About the book
Nonno Giuseppe would come over and tell us stories. My favorites were the
ones about my father. He used to get into so much trouble. People who knew
him when he was young would say to me, “You look just like your father.
I hope you’re not as bad as he was.” All of the children loved to listen
to Nonno tell his tales. Some nights he would tell the same story as the
night before, yet we never grew tired of hearing them. Nonno is gone now,
but I still remember his stories. When my cousins, brother, and I became
teens, we would roll our eyes, and say, “Not again! How many times can
you listen to the same stories?” Then I got married and had children. I
heard myself telling my own children the same stories again and again.
I began to really listen to his stories. I had to question the facts because
they sometimes changed. Then one day I began recording the stories adding
a bit of my own embellishment.
From Tonio and the Sausage:
Once there was a boy named Giuseppantonio. Everyone called him Tonio.
Tonio lived with his mother and two sisters, Francesca and Filomena. Times
were hard. There was little opportunity to make money in the village.
Papa was afraid that they might lose their
small olive farm as so many others had. He decided to leave Italy to find
work in America when Tonio was four years old. Papa got a job working in
a factory. He was able to send money to his family.
They always had food to eat. Nevertheless,
Tonio complained. “Pasta and beans! Why do we have to eat so much pasta
and beans when there is fresh sopresata hanging in the pantry?”
“Be glad that you have food,” Mama reminded
him. “Many don’t have pasta, let alone beans. Some only eat potatoes. As
for the sopresata, we’ll save what is left of it for Christmas when your
Papa visits. We haven’t seen him for three long years. This Christmas will
be the best!”
“Can’t we kill the other pig and make
more sausage for when Papa comes home?”
“No! If you don’t stop chasing that poor thing,
it will never fatten up.”
“Can’t we buy another pig?”
Jean Maiorino was born in Brooklyn, NY to parents who immigrated to America
from Italy. She has been a special education teacher for the City
of New York since 1990. Jean has a BA and MS in special education. She
also minored in creative writing. She enjoys singing, puppetry, writes
poetry, children’s stories and adult short stories. Jean lives in Brooklyn
with her husband Hank. She has two grown children.
About the Author
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