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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Exactly Just how Italian Are You?

Ok, so yesterday my friend, Ian, and I were getting into an elevator while having a conversation in which he was pronouncing certain Italian words (mostly cheeses) with an exaggerated Italian accent.  It went something like this:

Ian: I can say that, because I am Italian.
Me: Well, so am I.
Ian: You are? You don't look Italian...
Me: I look about as Italian as you, if not more. Just how Italian are you?
Ian: Half (at which point I think, shoot, I am only a quarter--he's got me.  Ok, I'll pull out the big guns and mention exactly which part of Italy my grandfather is from. That should show him how authentically Italian I am.)
Me: Well, my Grandfather is from Boltzano.
Now Ian is just staring at me, so thoroughly impressed that he has nothing to say--no way to one-up me now.  Ha, I think.
Ian: I actually don't know where that is...
Oh crap, neither do I. So I come clean...
Me: yeah, I don't either--just somewhere in the boot. 
Then, a thickly accented and thoroughly Italian voice jumps into our conversation, Eet's een-a Northern Eetaly...
    And she goes on to tell us just exactly where it is, single-handedly putting both of us in our place with her true Italian-ess.  We could hardly believe it.  In all the elevators in all the world, we happened to share one with her. In Denver.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, I need to make some corrections here. Grandpa Odorizzi was born in this country (I know that's disappointing) but was raised almost all his childhood in Balzano. I got this off the internet: Bolzano - known to Germans as Bozen - sits where the Isarco River flows into the larger Adige River, which streams out of the Alps. Though unquestionably Italian, the city sits on the A22 running north through the Brenner Pass and south to Trento, Verona and Modena, in the midst of the German-speaking part of the country, known as the South Tyrol.

A picturesque small town, with a mild climate, Bolzano is surrounded by gorgeous Alpine scenery.

Your Great Grandpa and Grandma spoke German fluently, altho Italian was their 1st language. Although they lived in America for 50 years, they never learned English. Dad and his brothers did the interpretation for them. Balzano, depending upon the time, was sometimes Austrian and sometimes Italian.

Your Great grandpa and great grandma came over on ships as adults from Balzano. Your Grandpa's first language was Italian so he always spoke English with a cool "Godfather" tone.

It's important that you know that you are NORTHERN Italian. I don't know why that's so important, but mom said it over and over again. as if it was part of the 10 commandments or something. It's burnt in my mind.

And, by the way, I am 50% Italian! That has always been an exciting thing for me although sometimes I wish I was 100% Italian.

Now, I've given this blog website to my sister......and she probably knows much more than I do about our history so more corrections may be forthcoming......

Lynn said...

I didn't mean to make that last blog anonymous!!!!!!

Susan Marie said...

European ancestry is so interesting and complex! Jason's family heritage is from a region in modern day Poland that has flip-flopped between Ukraine and Poland throughout it's history- not to mention the times when either of those provinces were under Russian rule!

Anyway- that's a really good story, Jess. I love those random encounters that can happen when you least expect them!

KathieK said...

I realize I am late in commenting on this blog entry, but I find all this talk of heritage fascinating. I am practically a walking United Nations with my Heinz 57 heritage on my mom's side! We were always told we were primarily Czechoslovakian on my dad's side (Czech or Slovak I don't know, it wasn't divided when I was growing up), but he fancied himself a gypsy, I think. When my great-grandfather came to this country the area in which he lived was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is a possibility that I am actually part Hungarian. In fact, my maiden name might mean "poppy" in Hungarian.

Jessica Latshaw said...

I definitely think it is worth finding out about your heritage. I think there is richness and reason in knowing where you come from--maybe it even helps unlock some of the mystery of why we are drawn to or choose to do certain things. I talk with my hands, which is Italian. I love stories, which is Cornish and Welsh (I know I am cornish, I think I am welsh--I am sure my mom will clarify this, though!). I love ballet--definitely French (oh--and french bread, does that count?).

KathieK said...

Bread always counts!!