Before I begin blogging, I want to pose a question to the Bloggers of the World: Am I now the oldest blogger on Earth? Even though a famous department store (which shall remain unnamed for the time being) declared my birth-datei invalid when I applied for a credit card recently, I was able to convince them, that it is still valid even thopugh I am 99 years old. And when my son Floyd who lives in San Diego, California visited me recently to celebrate my birthday, he convinced me to become a blogger...and that I now would be the oldest blogger on Earth. He came to this conclusion after scrolling through the Internet and read that the two oldest bloggers, at the age of 109, had recently passed away....Olive Riley on July 12 in Australia; and Ruth Hamilton on January 18 in Florida.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA in 1910 to Italian immigrants, and I grew up so deeply ingrained in the Italian culture that I didn't realize until I was in my very early teens, that I was an American.
Many years slowly passed by, and after my beloved parents left this Earth for greener pastures, it became the custom for my family to gather at my house for special occasions. They came from Long Island: Centereach, Baldwin, and West Hempstead; from Brooklyn, N.Y.; from Sherburne, N.Y.; from Alexandria, Va. and even Burlington, Vt. All participated in the festivities, enjoyed the comraderie, and filled their bellies with real Italian food with all the trimmings. Then after three or four days, and sometimes a week, all departed.
One day in 1968, after a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration...and coming home from a rather hectic and busy day at the office, I entered an empty house. Alone and feeling somewhat nostalgic for the good old-times, I sat down at my kitchen table, and on an old manual typewriter typed "The Joys of Growing-up
Italian", jottting down random thoughts, regardless of gender or tense (past, present or future). Then after only a few friends and family members received a copy, I just placed it in a drawer and forgot about it. I did not come across it again until the Year 1976, when I moved to a beautiful house on the top of a small mountain in South Otselic, New York. Surrounded by forests, cornfields, dairy farms and down-to-earth country folk, I thought I was in Heaven. That particular area generated only a few paesans (Italians). As soon as I became acquainted with them, I eagerly presented them with a copy of my newly found essay.
The Winter of 1977-1978 found St. Otselic's roads rather impassable for a city-bred girl. Over 10-feet of snow was piled up in my driveway., and I would have been confined in my home all winter, if it wasn't for the generosity of the farmers, who came to pick-me-up with their tractors for special appointments I had to keep. My daughter Angela's concern for my well-being guided me into a new direction. Once more I packed my belongings and dropped the baggage in a small lovely house in a senior development known as Silver Ridge Park in Toms River, New Jersey. There, I suddenly found myself , once again, engulfed in the Italian culture. Without saying too much more, many copies were made of "The Joys of Growing-up Italian, and I gladly distributed it throughout the Village.
I refined the essay in 1980, and again several more times...correcting grammer, genders, tenses and punctuation, etc. As I became older, all one had to mention is that he/she was of Italian descent, and off went a copy of my essay. This happened quite frequently, no matter where I wandered: on trains, buses, and even on airplanes. Addresses were exchanged and new friends were borne.
Several year's ago, at a meeting of the Golden Age Seniors in Patterson, New York, next to me sat Claire. (Oh, let me shy away from my story and let me tell you something funny about Claire. She and her sister Connie live in a lovely estate in Connecticut, whose grounds are beautifully manicured and embellished with exotic plants and bushes. One day, she discovered that an unknown stranger had taken up residency on her grounds...food and lodging free. The stranger roams freely and frequently visits others in the neighborhood Each time he returns, he makes his presence known by tapping on Claire's back-porch. As soon as Claire or Connie glance through the plate-glass door, he strolls into a slow-dance, he spreads his tail into the shape of a fan, and shimmers magnificently with rainbow colors. What a show-off! But really, how can a Peacock say "I'm home!".) Now let's get back to my story. As Claire and I were engaged in a pleasant conversation, I learned she is a "paesan". Immediately I made known to her that I was the author of the essay "The Joys of Growing-up Italian" on which I had received many compliments over the years. A startled look crossed her face, and in a subdued tone said: "Elvira, its on the Internet". All Hell broke loose! I'm being plagarized!
I wll continue with this diatribe the next time I blog, if you find it interesting.