i-ItalyNY - 5thBirthday Special Issue. The Best of i-Itay - page 31

Special Issue | Winter 2017-2018 |
i-Italy Magazine
| 31
who didn’t totally understand why we were mak-
ing such a big deal, and I think that’s because reli-
gion is not as popular amongmy generation, statis-
tically. But when you were growing up, you know
…What did the pope mean to you growing up?
Well, the pope is like the pinnacle
of our religion. I mean, he is the speaking voice
from God to all of us, to give us lessons and the
beliefs that we should continue to hold…And we
happen to have one now who is a great humani-
tarian and he understands that the basic unit of
all societies is the family. If you don’t take care of
your family, everybody suffers within that scope
of humanity.
Nonno Mario
I’m sitting in his seat right now.
And this is the seat he would sit in every time
you came into the house and I know that when
I’d call him he’d be sitting in this seat — we just
have so many memories of sitting right here, the
hours going by.
And you could ask him any question
and he knew the answer.
Oh yes, of course. Or what I think
was so amazing about him is that, when I was
younger, grandpa asked me how old I was, and
I said “Eight.” And he said, “How do you know?”
And I: “Because it was just my birthday.”
And he said, “But how do you know you were
turning 8?”
“Because I was born 8 years ago.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because my parents told me.”
“How do you know your parents weren’t lying?”
“Because the birth certificate says so.”
“Well, how do you know that they didn’t make a
mistake on the birth certificate?”
And that was it — to really shake an 8 year old
to truly understand that you don’t knowwhat you
don’t know! The lesson of that story to me is that
you have to always be open-minded and never feel
as if you know the right answer. For having the
right answer isn’t theway towin an argument, isn’t
the way forward.
: All the time. That’s right. And to think
about it and come to your own solution.
Right, and he could argue any side
of an issue. And we are so unbelievably lucky to
actually have amoral compass, a grandpawho has
set our sense of what is right and what is wrong.
And it’s so simple. He does so in away that enables
any person, fromany religion, or fromno religion,
anyonewho’s just a human, to understand…Ahu-
manist is what I like to refer to him as.
He would be very happy to hear you
say all this if he were here.
Never forget your heritage!
What is your lesson to your grand-
daughters today, your Italian American grand-
daughters? What is one of the pieces of wisdom
that you want to tell us?
Well, I think you should never
forget your heritage. I think that’s what you’ve
learned since you were a little girl and I think
that stays; as a grandparent I’m thrilled that
all of you get that, you understand and you’re
faithful to your own heritage but you are open
to the heritage of others.
Grandparents & Grandchildren in Italian America is
co-produced by i-ItalyTV and ANFE and is sponsored by the
Ministerodegli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione
Internazionale, Direzione generale per gli italiani all’estero e le
politiche migratorie.
The First Two Seasons
Grandparents &
Grandchildren in Italian
This project explores the relationship
between different generations of
Italians in America and is narrated
firsthand by the protagonists.
Grandparents and
tell their stories in a
conversation that touches
on central issues concerning
Italian identity.
First season (2016)
Matilda Raffa Cuomo
with Amanda Cole
Joseph Tusiani
with Paola Tusiani
Aileen Riotto Sirey
with Emma Bankier
Rosaria Liuzzo
with Mara Sparacino
John P. Calvelli
with John D Calvelli
Second season (2017)
JosephM. Mattone
with Michael
Mattone jr.
and Lena Volpe
Margaret Ricciardi
with Laura
Dino Clemente
with Saverio,
Donato and
Louis R. Aidala
with Nicholas
and Julianna
Fred Gardaphe
with Michelangelo
and Anthony
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