November 8 2017

Random memories can sometimes be fueled by late night caffeine.

Against my better judgement, I drank a Starbucks “Double-Shot” with a late dinner. Needless to say, once midnight came around, I was still buzzing. So I decided to transplant a few indoor houseplants.

This brought back great memories of my childhood. When I was young and out of school for the summer, I would stay at my great-aunts house since they had just retired. They also never married or had kids, so I was like their own grandchild. And they were my summer baby-sitters.

There was usually a pretty typical schedule. I would come in the morning, work in the garden until lunch time. Then we would eat, usually pasta with a double serving of ice cream or pastries, and I would have a nice break to play with my toys while my aunts watched their programs (soap operas). If I was unlucky that day, I’d probably have to go back out to finish working the garden once the programs ended.

But if I was lucky, that day might involve a trip down to K-Mart for some dirt, Miracle-Gro, or tools. This was nice because, anytime we went to the store, I would get a toy.

Anyways, these memories left me with a great enjoyment for gardening as well as family. And sometimes, when I drink caffeine late at night, I find myself doing some small, random act reminding me of those good times in the past, and how much more I appreciate them as time goes on.

Now, I can’t help much add some random facts in here as I reminisce. To set a backdrop, my aunts were older Italian women and might remind you of an amped up version of “The Golden Girls.”

1) My aunt, obsessed with my clothing, would always force me to wear gloves and big, ridiculous hats to protect me from the sun.

2) I would often be sent to sneak on the neighbors’ properties and kill their weeds, sometimes by pouring piles of salt on their property, or trim their bushes. This was because they were definitely not on par with my aunt’s lawn care, and it was causing all sorts of problems. I think you have to experience it to know what I mean.

3) They were much more willing to buy me toys that my mom didn’t think I should have, being an extra treat for me. My mom even threw some of those toys out later because she thought they were inappropriate for me (she was probably right! But I was being spoiled).

4) Being very formative years of my youth, this caused me to have a very specific personality of an old Italian man. This was because, not only was I spending all day with older Italian women, but older uncles and other older Italian men and women would come by all the time. So I basically spent my youth hanging up with old Italians.

5) They taught me to appreciate taking care of the family’s graves at the cemetery, cleaning them off, planting different flowers, and complaining about what a bad job the people do at taking care of that place.

6) I learned to make great Italian food. HOWEVER, the aunt that did all the cooking has refused to write down for us any of the recipes. So I had to learn by watching from the table. Even when she taught me to make the family sauce, she left out very specific details. It’s almost as if she doesn’t want anyone to know her secrets! That’s OK, though, because I have learned to make my own sauce, and it would not be approved by the family, because I use some ingredients that the Sicilians use, so it would not be a family Calabrese sauce (don’t think I’m going to begin telling you any details of how I make my sauce)! Yes, using different ingredients in the cause could actually become a big issue!

7) In every Italian family, there is a prince. That’s a boy that is extremely spoiled, admired, and thought to never do anything wrong. You’re almost just chosen to be the prince. There doesn’t really need to be a reason. Almost as if you have been made a saint. To my aunts, I was that prince. And now my poor wife has to deal with me thinking so :D.

 

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