Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Ooh, turn it off."
"What? Martha Stewart?"
"Yes. I can't STAND her. The monotone voice. The deadpan face. Turn it! Turn it!"

So went the conversation between my aunt and my sister in a dimly-lit, badly-decorated waiting room at Akron City Hospital. It was yet another major operation for my mother--the third or fourth in less than ten years. I don't mean to deceive you. The setting of this seemingly benign banter has minimal relevance to this blog.

But the content is the very essence.

My sister and I though it cute that Isabel, the family's cherriest member, the one who tries to smooth over all disputes, the peacemaker, the one most likely to not say shit if she had a mouthful, would have such an aversion to Martha Stewart.

Isabel, along with her sisters, Adeline, Angie and Mary (my mother), could have been discovered at a soda shop had they been raised in California or New York instead of Akron, Ohio. Teenagers in the forties and fifties, these babes were hot! All four had striking dark hair, dancer legs, fair porcelain skin, Sophie Loren breasts and petite waists. And not one ever made it an inch above five feet tall. Think Gina Lolobrigida, Connie Francis, Anna Magnano....that fifties' earthy, sensual, passionate look that put the pop-culture spotlight on Italian women.

All four sisters had this magnetism but none really knew it or at least would admit to knowing their prowess. Ok, maybe Isabel. She had to know that her shoes, (sometimes with ankle straps, sometimes an open-toed slide, always, always with at least a four inch styletto heel) shot a few arrows into men's hearts (not to mention what they made happen in their pants.)

After a few years of chuckling over that innocuous conversation in the Akron City Hospital waiting room, one day it dawned on me. This is the reason Isabel hated her. This is why you either like Rachel Rae OR Martha Stewart, not both. Martha Stewart is the very opposite of everything I consider Italian. Martha Stewart is the Anti-Italian.

This blog is dedicated to everyone who grew up on red sauce, not white. Enjoy!