Off The Record
As a second generation American-Italian boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 50s and 60s, it seemed like there wasn’t enough hours in a day to do all the things I wanted to do. When was I going to stop and think, “Hey, where did I come from?” While I am writing this at the age of 63, it is the foremost question on my mind, but when your 7 years old who cared to find out. All I had to do was ask. More
As a second generation American-Italian boy growing up in Brooklyn New York in the 50s and 60s, it seemed like there wasn’t enough hours in a day to do all the things kids wanted to do.
Monday through Friday there was school, then playing ball in the schoolyard, if you were lucky enough to live across the street from one, then supper, followed by homework, television and bed. On the weekends there would be Saturday morning cartoons, followed by western shows, playing in the afternoon, dinner at five P.M., watch television and bedtime. Sunday was church instead of cartoons but then just the same activities except when we would go visit someone which was almost never. So with all that going on, when was a kid going to stop and think, “Hey, where did I come from?” Not in the sexual sense of the question but rather in the ancestry sense.
While I am writing this at the age of 63, it is the foremost question on my mind because I would love to know where my actual roots are, but when your 7 years old who gives a shit. And the most ironic thing is that back then, I had all the people at my fingertips with full recollection of my heritage who would have gladly supplied any and all information I may have wanted to know. All I had to do was ask.
My grandma Testa loved to talk and would have talked for hours about her ancestors. She would have talked about how she and my grandpa, her husband, met and married, and even tell of her parents. I could have gone back to the 1860s with a firsthand account of all that history. Boy I would have given anything to chronicle all the information they would have had to offer first hand, but like so many things in my life, I let it slip away. I will try to tell what little I know about my ancestry so as to give you a little insight about your heritage before I take it with me to that great band in the sky.
I will also tell you about life growing up as Peter Amari Jr. (for what it’s worth) so you will have, depending on who is reading this, firsthand information of your dad, grandpa, or maybe even your great grandpa if this book isn’t thrown out by then. This will not be hearsay, like I had to rely on my information, but rather a firsthand account of what went down in my life. Some sad, mostly happy, but 95% fact. I’ll allow the other 5% for bad memory due to old age. Don’t forget, at 63 I will have a little bit of a hard time remembering all of the events in my early years. But, I do know the important ones, the one’s that mattered most to me. The important crossroad decisions of my life, (if you will), that led me to where I am today, and more importantly, who I’ve become. And quite possibly the influence I’ve made on you, which in turn, made you who you’ve become.
If by now you are already bored to death with this book, either shut it or pass it on to someone else to read, preferably someone you don’t like. But remember that it might be all you have to go by when you too get old and start to care where you came from!
Well now at this age, my human references are, alas, all gone and any information about my heritage, went with them. I don’t want this to happen to the next generation. And that’s the reason for this book.
When I started this book I decided to write about my life so that my grand kids and perhaps generations to follow would have some concrete evidence of my existence firsthand. And also what life was like in the last half of the 20th century. I tried to give you a glimpse of what went through my mind through the good as well as the bad times. But a funny thing happened about halfway through this book. A lot of old feelings in me resurfaced. Just by thinking about them and writing them down. There were chapters where I was so deep in thought, that when I looked up and realized where I was, it was like waking up from a dream. What I’m trying to say here is that writing this book became therapeutic, so for that I’m glad I wrote it.
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