I grew up in a family of loud Italian Americans. They drank, they ate plentiful amounts of pasta and cured meats, they went to mass, they gambled. During nightly gatherings at my grandparents’ house, I absorbed the sights and sounds of this beautiful and boisterous crew. There was my grandpa’s usual dinner-party balancing act, grabbing any remaining post-meal items from the table, and then building his own Leaning Tower of Pisa – my grandma, her siblings, and their spouses whistling him on with great delight. For this particular show, from bottom to top: salt-and-pepper shakers, a porcelain sugar packet holder, an empty Michelob bottle, a dinner roll, all topped by one last salt shaker. Exuberant, headstrong, and robust, my older relatives made my childhood rich and colorful. I was dazzled by them. I remember nothing but good times while being raised by this village.
Styling: Michelle Maguire
Photography: Kelsey McClellan
My grandpa, grandma, and great-aunt Doll, February 1980, Canton, Ohio.