I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but when I was living at home, my mom would go around telling everyone who would lend an ear that I was actually born Mexican, because I love the food and the culture and the music and the people. It made me angry because she would say it with disdain, acting like I denied my own heritage and culture, which flat-out wasn’t true.
Well, Ma, you’d be proud.
A week or so ago when I was exploring town, I came across the Italian-American Museum and Cultural Center. The first time, I passed it, I was with my dad and I stared at the sign with gaped jaw that this kind of place even existed, and begged him to stop to check out the madness. He wouldn’t stop.
The second time I tried to go, I took the wrong turn, and thought the place was out-of-business.
Finally, the third time, I made it to the building. Next door was the kind of hair salon that you’d go to for bouffants similar to the hair do’s in the Sopranos. Or the Real Housewives of New Jersey. You know what I’m talking about.
I go in, and am greeted by like seven people…all Italians that reminded me of my older relatives back home. This was too good to be true.
To make a long story short, it was really, really strange, with lots of weird “artifacts” from the good ol’ days. These things were like doilies and small plastic dolls like the one above. Things that my mom had at home, and that I’d find on my grandparents’ buffet when they were still alive. Blast from the past.
I might go back, I might not. They were sort of pushy, but they were nice enough.
And hey, I might as well celebrate my heritage for once. Right, Mom?