Thursday, April 20, 2017
Throwback Thursdays - The Notebooks
My father also took me with him on weekends when he went to visit his sister or his relations in the Boston area. He did not do this with my brothers or sisters.
At the time, they may have been too young and things would change as time moved on into the Depression. Those were halcyon days for me. On my birthdays, my mother's uncle Zio Francisco, who was blind, was brought by a member of his family, my cousin, to our home, early and came back in the afternoon to take him home. They came by streetcar [ed: can't make out the rest of the sentence]. He was an Italian pastry chef baker and he came to make pastry for my birthday. I cannot recall how many time he came. It was a number of times.
My mother would put the board on the table, set the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and other things on the table and then she would help him up and he would be at the center of the table. She would take his hand and at his direction place it as he directed on the flour, sugar, eggs, etc. He would then start with what would be called the piece de resistance. The birthday cake. He would mix the ingredients he would need to make the different filling for the cake.
My mother would then put these on the stove, turn the gas on, and her uncle would then mix whatever was needed to make the filling for the different layers of the cake which would become the chocolate, the cream, etc.
While doing these things, he would have my mother stirring the chocolate cream etc. until it reached the right consistency. He would ask my mother if she felt that the right thickness had arrived. And if she said yes she helped him to the stove he would make his test. Had her set the filling aside to cool, check the sponge cake layers and continue with the Paragini, Cannoli, Biscotti.
The birthday cake was a 3 layer cake with different layers, lemon layer, chocolate layer, etc. It was the same size as the board. Paragini, cannoli, biscotti and other sweets some made to go with wine. When he was through, his nephew would come and take him home.They would not stay. The affair would start after our dinner. And at a certain hour, there would be some noise in the hallway followed by instruments playing. My father would open the door and in would march five men playing trumpet, violin, guitar, etc. Playing Happy Birthday followed by the guests. In retrospect, the guests were all adults none of my friends or playmates were present.
Now my birthday falls on St. Patrick's Day. And when I was old enough to read, I learned of the parade in South Boston and who marched. Being a child I thought it was being held for me. And wondered why I didn't attend. At one event I stated that the parade was for me and that's where I found out it was and like all kids who are not grown up, I objected and hought it was unfair I should have been asked to be the honoree. As time passed my thought were that the [ed: birthday] celebration was for my father, which I later associated with a statement he made when I was somewhere in my thirties or early forties.
[ed: The statement had to have been made when Dad was in his 30s. His father died in 1954 and Dad would have been 35 years old. March was a big birthday month for Dad's family. It would have made sense to have a big birthday bash to celebrate all the March birthdays: Zia Angelina, 3/12, Dad, 3/17, Dad's father, Achille, 3/22, Uncle Joe, 3/24, Uncle Vincent 3/29, and Auntie Filomena 3/31.
Dad mentions the fact that his father never took his other children with him on visiting rounds. Dad had told me the reason he was always with his father was as the first born, he was the heir apparent, If anything happened to his father, he would have been expected to leave school, get a job and support the family. Being with his father was an education in familial obligations. My Uncle Bob, Dad's youngest brother, used to joke even though the family was too poor to afford a crown, the siblings all knew who was the Crown Prince.]