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Sordid Family History

May 23, 2021 (246 words)

Many years ago my father fell under the spell of and married an Italian woman. I am told it was a brief courtship, no doubt the result of some romantic voodoo caste by this vixen on a poor, unsuspecting Irishman. They managed to have a long and mostly-happy marriage, though, and raised six healthy children together.

But we kids all bore the scars of my father’s impetuous choice of a life-partner. While he was safely ensconced at work each day, we little ones were confined to close quarters with this feisty little Pisan. And I can tell you we had no idea what to make of the situation.

The culture shock was only magnified when we visited our Italian side of the family. Who were these people? It was like encountering a different species. You want cultural diversity? Try visiting your father’s Irish relatives one weekend, and then the next weekend stopping in to see you mother’s people. On the plus side, I think I speak for my siblings when I say this multi-cultural upbringing prepared us to negotiate just about any social setting, with folks from any racial or ethnic background. Such was the mind-altering, consciousness-expanding impact of close, personal contact with colorful relatives of an Italian persuasion.

There is, however, one lingering side-effect of the early childhood trauma I suffered, which is only now coming into focus. Without quite realizing it, I have always been wary and steered clear of any and all Italian women.

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
May 22, 2021

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