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Holding Still

The Savino family poses for the camera. Nine-year-old Maria (my mother) stares ahead, a small hand resting on her father’s shoulder. Her pregnant mother, Rosa, grasps the other; the younger children fidget. My grandfather Donato holds baby Tony, the first …

The Typo Slayer

My first typo trauma came when I was a teenaged summer clerk-typist for the public information office of the state mental health department. Ever since I’d learned to read, I’d been hooked on print. Typing and proofing press releases about …

Alumni Weekend

The hype for my forty-fifth college reunion this past June started months in advance. The school, one of those that “changes lives,” is the archetypal small liberal arts college. It was the place, my parents promised, that would prepare me …

The Last Page

The 1950s: The food is salty, starchy, soothing. Milk arrives in glass bottles; eggs are delivered by a farmer. We can our own tomatoes and fruit. Frozen food is too expensive. I feed sugar cubes to the junkman’s horse. The …

Lost in the Melting Pot

I’m in the receiving line with my mother at my aunt’s wake. The stifling funeral parlor is crowded with mourners, and I recognize former neighbors from my aunt’s all-Italian neighborhood. My mother tenses as an elderly man approaches, murmurs his …

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