Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School Days

Over the summer, my mom gave me many old pictures of her, and I noticed that the official school pictures had "School Days" (followed by the school year) printed a the bottom.

Like:  Rosemary Leonetti
         School Days 1954-1955

They don't do that any more...for whatever reason.

We've made it a tradition at our house to take first day of school pics every year!  This is the 8th school year that I've sent the kids on their merry way for first day of school excitement.

This year is Mariah's "last first day of high school."  Seriously?  I can hardly believe it.

Here are those "school days" smiles for 2011-2012.  It's going to be one heck of a year! 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


In the urban dictionary, it says the following about the word "sumbitch": 
Lazy redneck slang for son of a bitch. Rednecks are just to lazy to say the entire phrase, "son of a bitch".
Practical application: "Hey Pa, thar a goes that thar sumbitch! Lets go git heem, Jr.!"
My mother told me two stories about the word "sumbitch" that was just too good not to share.  Let me set the scene for you....early 1950s, central mom is living with her Uncle Frank who was born in Italy and emigrated to America.  Mom said that the word "sumbitch" was used frequently in the house.  While Uncle Frank probably didn't qualify as a redneck, he probably slurred "son-of-a-bitch" together to produce the word "sumbitch."  
My mom was in Kindergarten, and she had been given 50 cents with which to buy candy.  She chose to buy a heaping bag of black jelly beans:  her favorite. Of course, she took the overflowing bag with her to school so that she could enjoy the delicacy all day long.  Back then (and even when I was in elementary),  the desks had "lids" that opened.  They looked like some variant of the picture on the left.  You were supposed to store your books and supplies in your desk.  Well, my mom put her bag strategically inside of the bowels of the desk so that she could ever so slightly lift the lid and sneak out those black jelly beans.  She planned a day of indulgence.  Of course, the teacher caught her sneaking her jelly beans, so she took the bag which my mother said to her Kindergarten teacher, "You sumbitch!"  
The teacher did not think too much of this, so she took my mother out of the classroom and proceed to smack her little hand with the ruler.  Yes, back in the day, teachers could smack and spank kids.  It was quite common.  I remember my Kindergarten teacher going after a kid with a ruler.  He deserved it, too. 
As mom was being smacked, she kept saying, "You sumbitch!  You sumbitch!  You sumbitch!"  My guess is that she knew it was a bad word but she probably didn't know what it meant.  
In frustration, the teacher sent her home.  (I know...sounds weird, but she did.)  Then she followed her home...I'm sure to make sure she got there OK and also to inform the family what my mother had done.  When she got home, mom turned to her one last time and said, "You sumbitch!"  

Oh my goodness, that story makes me laugh and laugh and laugh!  You've got to hear my mom tell it to get the full effect.

The second story also has to do with the famous Leonetti and Gazza expletive.  

A neighbor of my mother's named Edna promised mom that she would give her a bag of candy if she "stopped saying that bad word."  Again, I doubt that my mom knew that the word was bad or what it meant.  She, of course, agreed.  The next day when Edna came home from work, she kept her promise and brought the young Rosemary a bag of candy.

My mom opened the bag, took a gander inside and said, "You sumbitch, I don't like that kind!"

Bawahhhahahhhhaaa!  I couldn't stop laughing when she told me that story. 

Out of the mouth of babes, eh?

On a side note, I remember Edna.  She was an eccentric old woman by the time I was a little girl.  She loved dolls and had a house full of them.  She gave me one once.  It was a gypsy doll.  I can't think of anything more appropriate because Edna reminded me of an old, Bohemian lady.  I know that the neighbors really tried to help Uncle Frank and Aunt Mary with my mom.  Edna tried to be a positive adult figure in my mom's life when she was really young.  Aunt Mary was sick and couldn't always be the kind of mom that a little girl needed. 

I remember when Edna died.  Hers was the first funeral I ever attended.  It freaked me out.  I don't think I attended a funeral after that until I was on my mission.  And I attended a lot of them on my mission.  We were at dinner tonight (my mom, my sister and me), and my sister also remembers Edna's funeral.  It was an event that neither of us have ever forgotten.  

And for the long as we're sharing family stories.  Julie....I still think you stole my Billy Joel Glass Houses Album.  You won't convince me otherwise.  :-p