Tuesday, May 18, 2010

High School Entry

My last posting referred to the fact that by sheer luck I was going to be a student in a high school. The story continues as follows:

Rose Lorber had signed up for an academic course at Girl Commercial High School to prepare her for a two-year college course at a teacher's training school. Since I was going to high school for only one term (five months),....shucks, I might as well go there too; at least I would be in school with Rose.

As the end of the five-month reprisal date approached, once again my brother Nicholas spoke on my behalf. He told my Father that it would be a shame to withdraw me from school: "Elvira is doing so well." After a rather heated discussion, with pros and cons being bantered about, Dad relented, and "Bene, go five more months".....and after that period expired, another five months.

I was 15 years old at Christmastime 1925 and I had decided it was time to stand up to my Father and his old customs. Ho! Ho! Ho! What a joke! After a late and rather long Christmas breakfast with home-made struffoli, panzarotti, demi-tasse with a touch of anisette instead of coffee with milk, Dad rose from the table and went to the basement to attend to some of his daily chores. After clearing the table and attending to my other duties, I went down to confront my Father. As he was placing some wood in the stove, I blurted out: "Papa, I want you to know that I'm tired of your five month extensions; I've been in high school almost two years and I've decided to go through the full four years and graduate. My Dad turned, looked at me standing in the doorway; then quietly but sternly said: "Come here." Afraid of the thrashing I was about to receive for speaking so disrespectfully, I stood there petrified. As father drew closer to me, he took me by the hand, walked to his chair, sat down....and with the warmest embrace I can still feel, my Dad gave me the best Christmas present I could ever have received. It was nothing tangible.....just words. Words that have been forged in my memory-bin forevermore. "Now! Now! is that what has been bothering you? Who said you would not graduate! Of course, you will." Suddenly, I realized that my Italian father was slowly, but surely, becoming an American.....and, by golly, I WAS an American.

I'll stop here; I'm a bit tired Will stir up some energy and try to get back tomorrow.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Elvira.

    That's a very interesting story. I hope someone sends a copy to your old school!

    Love from Sydney, Australia.