I originally posted this as a private message to a friend on Facebook, but just thought it was too cute (and funny?) not to share here!:The following is about my paternal grandmother's "Family & Friends Day" event at her house. This was in Yorba Linda, a middle to upper-class suburb in northern Orange County, California. It was just "a party to celebrate life," as my grandmother put it, as most of the people there only got together for weddings and funerals, and there had been way too many funerals lately. Lots of her friends, even ones from back East (NY) were there, so I didn't know everybody. but most were extended family and so it was like a family reunion! I'm half Italian, and this was that half! So let the clichés begin!:
1.) My grandmother on the phone talking about the caterer: "We can't run out of food. We're Italians, we don't do that." (Not only did we have food left over, but enough to fill the house! And it's a big house!)
2.) My grandmother: "I hope this goes off without a hitch." My aunt: "If there's an issue, I'm sure no one will notice." My grandmother: "The Italians would notice." (Even at a party of mainly White Caucasians with little diversity, there is still a distinction between "The Italians" as my grandmother called us....and everyone else.)
3.) "Some people brought stuff even though I told them not to," said my grandmother. "When I asked why, they said 'we're Italians, we don't show up to a party empty-handed.'" (Many party-goers, especially family, brought food, wine, cards, gifts and flowers.)
4.) "Heck, we're Italians, we hug!" said a distant cousin of mine who I last saw about a hundred years ago as he gave me a bear hug.
5.) Duck! Almost everyone talked with their hands, navigating the gathering without getting hit by a talking relative was like running a gauntlet.
6.) Cover your ears! IT WAS LOUD! Being Italian, my family spoke very loudly! No, we're not fighting! That's just how we talk! And that was before they were drunk!
7.) Everyone yelling at my Grandma to sit down! The consummate host, she always had to be up serving people or doing something!
8.) Eat, eat! Until you explode! Or it seems! No matter how many times I tell my Grandmother I'm full she insists I eat more! This after I had two full plates already!
9.) "Damn these Italian goodbyes!" exclaimed one of my cousins. "It takes us an hour to leave!" (For those that don't know, an "Italian Goodbye" is when, at any size party, even one with hundreds of people, you say goodbye to each individually and inevitably get stuck into a long conversation with each one. In fact, another cousin was still at the party very literally an hour after saying his first "goodbye." "Forget the Italian goodbye!" yelled a frustrated Great Aunt (or was she some sort of cousin? Well.....we're related somehow lol) "This is how you say 'goodbye'!" She waved at the entire crowd from a distance and hollered at the top of her lungs, "Goodbye, everybody!" Then dashed for the door. But...she...didn't...make it!
10.) Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and like music in the background.
11.) People talking about preferring pasta over the taquitos that were served at the party.
Oh, there's more! There's enough jokes, stereotypes, and clichés to fit a novel, and ones that aren't so much unique to Italians, as to just my family. lol We're just crazy like that! Ask anyone!....It was a great time! I can't wait until the next!
I forgot to mention: Many people, especially my grandmother, great-aunts and great-uncle, and some second cousins who came from NY at an older age, still had East Coast/NY/Brooklyn accents, they could have stepped straight off the set of The Sopranos! Heck, my grandmother sounds exactly like Edith Bunker of "All in the Family." lol
Below is a pic of just a few of my family that were there. There were almost over a hundred guests, but the photo cut them out, there wasn't enough room in the frame for them all.
And of course...being Italian...here we are eating!