The Priceless Child Revisited

  • Viviana A. Zelizer
Chapter

Abstract

American novelist Frederic Tuten recalls scenes from his New York childhood during World War II:

She was a thin woman without much fantasy. In her dress, I mean. Black from head to toe, in the Sicilian manner. She was a Sicilian, in fact, and she was my grandmother. She spoke little, and to my humiliation — I wanted to be like the other American kids in the Bronx — in Sicilian. And then, too, we were at the tail end of the war with Italy. So that in the street and other public places I answered her in English to distance myself.

Not that my Sicilian was great. But at 8 or 9 I managed to tell her what she wanted to know about my world at school and to conduct her from butcher to grocer to order for her and to check the scales when she thought they were tipping high … I also, and more importantly, served as her translator for the American news on the radio, and for the American movies.

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Copyright information

© Viviana A. Zelizer 2005

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  • Viviana A. Zelizer

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