Archive for September, 2009

Turn the car around, Dominic!

Friday, September 4th, 2009

“We spend the first twelve months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.” ~ Phyllis Diller 

Mom loved the drama!

One of the things I most looked forward to (and some days despised at the same time) were our weekend family day trips.  Looking back,  it seemed that we all – mom, dad, me and my cousin Tracy – were always jumping in the car to hit the best the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas had to offer:  Turtleback Zoo, Space Farms, Roadside America (a vast indoor miniature village), Bertran’s Island Amusement Park (home of the most rickety old wooden roller coaster in the USA),  The Land of Make Believe, Gingerbread Castle, The Snake & Reptile Farm, Jockey Hollow, Jenny Jump Mountain, Jockey Hollow (a “George” Washington slept here type of park) or some other family type destination.  Places where the many happy normal families ventured to on the weekends, but being Romano’s, we just didn’t “do” normal.

Bertrand's Island

You may be thinking, why would a little girl despise all of these fun family places?  Mom’s in the passenger seat. Driving to and from these events would be a total crap shoot. Would we go in? Would we turn around with me and my cousin Tracy in tears? Would mom throw something out the window? OK, let me explain, here’s a typical scenario:  We leave the house with such anticipation of a family fun day ahead. Tracy and I are goofing around all happy and giggly in the back seat (unbuckled of course, as nobody buckled up in those days – we are all ready to be launched out of the car like a cold war nuclear bomb).  Tracy and I would often play what we called “Cousin It”, which meant I’d flip my long hair over my face,  put sunglasses on over my now hairy cousin it face, and wave my arms like a child maniac to the cars behind us.  Our goal was to get the driver or passengers to wave back, offer up a peace sign or simply a smile.  Tracy and I made it fun to ride in the car back then, but that was usually only on the way there. 

(Italian Lesson: Crazy = Pazzo (a) / it was a crazy idea = era un’ idea folle 

When we arrived at our destination brimming with excitement there was still one caveat, and our day’s fate was up to  the tar – otherwise known as the parking lot.  Yup, the freaking parking lot was our “fortune teller”.  If the lot was too crowded, mom would say “Dom, let’s get out of here, this place is too crowded!”.  If the parking lot was empty, mom would say “Dom, nobody is here, let’s turn around and go home!”.  If Dad put up an argument or disagreed – DRAMA TIME!  Mom would take control of the situation her way, which meant throwing something…ANYTHING out of the car window.  I’m not talking about a paper cup or trash, but I’m talking her wallet, her shoe or shoes (as if one wasn’t enough), shit –  sometimes her whole handbag would go flying out the window if mom was feeling extra dramatic that day!  This antic of hers “forced” my poor dad to turn the car around, get out and get her fucking shoe, wallet, purse, whatever it was, and proceed to head home defeated and speechless.  After screaming “Nooooooooooo Dad!” and “Come on, Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!” begging mom to stay, the car would soon be heading back to Dover, and Tracy and I would then begin making the nastiest faces at mom and shooting her a violent finger (with both hands!)  behind her back (from the back seat, she couldn’t see us of course).  Sometimes, we’d first break down in tears at the thought of our totally ruined day – that just sucked. One thing you could count on was that mom would get the finger whenever she turned her back to us for the remainder of THAT day!

Luckily, even with all of the turning around of the car, crying, kicking and screaming, our nutty little family still managed to see so many places over the years.  And yes, we usually had a really good time  – I have plenty of photos to prove it…REALLY!

Mom gets the Jersey Bird!

Mom gets the Jersey Bird!

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