From the Sky - Part XVIII

The family very nearly came apart at that decision. After all, the bakery was the center of everyone's life when my Dad and his sisters were growing up. They all worked there. My aunts lived in separate rooms on the second floor, sharing one common kitchen, a living room and two bathrooms. They'd moved out of Grandfather's house, one by one, on their eighteenth birthdays to take up residence above the bakery. They wanted independence. The Tarentella brothers offered the second floor as a solution, and never set foot upstairs unless invited. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement: my aunts had their privacy, and the Tarentella brothers, who lived a few blocks away in their modest Sears houses, had someone to keep an eye on things around the clock. When Uncle Gio sold the business, he sold the entire building, not just the bakery. The new owners didn't want tenants, so my aunts had to uproot. I don't think they ever forgave Gio for that.

Grandfather Ernesto willed his house to my dad, something which oddly enough, to me at least, never seemed to bother my aunts. It was expected; it was the way things were done. My aunts got very nice chunks of money from the sale of the bakery. Uncle Gio got a very good price for the building and he split the money fairly. Zia and Sal rented apartments. Aunt Rae moved into my grandfather's house until Dad turned eighteen. She moved out the day after his birthday and into a small house she bought on Wyalusing Avenue. She still lives there. Sal and Zia also eventually bought homes. But the family was drifting apart. There was no longer a hub on the great family wheel and the spokes were flying off. Gio stayed in exile. Zia took trips to Europe. Sal considered moving to New York City. Aunt Rae simply kept to herself. The family soup was evaporating. But then came Darla, and then came me. Our odd little family wheel once more had a hub at its center.

Tears of Joy/Tears of Sorrow...


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