Thursday, September 29, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passsed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

17. March 1979 - Dad's 60th birthday. Dad is blowing out candles on
the Italian rum cake from Mike's Pastry with an assist from his grandson.
Also in the photo, left to right: Ma, her sister, Uncle J, husband of Dad's
sister, E, niece R, sister in law L married to Dad's baby brother, R. The
rum cake was always a present from Ma's sister.
My birthdays were celebrated. My mother's uncle, Zio [ed: Italian for uncle] Francisco, he was a number one pastry chef. And although he had to be brought and picked up by a relation as he was blind, he could still bake. My mother would take out everything he needed to bake. The board, the Italian rolling pin. This was a broomstick that was sanded down by hand until all the paint had been removed. And as it was used, it began to take on a nice, yellow color from the eggs that were used to make pasta, cakes, etc. Every Italian home had one of these.

My mother would place all of the ingredients that were needed. Then take his hands and put them on the flour, the eggs, salt, sugar, etc. He would then go to work.

When he had mixed everything and rolled it flat or took bits off to make the Italian cookies, they would be ready for the oven. The same for the cakes. He would also mix the various creams, and have my mother put them in a pan for heating and would ask her to test for consistency.

He would make the Italian layered cake [ed: Italian rum cake], cannoli, paragini, everything that you could buy at Mike's in Boston [ed: Mike's Pastry 300 Hanover St. in Boston's North End]

When he was through, whoever brought him to our house would come to pick him up and take him home. My mother's uncle was my grandfather's brother. The uncle and his wife loved my mother. We visited often. Even their children would visit.

During all of this baking day, I would sort of raise some problem. I would get in the way. One birthday, I sat on the window sill as I tried doing see-saw. My mother would tell me to stop or you'll fall on the piazza [ed: porch or deck on back of a triple decker. Ran the length of the building. Each floor had its own piazza. ] I did and split my head. My poor mother took a conniption.

I was taken to the first aid station. [ed: Boston City Hospital Relief Station, Haymarket Square] They wanted to put stitches in. She would not allow it. She didn't like to have me sewn up.

That night, after dinner, I would hear some talk in the hallway and then music. Mother opened the door and the little orchestra marched in. And friends, not mine. This was done in the evening. I was treated like a prince with my head bandaged that year.

My birthdays went on like this until The Depression. It was my father's way, I guess, to celebrate.


  1. Fascinating, CJ. Especially about your uncle.

  2. Took a conniption! I love it!!! I so enjoy your father's memories.