Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Sense of Identity

Acquaformosa, Italy

I am from words and painting with them; from Webster and his dictionary. Passionate about all things Scottish Terrier. Lover of Scotland, though I've never been.

I am from the Land of Pleasant Living, Charm City, ethnic, blue-collared, neighborhoods, with the smells from McCormick's Spice wafting through the air.

I am from the Black-Eyed Susans and the Chesapeake Bay; from the Atlantic Ocean and the waving grasses on sand dunes. From tenacious crab grass growing up through the hot cracks in cement sidewalks. From sumac growing wild in abandoned lots.

I am from Italians whose family tree has roots in Albania and from the wilds of Wales on her side of the mix. Of the family Dituri turned Dietor to hopefully fit in better as Americans, Raimondo's, from the Zink's though little is known about that. And for awhile I was of the Duggan clan. Now am claimed as a Frock. But, I keep Dietor in memory of my father and those who have past.

I am from the exuberant, abundanza, and deeply loving. Loud and raucous. The harsh but caring. The realest, the pragmatists who secreted big dreams. From immigrants and those who were brave enough to follow their dreams. From the fey on her mother's side.

I am from Catholic tradition. Pre-Vatican II, with incense, rituals, mystery, awe. And choirs and organs. Wearing your 'Sunday Best,' each week. Women with mantillas and hats in church. Men who removed hats when coming through the doors. Little girls with patten leather shoes. Little boys with cowlicks wetted and flattened and springing back in defiance before Mass had ended. Confession lines on Saturdays. No meat on Fridays. No place for women in the leadership.

I'm from Baltimore City with roots there since 1907. And my family comes from the earth someplace south of Rome and Naples, called Acquaformosa. Relatively unknown, unseen except on local maps. From pasta and garlic. Tomatoes and basil. Seafood and sandwiches.

From the grandparents who owned an outstanding restaurant. From a mother who was an artist, wild and untamed. Crazy and unpredictable. From a father who was the wisest man I've ever met. I am from Green grocers. Cooks. Home makers. Printers. Car salesmen. Roofers. Boarding House owners. Lamp-lighters. From hard working entrepreneurial folk.

I am from a place of Sunday family dinners of home made pasta and a sauce pot on the stove's back burner. I am from a home where there is always room at a dinner table. No one who comes through the door as a stranger ever leaves without becoming a friend.

I am from the tradition that everyone deserves a place to call home where they feel safe, loved, fed, and are greeted with, "Welcome home; how was your day?" Where your feelings weren't considered as important as your physical needs. Where tears were dried with chiding, "If you want to cry, I'll give you something to cry about," and an offer of a taste of sauce on bread. Cheese sprinkled on top. With a waiting while you ate it and the wise advice, "Better? Go on then."

24 comments:

Sarah said...

Oh what a wonderful post!! With my mom it was warm homemade cookies!! I love getting to know you better..what a lovely story of you!! That dear wonderful person that I consider a dear friend! Huge hugs to you dear Holly, Sarah

Pssssttt..I'm painting a Scottie today..kinda....

cinner said...

Holly, how very interesting, Better, well go on then. Brought me right back to being a child, warm fresh buns with Jam.Big hug my friend, have a great weekend. You are always in my thoughts. C

sema said...

Dear Holly,
It was wonderful reading a great wealth of information about you.It feels good to get to know more about you.
blessings
sema

(Holly ,I have sent you an email on 26th reg.thank you cards.)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Holly, I read this and sat for a long while before I commented. It says so much about who you are and why you are the way you are-- loving and generous.

The way you laced your background and your memories together left me with a crystal clear vision of your history...."From tenacious crab grass......McCormick's Spice.....cowlicks wetted....the wisest man....Go on then.... This may be in my top five favorite posts of yours. It's beautiful and beautifully written.

Now I know where to come for a taste of sauce on bread to feel better.

xoxo

clairedulalune said...

Now this is my favourite post! It was a wonderful read, really enjoyed it Holly, I love the way you describe your welcoming nature to your home!

Sara said...

Beautiful post Holly. We should all remember where we come from. Just lovely. xx

Sunny said...

How well said. Thank you for sharing you.
Sunny :)

miss*R said...

fantastic! (you can link this post on the AW blog if you wish) - this prompt always brings out the most amazing words and insights. I love to read them

and here I was thinking Dietor was from German origins.. but no! Italian!! no wonder you are so passionate about life :) - one of my best friends is Italian/New york and she is the most life-passionate person i know

Celestite said...

I can relate to quite a lot of this, but have never said it so articulately. Great post.

Alix said...

You are from much. You are much. But most of all, to me, you are Frocking awesome.

beth said...

"I am" glad I got to know you better :)

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Sound Like A Beautiful Woman.

Of Cuorse. Being QUEEN, And All...

Great Post, Lady D...

C.

LisaLisa said...

Dropping by from SITS! What a wonderful post. I'm glad I had a chance to stop by....wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Eileen said...

It almost read like a song ... I loved it ... thanks Holly. It would be a great exercise for each of us to honor our life by speaking what makes us, US.

Eternally Distracted said...

What an amazing post - Great!! I am totally with the Scottish part ;0) Great to get to know more about you.

Bohemian Single Mom said...

This is really, really beautiful.
I love your sense of identity.

judiPatootie said...

acquaformosa..what a beautiful descriptive place name.. I love these poems ..it;s getting to really know each of you in just one post it was a terrific prompt

Thanks for sharing you!

Janet said...

What a beautiful way to describe yourself. I loved reading it.

gemma said...

Hi Holly
So glad I stopped here to read this post.It is good to get to know the others in this group. Thanks for sharing your identity.
Love watching those charm city cakes being constructed.
:-)

The Fragrant Muse said...

Wow. Brilliant post. How do you DO this?! I love the clever way you braided together all the layers of your past and present. Just lovely. Thank you for sharing and the best part is...I feel I know you better!

Dreamwriter said...

Great post and written so well! This fun prompt really helps us all to get to know each other better.

Stefanie said...

How beautiful to know so completely who you are and where you come from. You truly are a master at painting with words. One day I hope to have the courage to face this prompt.

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful way to get to know you better! Loved your post and you didn't seem to have any trouble writing this at all :)

Toni said...

grand way to tell the story, too ... I've read it three times in a row, smiling more and more deeply each time. BRAVO!

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