Thursday, September 18, 2008

adventures in Little Italy

The Aunda* has fallen down some stairs and sprained her ankle. This is vexing for her, since she is an incurable busybody who likes to work like a machine from 4:30 in the morning until 10 at night on things like her garden and stewing tomatoes and baking 60,000 angel wing cookies for someone's grandaughter's sister-in-law's baby shower. You know. This is also vexing for everyone else, because now that she can't do those things she calls everyone on the phone and repeats dirty and unflattering gossip.

Momrat went over to pay a call last night, but apparently failed to be more interesting than the phone call the Aunda was already on.

"No, Viola," the Aunda was saying into the phone. "Angie's granddaughter no pay. Her father buy whole house for Angie e la boyfu-rend."

Viola's voice was so loud my mother could hear her like she was in the room. "I don't know, though. Why she hafta live con la boyfriend? Why she no can get married?"

"It no work like that, Viola," lectured the Aunda. "La girl today, si la pistola** no work, she go get new one. Si la pistola no good enough, she want better."

(Progress! This from the woman who, two years ago, told me and my sister that it's perfectly fine to date and have boyfriends, as long as we hang onto la rosetta.)

My mother, once she got a handle, called me immediately. She suggested I call the Aunda and say, "So what is this about la pistola? What do you mean, if it doesn't work? What exactly should it do?"

*my 87-year-old great aunt
**"the pistol"


Precie said...

La rosetta! La pistola!
Were there corresponding gesticulations?


Charles Gramlich said...

Makes me think of "Rosalie, why you no make them summpin to a eat?"

Merry Monteleone said...


Progress! This from the woman who, two years ago, told me and my sister that it's perfectly fine to date and have boyfriends, as long as we hang onto la rosetta.)

This made me laugh out loud!!! And you wrote the voice perfectly, my grandparents did the same thing, mostly broken English with the occasional word in Italian because they couldn't readily remember the English while they were heatedly yammering about something.

I was so used to this that I will still occasionally use Italian words while talking, and it's only when someone asks me what it means that I realize it's not actually a word in English.

Kiersten said...

Aunda sounds delightful--forget Carrie Bradshaw, Aunda should have her own series.

The Anti-Wife said...

I think Aunda has been watching too many "Sex and the City" reruns!

Jolie said...


Wow. I thought my family was hilarious, but this leaves them in the dust. For one thing, none of them have foreign accents. They DO enjoy karaoke, though. It's a tradition at family reunions. My cousins and I sing "Like a Virgin" and laugh at our mothers' expressions.

Demon Hunter said...

LOL. Your great aunt is hilarious. I love that story! :-)

Ello said...


Aunda is Awesome! I think I'm gonna go around saying wassa matta con la pistola? La pistola donna work!

Ulysses said...


Aunda wouldn't happen to know where one could find a good gunsmith?

For some reason, my wife wants to know.

JES said...

Now that's a professional job of dialect-writing, that right there. Hilarious post (and the comments aren't half-bad either).

Ha ha, still laughing, wondering if "Little Italy" itself is a euphemism...

cindy said...

hahaha! i love your family. no wonder you're an original, moonie. =D

Pamala Knight said...

LOL! I think Aunda is awesome!! I have no family of my own here and my husband's family pisses me off far too much for me to get any humour out of their madness so far, but I hold out hope.

Oh and Ulysses, you do so know why your wife wants to know about the gunsmith.

ChrisEldin said...

AHAHAHAHA! Thanks for the laugh! I want to have drinks with her!