When I was younger, I asked my mother if I could add a vowel to the end of my name. “Why,” she said, not particularly surprised that her quirky eldest child would make a bizarre statement like that. “Because,” I answered, “I want people to know that I’m Italian and with a name like Flowers they won’t.”
The former Lucy Fusco just looked at me and shook her head, which was Italian for “If God made us perfect, we’d have nothing to pray for.” I suppose it’s also why she named me after the patron saint of the mentally diseased. Really, look it up.
I tell you this because I want you to know how proud I am of my heritage. While only 50 percent of my DNA is from the bel paese, I feel completely Italian, despite the freckled white skin which refuses to tan, the inability to cook anything that doesn’t come with reheating instructions and an aversion to homemade wine. These are all part of the stereotype of the paisano, along with the certainty that somewhere along the genealogical trail I would have tripped over piano wire.
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