis Island. She was 16 years old. I was told she was wearing only one shoe. She was very poor and had been living in an orphanage which was run by some Catholic nuns.
She met my grandpa another Italian immigrant. They married and settled in Lexington, Massachusetts. There they had a small farm to raise cattle. My grandpa owned and operated a meat market in the city. They had a modest home where they raised their 6 sons.
They had realized the American Dream.
This would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the courage and bravery of the men and woman who had wanted to create a new nation. They risked their lives and fought to escape the tyranny and taxes of the British rule. For this I thank them.
I give thanks also, to all others who paid the ultimate sacrifice or were wounded in each subsequent war and conflict fought both here and abroad for protecting our freedom.
I know that my Grandma was always proud to call herself an American and so am I.
Amidst the sparkle of all the fireworks that will burst through the sky tonight in spectacular colors, I’m thinking of one special woman. She came to this country in search of a better life. Her dreams came true because of the sacrifice of so many special and devoted people.
THANK YOU to all of you.
Happy Independence Day!!!!