For the Love of Wood/For the Love of Food

AuthorHouse Author Joanne Ferreri is the blessed daughter of Joseph and Anne DiGiovanna. She grew up in Brooklyn and was one of the first women selected to attend Brooklyn Poly, now NYU Polytechnic. She later received her MBA from the Lubin’s School of Business at PACE University; Summa Cum Laude for both degrees. She is a member of Marquis Who’s Who of American Women. After a 20 year career in corporate America with Hoffman La Roche and AT&T; she currently has her own international business with NuSkin Enterprises. In addition, she is a mentor for young adults and tutors mathematics. Joanne resides in New Jersey with her love of 35 years, her husband Jack and their two earth angels Anne and Joseph. She enjoys cooking, cycling, reading and helping others.

I was brought to the basement. If I thought the house was scary, the basement was terrifying. I single 20 watt bulb would have been a blessing. There were no lights and the rickety, slanting, wooden stairs would not have passed today’s housing inspection. There was no railing, so not to fall; you carefully felt your way along the pointy stucco wall going down the stairs. Aunt Josie, Dad and I descended the stairs and went from room to dark clammy cold room. Dad was in his glory, I’m sure he was re-living a time long ago when he played games with his sisters and brothers in these rooms. But why was I there? Dad took me to a small alcove; I can’t be sure because I couldn’t see very well. Our only light was what came in from the street through the very dirty windows that edged the basement ceiling. He wanted me to see something. He said, “You know Boobie, the mallet that Mom uses to pound veal cutlets for spadines?” “Yeah, I guess so.” I replied. “Well this is the work bench where I made it. Way before your Mom, I sanded it all by hand right here. It was the first wooden thing I made as a kid. It’s where I made the manger out of a discarded cigar box, too.” WOW, Dad brought me to the SHRINE, the place where all his lifelong projects of wood began. (For the Love of Wood) …. Christmas day came after a night of feasting on carbs and sugar. I really don’t remember how long my Mom used to cook, it was so long it became a blur, but everyone on Mom’s side came to our house, which didn’t have a dining room. The living room couch went into their bedroom and our living room was transformed into a restaurant of irregular folding tables with weak side flaps that always gave way when you leaned on them, discarded bingo tables from the Jewish Temple across the street and a kid card table. It was a big deal to graduate from the kid table to the adult table. It was sort of an Italian Bar/Bat Mitzvah when you were initiated into adulthood. The cacophony table parade extended into my parent’s bedroom and their bed served as the dessert buffet table. On Christmas, Mom made tons (no exaggeration) of cookies; my favorites were the ones from the cookie gun – butter, cream cheese, and spritz cookies. 

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