Chocolate and Amaro

I’m beginning to think, after all this time, that I was a rebel even as a child. I no longer have parents to ask to tell me so. I can tell you that one loved me as I was and the other did not.

In grade school girls had to take Home Economics which taught us food costing and recipes for our lives being married years ahead. No college. We had been finishing a beautiful home on a cliff overseeing a Great Lake and I wanted to take Shop class to learn to give my parents a lamp.

I was brought into the Principal’s office, very daunting, where he told me in no uncertain terms that girls were not allowed to take Shop. I went to Home Ec where they taught us useless stuff then we had to cook in teams. I was elected team leader. I asked and they concurred that everything be chocolate, pancakes, everything. If we had to be there we needed to rebel. Then they made us create an eight-layer Jello cake (hello, was there a food network back then to film us?). We couldn’t use chocolate in that though now I’d have thought of chocolate mousse with raspberry gelatin and go down the path from there. Was Jello sponsoring this girls’ activity?

As an adult I remember, barely, a night with my step-sister in Florence. I watched Chopped and there was a basket that contained Amaro, a digestif. Back then we had just taken over an apartment in Florence from her uncles who flew home and were up in the middle of the night watching the Clinton hearings on CNN and finishing off their last half a bottle of Averna.

A few hours later her husband-to-be called, around six, and he told me not to wake her but to call back later. I became her social secretary for a couple of days. He was calling from Singapore or Japan on business, I don’t recall.

Chocolate and Amaro. It was interesting getting to know her a bit, a late night on CNN Worldwide and a digestif. We haven’t had the chance to talk since, even at Dad’s funeral a year ago.

I have protested since my early days, as I recall. Music and art went by the wayside, in terms of school funding. That is very sad as music helps math and art develops other skills that allow a young student to achieve success in later life. I took up guitar again at age fifty, and piano as well. Both have been on the sidelines as life has intervened.

Before I graduated from college, I had several mentors including my father, two priests, both Franciscan and from sociological and art history backgrounds. All are gone now. I swore off men and never met a man I loved until my early 40’s. We eloped. He’s 2,000 miles away at work today and I’m still talking to him as if he is at home writing a book. Yes, it’s published, but only a few copies for editing and peer review.

We live in a high-rise with a great view and last week they decided to ban all dog owners from the lobby in order to attract new residents. That didn’t sit well with me and I researched ADA and Federal civil rights statutes and also looked into housing laws and since we pay a lot to live here thought of rent abatements for lack of services such as mail. I didn’t say a word, may have written one or two. Our Zoe is now allowed to go through the lobby any time as are 99% of the rest of us, responsible dog owners.

All they needed to do was weed out the bad seeds one by one, not punish us en masse. Dad would love me for being a fighter and a lover of people and abused and abandoned animals. I miss him and buy him flowers every week with a card that says “Miss you, Dad.” He knows he raised a good girl. Salt of the earth.

I came across a huge long postcard of where we used to stay in Florence, also just ordered a postcard of San Lorenzo, patron saint of cooks and kitchens. I’m cooking for me this week, husband away so I can actually eat fish. Unfortunately our old dog may meet her fate at my hands (via our vet, of course). Ciao, Dee



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