The Italian Family Journey

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in History | One Comment
The Italian Family Journey

  ALTHOUGH THE PROUD OFFSPRING of Italian-Americans, I was oblivious to the discrimination my family faced, though it’s known to have existed well into the ’50s and early ’60s when I was growing up in the industrial Northeast. Whatever else was going on, according to the photographic record above I was a pretty happy kid (obviously high on something). Of […]

My Single Father. My Broken Hero.

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in History | 4 Comments
My Single Father. My Broken Hero.

  JAMES FRANK STARR, the man in the photo above, was the single most stable and consistent influence in my early life. Here you see him as a young man of about 25, married with two small children. Only a few years later, and almost two decades before the film Kramer vs. Kramer would make the single father a modern character type, he would play that role. Not that […]

My Mom, the Mob Wife

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in History | 8 Comments
My Mom, the Mob Wife

  JUST AS YOU MAY HAVE HEARD, old-school Italians don’t go in much for blabbing the family secrets. There’s an expression I remember from childhood (having had it drilled into me over and over again): It’s nobody’s business but ours. So my great-grandfather, Nicola Schioppa, would roll over in his grave if he read this. Avert your eyes, Grandpa Nic. […]

The Escapist

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in History | No Comments
The Escapist

  THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE EXPRESSION on my mother’s face here that, if I’m not misinterpreting completely, I totally recognize. She may be fifteen or sixteen, but even looking back decades in time, I think I know that look. To me that expression captures something of her philosophy of life. It’s how she coped. It’s as if she was saying, […]

A Steel Family Story

Posted by on Mar 14, 2015 in History | 2 Comments
A Steel Family Story

  SHOULD WE SEARCH THIS MAN’S FACE, we would look much farther back in history than it would seem a mere 75 years could actually take us. I have little doubt his eyes saw things we would consider medieval. It might merely have been slitting the throat of a pig or a goat outside the kitchen door. […]