Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Buon Giorno!

Even today I much enjoy saying my Father's name in my version of an Italian accent.

Geosepe Antonio Cardella, it was Joseph Anthony Cardella. (I even use my hands as I say it.)

Being Italian had style and flair, like a Connie Francis song.

A large patio table found a home in our covered patio area and was often covered with a red-and-white check tablecloth. Ambience was easy. Half burnt candles were stuck into wine bottles - Italian is attitude and lots of good food. 

Pasta dishes galore, red and white
check tablecloths, Italian food - we
couldn't get enough of it.
Southern California's lovely climate made dining outside a common activity. The porch's location on the other side of the kitchen screen door made it effortless. A swimming pool 50 feet away made it alluring.

Home-made pizza, pasta of all kinds, lasagne, and of course bread. OMG, bread! And Parmesan. And more Parmesan!

There was much good about it to me.

Buon giorno! (Good morning!)
Buon pomeriggio! (Good afternoon!)
Buona sera! (Good evening!)

But truth is, I don't know if my Father was Italian. Knowledge of his ancestry is hidden, tucked away in a records file, unavailable to me, somewhere in downtown Chicago. 

My only evidence of my Daddy's birth/heredity, starts and ends with an adoption announcement in a Chicago newspaper. It stated Carmen Geosepe Anthony Cardella and Luci Salvatore Cardella adopted Joseph Anthony, age two into their family. That evidence was barely 2" of an old, yellowed, scissored, newspaper clipping, pasted in an equally old, thin, photo album.

So, my Italian Father was adopted and as was customary in our home, there was little discussion of it. He lived a kinna' anonymous, low key life. An honorable one, he worked hard, was the best Dad he could be, not perfect, low profile. As his only daughter, naturally athletic like him, I got the best of him, was a 'Daddy's girl,' and I was fully aware of that. 

My Dad was not Italian or maybe he was, I don't know.

I wish I knew more.

It seems lovely when people celebrate traditions. My Father actually had just a few and he honored them in his quiet, limited way. He deserved more.

Adoption records were sealed in those days. Almost like nonexistent.  

My Father was adopted by very traditional, old-school as well as older in age, Italian parents. Their age, clothes, lifestyle was difficult and awkward, for my Father. These adoptive parents were also obese. 

My Daddy was naturally fit and athletic, so he drew his life that way and hit the streets with a basketball. It was as natural as breathing.


Facts about his birth were almost an unknown, his adoptive family it is known was an uncomfortable influence in many ways. Ponderings over family genetics versus societal influences is debated by the best of the world's trained brains, but I find myself debating them in my own head.

To be written:

'Nature versus nurture,' refers

The phrase nature and nurture relates to the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature" in the sense of nativism or innatism) as compared to an individual's personal experiences ("nurture" in the sense of empiricism or behaviorism) in causing individual differences, especially in behavioral traits.

The view that humans acquire all or almost all their behavioral traits from "nurture" was termed tabula rasa ("blank slate") by John Locke in 1690. A "blank slate view" in human developmental psychology assuming that human behavioral traits develop almost exclusively from environmental influences, was widely held during much of the 20th century (sometimes termed "blank-slatism"). The debate between "blank-slate" denial of the influence of heritability, and the view admitting both environmental and heritable traits, has often been cast in terms of nature versus nurture. These two conflicting approaches to human development were at the core of an ideological dispute over research agendas during the later half of the 20th century. As both "nature" and "nurture" factors were found to contribute substantially, often in an extricable manner, such views were seen as naive or outdated by most scholars of human development by the 2000s

In their 2014 survey of scientists, many respondents wrote that the dichotomy of nature versus nurture has outlived its usefulness, and should be retired. The reason is that in many fields of research, close feedback loops have been found in which "nature" and "nurture" influence one another constantly (as in self-domestication), while in other fields, the dividing line between an inherited and an acquired trait becomes unclear (as in the field of epigenetics[7] or in fetal development

My Father was a handsome, responsible man, a veteran of the Korean war. My Mother was lovely and evidently landed on the earth forever-independent.

It was after my parents were married that my Mother taught my Father how to drive a car, which may explain why, later, as a family, when we went places, my Mother always drove. It worked out well for me. Bestest personal memories include long drives home from family get togethers, me in my Daddy's lap, falling asleep in his arms (seat belts didn't exist yet).

A European trait, could be Italian or not, may have evidenced itself in my Daddy. He often rode a bicycle. He rode a bicycle with a crate he'd affixed to it and would often pick up fresh bread and especially Sunday mornings, pastries for our family. It was a nice treat to wake up to.

When the Cardella grandparents died there was definitely Chicago Cardella money to go after and very purposely my Southern California parents chose to not pursue a dime. There was a crack in the family dynamics, that is, the heirs, my Father and his sister. Once and only once my Mother shared about this with me, that my Daddy's sister (also adopted) had raised concerns because we'd moved to California, I guess inferring that they'd seemingly abandoned my Grandparents. They had no desire to combat things in probate court.

There wasn't much talk about these issues in our suburban, cul-de-sac home. My Mother didn't talk alot; my Daddy rarely did. You lived in the house, you got along. And, okay, it worked for me. I was Joe's talented, athletic, platinum blonde haired daughter. It worked for me.

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