I have come to an obsession with a few things in my life now, but there is one thing that I have become increasingly attached to the past 4 years of my life. This “thing” is my Italian heritage. I was never really interested in where my family came from up until about my 9th grade year when I watched the movie The Godfather for the first time. That probably seems too young of an age for such a graphic and dramatic movie, but needless to say, my family was pretty frank in their speech and actions, which incidentally adds to the common Italian stereotype of being loud and vulgar. In my first review of the movie, of course there were things that I didn’t understand but overall I absolutely loved it. I was immediately more interested in learning about where my family came from and what my grandparents’ lives were like.
Coincidentally, I came to learn that my brother and I were the last generation in my family to be completely of Italian heritage. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to learn much from my mother’s side of the family because my grandmother died the year I was born and my grandfather died while I was in 8th grade, but my father’s parents are still living so I learned much from them. I learned the town from which my grandparents emigrated in Sicily, how their parents arrived in America, and what they did to provide for their families. Sadly, my grandparents never spoke in Italian to their children so now they are the only ones able to speak the language in the family. Every time I hear them speak in Italian, I am just awestruck by the history and culture in their voices. It makes me really proud to be a descendent of two extremely hardworking individuals that helped shape the United States into what it is today culturally.
Whenever I see something with the words “Italy,” “Italian,” “Italia,” or anything relating to Italy I simply must have it. I have a necklace with the Italian Horn piece on it, displaying my heritage. The horn is believed to be some sort of charm that protects the wearer against the curses of the “evil-eye.” Personally, I believe that’s just a myth but nevertheless, I love being able to display my heritage. Some time in the future, I plan on visiting Italy, I’d love to be able to go with my entire family but many of them are getting older now and some are afraid to fly, so sharing in that experience may be a lost cause, but that still does not deter me from wanting to go. I even began taking courses here at the University of Michigan in Italian language to get closer to my roots.
Now that I am a few years older, I have probably seen each Godfather movie about 5 or 6 times each and know many lines. I never get tired of running across it when scanning through the channels on TV and watching it for the next 2 or 3 hours. I even bought the trilogy on Blu-Ray disc for those times when I need to watch it immediately. I am always amazed when I encounter someone who has not seen them, but then I am instantly happy because then I can show them these movies and watch them again. If there is anything in this world that I am most thankful for, it would be that I was born into a tightly knit family of loud, always joking, and sometimes obnoxious Italian-Americans. This is my obsession.
Picture of an Italian Horn