Category Archives: Family

Bert DiGiglia Marcello

My last living grandparent is gone. My grandmother was an amazing woman. She was always giving to others and always wanting the best for her children and grandchildren, her sisters, nieces and nephews, and cousins. Always praying for us. Worrying about us on the road, in the rain, and just in life.

She was born in 1923 in Lake Charles, Louisiana as Leboria Bertha DiGiglia, but she’s always been known as Bert. Her parents were Sam DiGiglia and Mary Tempa. Sam was born in Sicily and moved to Louisiana where he met Mary, whose parents Nicola Tempa and Brigita Margiotta were also born in Sicily. Louisiana seemed to attract many Sicilian families who had ventured to America. Once they got there, they all stayed connected and would visit each others families. When my grandmother was a young child, the story goes that she was standing on a soapbox at the kitchen counter when another family came to visit. That family had three sons with them, all a fair bit older than my grandmother, but she said then, “I’m going to marry that boy.” Years later she did.

When my grandmother was about 18, her Aunt Sarah convinced her to take a trip up to Shreveport with her. While there, she just happened to sprain her ankle right outside a doctor’s office. Thanks to Aunt Sarah, that lovely doctor came to help and fixed up my grandmother’s ankle. When she asked how they could pay him back for helping her, the good doctor simply said, “Don’t worry about it. Some day, your husband can take care of the bill.” Not long after that they were married.

She married Dr. Luke M. Marcello on June 15, 1941. They were blissfully in love. They had five children, Leo, Ann, Mary Jane, Sam and Chris. When my grandmother was 48, she lost her husband and when she was 82, she lost her eldest son. She grieved for them as everyone who knew them did, but she lost a piece of herself when her husband and son died. She always had smiles and laughs and hugs for us, and hopefully she’s doing the same with them now.

I miss her terribly already and I hope to share her legacy with the next generation. Her death has made me want to return to this quest back to my Italian heritage. To hold onto a piece of her and the family that came before us. We’ll see where it takes me.

Here’s the link to her obituary.

Doc and Bert

True Love – Doc and Bert

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Filed under Family, Family History

A very happy birthday

So yesterday, I officially turned 26.  Getting older much more quickly now and it’s kind of hard to believe that I’ve been living in LA for nearly four years now.  Just craziness, I say.

But to bring the celebration to full strength, I had most of my family in town visiting and we ate far too much and had way too much fun.  Caleb and Lea and I went to the Dodgers game on Friday and saw an exceptional game plus a nice little fireworks show.  Saturday we embraced il vino at the LA Wine Fest, and yet again, had a good time.

Sunday the parents and Michael arrived and we all enjoyed an Italian picnic (including riceballs, paninis, and wine) while seeing Andrea Bocelli at the Hollywood Bowl.

That’s the view from our seats.  Not the greatest quality photo, but trust me the view up there is spectacular.  It was an absolutely phenomenal show. Not that I’ve ever had a bad time at the Hollywood Bowl, it’s just this was exceptional.

Monday night we ate more Italian food.  Followed by fried chicken and waffles on Tuesday… not exactly on theme with the rest of the meals, but dangerously delicious.  And Wednesday being my birthday we of course ate more Italian.

Okay, here’s the place. Michelangelo’s Ristorante. Absolutely fabulous.  We started with several delicious appetizers and ended with several delicious desserts.  But in between, I had the most glorious entree.  Can you hear my mouth watering? And I haven’t even told you what I ate yet.  I ordered one of their specials for the night… Eggplant Parmesan.  But it was prepared like a lasagna.  The eggplant was thinly sliced, breaded and fried. Then layered in a baking dish with tomato sauce and mozzarella and then baked.  It was out of this world delicious.  It’s seems like it would be fun to experiment with in the kitchen. Not sure if I could match their flavors, but oh to dream.

Anyways, I had an absolutely wonderful visit with the family. Thanks mom and dad for a great birthday celebration.  Glad ya’ll were able to make it out here!

Mom and Dad

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Filed under Family, Mangiamo, Travels

La Mia Famiglia

I’m slightly delayed on this post.  But the last few weeks have brought on alot of family activities.  And being that I’m trying to claim Italian citizenship and embrace my Italian roots, and family is of the utmost importance, I must reflect for a moment.

The Italians have a saying: “A tavola non si invecchia.” Meaning, at a table with good friends and family, one does not grow old.

With all the food, family, and friends I’ve enjoyed the past month, I’m guessing I’ve done more than not grow old.  I believe I’ve actually regressed in age.  I’ll explain in a moment with a story.

The beginning of January started with welcoming a new sister to the family.  My brother Caleb and my new sister Lea were celebrated in great fashion with a massive party.  Family from all sides arrived and literally danced the night away.  I believe my mother actually shocked some of her in-laws with her dance moves.

Aunt Jane (otherwise known as mom) and Aunt Ann dance off (note, they are not twins)

From L-R: Aunt Jane (otherwise known as mom) and Aunt Ann dance off (note, they are not twins)

Quote of the night… My Uncle Desi (my dad’s youngest brother) turns to me in reference to my dancing mother, “Who is that woman? No, seriously, I’ve known her a long while and have never seen her like this.”

Apart from the joyous celebration of Caleb and Lea, I think one thing for sure was evident… our family is blessed with beautiful genes.

After an amazing time at home with family and friends over Christmas and for la festa de Caleb e Lea, I had the obligatory time back in the office before heading back to Louisiana for more festivities.  This time in New Orleans and for the wedding of my dear friends Brian and Gill.  Now I must return back to my initial Italian proverb… family and friends making you younger (basically).

On my flight from LA to NOLA, I, of course, had to go through security.  Handing the TSA lady my boarding pass, I forgot to hand her my ID.  No worries apparently, because she thought I was under 16 without government identification.  Excuse me? Huh? What? Under 16??? Really? Confused and knowing that in ten years I would be highly flattered to be assumed 10 years younger, I pin it on the family and food from the week prior.  Plus, again those Italian genes have yet to do me wrong.

Well, the Italians have another saying, “Chi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa va finire.” Meaning, no matter where you go or turn, you will always end up at home.

The wonderful thing about family is that no matter how often you talk or see each other, you can always go home again.  You can pick up right where you left it.  My peeps in New Orleans may not be part of my genetic pool, however they are family.  And an amazing family at that.  I saw friends I had not seen since we departed that fair city four years ago.  It was a homecoming.  I truly love New Orleans.  And getting to go back for a tremendous celebration for Gill and Brian and have our whole family back together for another big hoo-ra was truly amazing.

One snapshot cannot accurately portray the shenanigans that were had at this extravaganza.  So I’ll just show you the beautiful couple (photo by Jeremy Mau).

Even though we're not related, they seem to benefit from the ridiculously goodlooking genes as well!

Note: Even though we're not related, they seem to benefit from the ridiculously good looking genes as well!

Then, upon returning back home in Los Angeles, I joined another of my many families to celebrate another marriage of two friends – Bryan and Kanako.  No photos from that event, but please note they also will fall into our good gene pool. Plus I ate really delicious lasagna that night… so I’ll call that an Italian event too!

I think two more Italian quotes can finish all this off explaining much of the fun that was had at these affairs.

L’acqua fa male e il vino fa cantare.
– Water hurts and wine makes you sing.

Riempi il bicchiere quando e vuoto, vuota il bicchiere quando e pieno, non lo lasciar mai vuoto, non lo lasciar mai pieno.
– Fill your glass when it is empty, empty it when it is full, never leave it empty, never leave it full.

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Filed under Family, Learn Italian