Growing up I thought being the daughter of Italian immigrants was hard - after all, we weren't allowed to do many of the things our friend's did. There were no sleep overs at friend's houses or camping trips. We had curfews and always had to sit at the table at dinner. If our parents went to visit someone we went too (at least until we were sixteen or so). We were allowed friends though - as many as we wanted and both male and female ones - as long as they came to the house and as long as they were also willing to sit at the dinner table for what sometimes seemed like an eternity. On those nights we prayed that the only *real* Italian food my mother served would be spaghetti.
We weren't allowed to talk back to my parents EVER regardless of how old we were and if my father told us to do something we didn't make the slightest expression which might have been mistaken for disobedience. As for swearing, I think I was 23 the first time I used the s*** word in front of my dad. That promptly landed me a swift slap across my mouth from across the kitchen table from my dad and a week long lecture about disrespect from my mother.
Times have really changed...I have three grown children of my own now who for the most part are wonderful and in spite of the way they dress or act, their friends are pretty good too. The only thing I can't get used to is how much they can challenge us or push an issue when they want to make a point. I often threatened to send them to live with my father when they were misbehaving but that didn't work. Turns out grandparent's are much easier on grandchildren than they are with their own kids. I think they get some secret feeling of sweet revenge for things we did when we were growing up. I should have known - my grandfather was no different and once even offered to hit my dad for me. I wonder if I will enjoy the same pleasure when I'm a grandmother........
Documenting and Passing on Family Treasures
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