Another memory of my childhood, but this one is funny. So, I think I was about 8 years old on this sunny day in our home in Palos Park. Let me give you a bit of schema for this memory. We moved to our Palos Park home in 1973, which at that time I was about 2 months old. So my Palos home was the only home I had, until I got married in 2001.
I grew up in a home with my parents, two older brothers, one older sister, and my grandparents from the Russo side. The house was pretty large, so we shared bedrooms and we all fit comfortably. The house belonged to my mom and dad, but we were living with grandparents who always thought they owned the house and it sometimes was a challenge. My Paparone was what we called my grandpa. It means “Big Grandpa” in Italian. He was pretty much in charge of everything in his eyes. He was great guy in which I also have many memories of until he died in my teenage years.
My grandparents didn’t really speak English. So living with them forced us kids to learn the beautiful Italian language. I sometimes forget how to say some Italian words, but I pretty much understand everything I hear. So I guess I was pretty lucky to have had them around. Well, we did suffer a bit. My Paparone didn’t want any of our friends to come over, so we didn’t really have any come over. He was extremely picky about the grass and his garden. He really didn’t like us playing in the grass, so we didn’t do it much. No one wanted him to get upset. We were pretty much afraid of what would happen if we let the ball go into his vegetable garden. One time, a cousin of mine hit the baseball into his vegetable garden, and things were pretty bad. Paparone took the plastic bat and broke it in half. I guess we learned a lesson. Another thing we didn’t do was change the TV, when he was watching “The Price is Right”. That would have been a No No!
Here goes the funny memory. I was coming home from school one Spring day, when all of a sudden I opened the side door to walk into the garage. You will never believe what I saw or maybe should I saw what I heard. Ba, Ba, Ba…..What was that? Yep, a lamb gone wild in my garage. It wasn’t a dream! All I could thin about was poor Mary and her little lamb. For those of you who know me, I was never an animal lover. I slammed that door so hard and screamed for my dear life. Later, I found out they were going to kill the lamb for Easter. Lamb meat was on our Italian menu, well not on my menu. I never tried a piece of lamb after that day. So as you can see, growing up Italian has left me with so many awesome memories!