I’m an Italian who happens to live in America.

I’m not American.  I’m an Italian who happens to live in America.

I’m from the Italian area of South Philly, and I was raised Italian.  Just look at one of my old yearbooks from catholic school; I’ll give you a $20 bill for every last name you can find that *doesn’t* end in a vowel.

We ate ravioli, manicotti, lasagna, and stuffed shells.  we had pepperoncinis, prosciutto, parmesan and provolone cheeses.  On the holidays we had scadole (escarole) soup and sicilian olives.  It was macaroni and meatballs every Wednesday and Sunday, and if mom was feeling fancy we had some braciole as well.  You can bet there were pig’s feet stewing in the bottom of the gravy to give it more flavor.  Our neighbors stopped by with a serving dish of eggplant parmesan or a large pot full of crabs and macaroni.  Family friends would bring over donuts or biscotti after dinner and we’d put a pot of coffee on.  We had roast pork and a glass of red wine every new year’s eve at midnight.  About the most American thing I ate growing up was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

My grandparents, my godparents, my cousins all lived within a 2 block radius.  We had receptions for first holy communion and confirmation.  We played half-ball, chink, and fenway.  We didn’t spend our summer nights at the Jersey Shore, we spent them eating Italian water ice and soft pretzels while sitting on our step with a bunch of friends, while our parents sat on the step across the street and the old men and ladies sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk.  Cars drove down the street, windows down, with Sinatra blasting on the stereo.

So — no, when you ask me, I’m not American.

I’m an Italian who happens to live in America.  and I’m damn proud of it.

in bocca al lupo,

– Submitted by: Johnny

If you would like to submit an article, story or just a letter to let us know how you feel click here or use the Submit a Story link at the top of every page.