Greenwich Village, 1958
My Angelo says Italians know how to cook and know how to eat. I tell him of course we know! But we have to feed the whole neighborhood, not just the Italians.
He said once they taste, they never go back. Lasagna, chicken parmigiano, (parmesan), antipasto, minestrone, cannoli, why they want anything more?
A little vino (wine) is also good, a lot is better. This is why he gets a little pazzo (crazy) when that girl break the bottle. He no want her to work here but I say Angelo, how else does she learn?
She is no like my Elena, who is a good girl, bella e divina (beautiful and divine). This Ruby girl is dark, I think hungry, little like a gypsy. I think she has una cuore buona (a good heart) but she is scavenger, like a wolf cub, looking for trouble.
Still, I miss while she is gone at il orfanotrofio (children’s home), I feel sorry and wish we could have salvaguardato (protected) her. I make a big cena (meal) for her birthday, bigger than she is, so for once she have someone to cook for her, someone who is a real Italian.
Her friend Sophia show me some of her friend’s poesie (poems) and you know, I like them. She is having un'anima, (a soul) this girl, even though no one is listen to her. Maybe one day she can be something, eh?
She can take un posto alla tavola (a place at the table) with the others like her. Scrittori -artisti – poeti (writers – artists – poets). – And she will remember us, yes?
How we cook for her on her gold birthday. How she break bottle and I make her pay for it. How she hide in our cellar from the social worker. And how happy we are to see her, once she is home again.