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PETRON: My maternal grandfather, Rocco Galasso,
was a superintendent in an apartment building
for, probably, 18 years of his life
and, at some point, he bought the building
and so we grew up there.
He would say to me,
[Italian accent] "Niccolo, we're going for a walk."
And I always wanted to go with Grandpa.
And he would get a pastrami sandwich the size of my head
and he would buy me a hot dog and he would say,
"Don't you tell anybody.
We just go for a good walk, right?
You want another hot dog?"
And, in this building, every apartment was filled
with an aunt or an uncle and, every Sunday, Rocco cooked,
so all of his family would show up for dinner,
all 30, 40 of us.
And one Sunday at dinner, Rocco made it clear to us
that we were going to all have to move,
that the city has condemned all of these buildings
to build these brand-new apartments.
And so we had, I think,
eight months to a year to relocate.
And then, one day, my mom and dad
and my brother Michael and I went
to Rocco's apartment for the Sunday meal.
Now, we no longer lived on the first floor,
everybody else was gone, it was abandoned,
except for that one apartment.
We had our meal and, at some point,
Rocco said to me and my brother,
"Let's go downstairs and put some coal in the burner."
And we got down to the coal pile and,
instead of grabbing the shovel, he said,
"pick up as much coal as you can
and put it in your pocket."
So we stuffed our overcoat with coal
and our jean pockets with coal
and we went to the backyard.
And there's one light on
and all of the other apartments are dark.
And he takes a piece of coal out of his pocket
and he throws it through one of the windows
and tears are streaming down his face.
And he says, "Come on, you break the windows with me."
So my brother and I just started throwing.
We thought it was fun, at the time,
and we're smashing windows and my mom and Aunt Lucy
stick their heads out and go
"What are you doing, Pop? Stop it! Stop it!"
But we didn't stop until all the windows were broken,
except for his apartment.
At first, my reaction was, they took his building away,
that's what I thought it was about,
but I realized, much later, it was about
the destruction of the family, which I think he knew.
A month later, he had to leave
and never again were we ever together
on a Sunday in that way.


Sundays at Rocco's

5065 分類 收藏
Fu Jung Lai 發佈於 2012 年 12 月 21 日
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