Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not Your Typical Italian Wedding


Growing up in an Italian family that heralded for several generations from the “Old Neighborhood”, we heard and knew of many connected people.

A middle school friend’s father had some trouble and spent close to three decades in the big house for being the finance guy to one of the top dogs in the city. In high school, a naughty yet very popular family of boys lost their father under suspicious circumstances when he was discovered in the trunk of the family’s car (They were subsequently asked to leave my Catholic school).

I’m telling you; I lived in a normal, middle class environment in the Western Suburbs. My parents had LONG since moved out of the Old Neighborhood. It was Chicago and just the way things went down at the time...Italian style.

My family also had the opportunity to attend quite a few traditional weddings. You might say they were a bit sketchy in nature or quite possibly the guest list was. The actual ceremonies and receptions were very elegant and elaborate affairs. Of course, I was a kid so I had no idea who was who. Everyone looked just like my relatives.

It was the early 70s. Only grown ups were invited to a particular wedding of a son to one of the families in the suburb I lived. We heard it would be quite a lavish affair and my parents graciously accepted an invitation to attend.

During the wedding Mass, the photographer was poised to snap the most perfect picture of the bride and groom in front of the beautiful, ornate alter. He lined up his shot precisely.

He pushed the camera’s shutter, which set off the flashbulb with a bang like thunder who’s sound caused the entire church to duck for cover. A moment later, the congregation peeked over the top edge of their pews to check things out. Everyone began laughing.

It was that kind of wedding.

thun·der noun \ˈthən-dər\

1: the sound that follows a flash of lightning and is caused by sudden expansion of the air in the path of the electrical discharge
2: a loud utterance or threat
3: bang, rumble <the thunder of big guns>


In 33 to 333 words. Trifecta Writing Challenge

32 comments:

  1. Oh how funny! I guess it wouldn't be unheard of to hear gun shots at "that type" of occasion, but never at church; or at least I hope not :)

    I went to one "those" weddings once. My cousin married into a large Italian family- NY Italians. The wedding was so elaborate it was WAY too much. When we weren't dancing it was all we were talking about at the table over cocktails and tons of food enough to feed a small nation.

    After a few adult beverages I excused myself from the table of my cousins and went to the rest room.

    When i returned I exclaimed,"the restroom is like a palace, all marble and mirrors....the lady even wiped my seat!"

    About three of my cousins spit out their beer the rest were bent over in hysterics , talk a stupid statement !Warped minds my family have, they were thinking I was saying this wedding was so elaborate they had a butt wiper in the rest room!

    What she did REALLY was wipe the toilet seat with a warm towel before I sat down.

    I'd still call that over the top wouldn't you???

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    1. I don't think they "do it" in churches but I guess people were a bit jumpy... big name father of the groom.

      Very funny but REALLY bad visual on the restroom break!!! Leave it to the guys to turn it into something else, right? I actually knew what you were talking about but have never experienced that before or even heard of such a thing. Quite possibly a NY thing?

      They can be really tacky weddings or way cool ones. Just depends on the family having them.

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  2. Wow! I just so happen to be eating popcorn at the moment. That read like a good book/movie!

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    1. Thanks, Kenya! Wish I had some popcorn now. All of a sudden I have a taste for some!

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  3. Wow! What a story, better than fiction. :-) That Movie of the '70s comes to mind, of course. :-)

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    1. Crazy! Those '70s were nuts and, in Chicago, stuff happened.

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  4. Nicely done - Terrific family story.

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! Always assured a good meal!

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  5. Great story! Excellent visuals, and great take on the prompt! I really enjoyed reading this story, it was so funny and entertaining. I loved it! :D

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    1. Thanks SO much, Scriptor! I'm thrilled!

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  6. Replies
    1. I'm not, at all, good with fiction so I'm afraid it's true.

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  7. That's too funny -- what a different backdrop for a wedding than the ones I've been to! Very much enjoyed reading that.

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    1. Haven't been to one like that in a very long time. Times have changed and everything is a bit more subtle now. Thanks for enjoying!

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  8. funny that you use the expression 'the old neighborhood.' my dad taught me that one. he grew up in the west side of chicago, before white flight. you couldn't grow up back then without knowing someone who was connected. it was a part of life, not mine, but his. my grandfather laid down the law about not hanging out with certain families while everyone was living in the crowded tenements. it was like that, he told me. great wedding story:)

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    1. "White flight" is how we ended up in Elmhurst. Everyone was moving to the western suburbs back then...I mean the Italians. I grew up with my great aunts (grandmother's sisters) living on either side of me. Talk about not be able to get away with anything!!!

      I asked my dad once about it and he said back then, you had to make a conscious decision and make it clear that it wasn't for you and you weren't partaking. However, on occasion, you had to attend a wedding or two of someone you knew. Strange times, I'm sure.

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  9. My, your true stories are better than fiction. I cracked up at how everyone ducked for cover when the camera clicked. I could just imagine that scene!

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    1. If you live long enough, there are plenty of stories! Just you wait! Plus, it helps to live or be involved with wacky people! Do I attract them or seek them out? Possibly.

      Story told to me by my parents.

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  10. Those are the moments that make a wedding. Who wants a perfect, boring ceremony when you can have some exciting heart palpitations?
    Thanks for participating. Come back for the weekend prompt.

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    1. Perfect is overrated. I'll take exciting any day of the week.

      Life changes tomorrow so I hope there's time to write!

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  11. I loved reading the background - it really set the story up well.

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    1. Thanks, Amanda! BTW, love your name/my daughter's too.

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  12. The Gal Herself has left a new comment on your post "Not Your Typical Italian Wedding":

    Sam Giancana lived in one of those nice, normal Western Suburbs, Forest Park. Things are not always as they seem beyond those nice, manicured lawns and garage doors with basketball hoops, are they?

    Which is my way of saying, LOVED IT!

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    1. For whatever reason Gal's comment didn't get posted here but I wanted to include it because of the information she provided.

      Yes, the infamous and awful Sam Giancana lived in Forest Park. He also had blocks and blocks of underground tunnels in the neighborhood as escape routes. River Forest, another gorgeous town was quite the same. You would never know who lived in the grand houses or what went on behind those doors.

      I grew up a little west of there still. Thanks Gal!

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    2. Oooooh! The tunnels!!! Although I'm sure the reality was far more gruesome, my childhood was spent imagining the full-on-awesomeness of underground tunnels and houses.

      Great story. I love the Italian weddings I have attended for the drama ... even non-connected Vancouver families seem to make things more exciting than the average mongrel family like my own.

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    3. Karen,
      Who doesn't love the mysteriousness of tunnels and secret hiding spots. However, these guys did unspeakable things, truly terrible.

      The weddings are really fun. Food always amazing as is the music. LOTS of dancing!

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  13. Haha, I can remember those flashes that used to sound like a gun went off, and blinded the person who was having their picture taken. Fun.

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    1. It sounded like a "pop", kinda like a.... but that's what I remember. Thanks!

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  14. Oh my GOD that's hilarious! That is absolutely hilarious. What a memory. I loved the buildup. I wasn't sure until that moment of laughter if anybody was really going to get shot or not.

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    1. I would hope even the "sketchys" would refrain from that sort of thing during Mass. Actually, I'm sure they would as they were very much church goers as crazy as that is. I'm so happy you got a kick out of it!!!!

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  15. What a great moment! Thanks for sharing. :)

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