Sunday in Queens was a blessing. We were recovering from the death of my twenty-eight year-old mother, who left behind three little ones, aged 2, 4 and me, age 5. We were lost without our mooring, floating in a bitter space of grief, pain, and chaos. Sundays saved us. We piled into the car every week and drove down, through the Bronx and over the Throgs Neck Bridge to my grandma and grandpa's house on 161st Street in Flushing. The door would open to a house packed with loved ones of all ages: cousins, uncles, aunts, girlfriends, boyfriends, the neighborhood priest. The house was always warm and bright. An uncle might be practicing the latest disco move in the living room while Saturday Night Fever blared from the stereo. Others would be playing poker at the dining room table, under a thick cover of cigarette smoke. The kitchen was always full of food: sausages simmering in tomato sauce, green beans glistening with olive oil tossed with garlic and lemon, fresh semolina bread, home-made cheese ravioli, and piles upon piles of Italian pastries. The meal lasted all day and at the end I always dug out my favorite of all pastries from the giant stack: the cannoli. The combination of the crunchy cookie and sweet ricotta filling was intoxicating. Years later I would go in search of the perfect cannoli in Sicily, their birthplace and homeland. We met in Sant'Agata di Militello on the northern shore of the island. A sleepy little town, caught somewhere between the 19th and 20th centuries, where little old ladies still peered suspiciously from behind cracked doors as you walked down their street. It was there I met my most beloved of all cannoli.
"I am a historian/writer/educator, lover of the natural world, with my moon in scorpio. I am currently working with the National Domestic Workers Alliance to bring history into their political education curriculum. I am also on the faculty at Smith College." - Jennifer Guglielmo
Thank you Jennifer, for sharing your memory with us....it is a reminder: that even in the most painful of times we still have moments when we can dive into love and simple pleasures.