A place for Quattrones, Betteridges, and Praticos to share our family stories, history, and heritage.
She was a 5’5″ lanky brunette beauty with a hint of a Massachusetts accent, as in “where’s the cah (car) ?” She lost most of that accent growing up in the streets of South Philly, but their was no mistaking her squeaky, high pitched voice. She was one of those souls that neighbors liked to linger with as she listened to their troubles. “Buck Up”, she might say emphatically to that neighbor, that family member, or me ,then move off her grey concrete steps on Jackson Street ,and back into the house with her daily refrain, “I’ve got to get perkin'”.
My Mother (LuLu) was a lady of grace and charm .Spending time with her was like being at a family picnic on a sunny June day. Leonarda Marie Manuppelli and her family left Fall River, an old dying mill town in the ’20s to find work in South Philly. There my Mom dazzled my Dad (Nuncie) the first time she met him. Threw a baseball over his head at 12th & Porter Streets. “What an arm !”, my Father said ,as he told the bedtime story of love at first sight to Melissa and Lauren when they were children.
Although she didn’t finish high school, she was immersed in the 1950s belief in the American dream for her children. Sometimes, I felt we lived in a TV sitcom. She acted like Donna Reed, a WASPY Mom TV character from the Donna Reed show. She raised us to reach for the stars. Forget that she resided in a 14 foot row home on modest Jackson Street. We were always nattily dressed on Easter Sunday .She took me every year to get a suit from the Arrow Store on Market Street, then we walked down to Lit Brothers or Wanamakers to get Barbara a dress. Meat came not from the A&P , but from Walt the German butcher across the street. In 1957 Cold War America, we were shocked to wake up one day to learn that the Russians put a satellite, or “Sputnik” in the sky. I was definitely going on to college ,my Mom told me, to be an engineer. Yet we were all proud of our Italian roots , My Mom was Fu-john (Foggia),and my Dad was “Calabrese”.
She passed away at 61 in 1976,around the same time as Aunt Jean. Way too young. She did get to see me graduate college, danced at my wedding, and held baby Melissa in her arms. Family was everything to my parents, as it is now to Mary & I.We see the same great Quattrone- Manuppelli values with Melissa and Lauren, as they raise our five grandchildren.
Life has its ups and downs for all of us. When I don’t feel like getting out of bed, I remember my Mom. I tell myself to “Buck Up”. Thanks, Mom.