You’ve heard of Familiar Quotations. Here are some Familial Quotations.
James Moynihan, to his daughter on her wedding day, "Now that you’re married, you’ve got to make the best of it." Initially I found that sad, but after twelve years of marriage I see it as wise. I only want one marriage. I picked the right guy. Now let’s make the best of it. If you look at the Bean, you’ll see we’re on track.
Luisa Bertolo, to one granddaughter on her marriage, "Feed your chickens in your own yard so they don't go pecking in the neighbours yard!" She told a great-granddaughter to never let a man have all the money and to not let them drink or play cards. She told another granddaughter never to marry a drunk or a loud mouth.
Helen Kazuke, when asked how much of an ingredient to use in a dish, "enough."
Lina and Luisa Bertolo, "eat, eat!"
Luigi Bertolo, whenever we arrived at his house, "What’d you bring me?" When his brother Frank died years later, I could see him being met by Louie at the Pearly Gates with the same question.
Floyd Freamon, almost any day, but especially during an energetic game of Pass the Ace, "great gobs of rat shit!" And a favourite of one granddaughter, "bless your pea pickin' li'l heart."
Mary Freamon, "well, shit."
Gordon Burrows, after a sneeze, "God bless my pointy little head." Or when confronted by something sticky, "that sticks like shit to a woolly blanket." During a long, detailed reminiscence, "but he’s dead now."
Luisa Bertolo, "mamma mia!" and "eh, what you goin' to do?" Then there is "mannaggia!" and my personal favourite, "accidenti!" both of which are roughly the Italian equivalents of "darn it."
Vanda Moynihan, after a couple of weeks in Italy, thinking back on buying a bunch of gifts in Loreto, "Kathy, I think we got hosed on the rosaries."
James Moynihan, after I confessed to kicking a hole in the wall (aiming at my brother), "well, that’s a fine kettle of fish."
Kevin Moynihan, in response to his father’s suggestions for repairing a fan on a wonky stand, "I do NOT need a screw!"
Gordon Burrows, a man known for long stories and corny jokes: "We were so poor, my parents had to cut a hole in the front of my pants to give me something to play with." That’s a nice one to use on your son’s new girlfriend. Lucky for me, I’m not easily frightened.
Lina Bertolo, from her hospital bed, days before her death, "Kathy, I’m finished."
Gordon Burrows, as the priest finished praying over him, "Amen," which means "so be it."
And here is one final bit of advice from Ma, Luisa Bertolo: "go to church." You can start this Sunday.