Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday - A Cousin Claudia Christmas

funny Christmas Bob Melonosky italian cousin

In 1980, I looked forward to Christmas like a 6-year-old kid.   At Thanksgiving, I found out that my cousin Claudia and her family were coming over from the old country to stay with us for the holidays.

I had never met Claudia but I had watched her grow up and out from across the Atlantic.  Every time a relative showed up at our house with a pile of snapshots from their recent trip to Italy, I shuffled through all the old aunts and uncles for a new glimpse of Claudia.  She was gorgeous.

I actually stole a photo of her wearing a party dress at her brother Anthony's confirmation.  The photo fit perfectly under the clock radio that sat on the shelf next to my bed.

Christmas 1980 was going to be epic.  I had gotten new glasses for my birthday and my dad finally gave in and I was able to grow out my ridiculous "short regular" haircut.  I looked good, maybe not good, but certainly good enough for a simple, incredibly hot, third cousin once removed that lived in a village on the Amalfi coast. I was planning on showing her how great Christmas in New York City could be.

Claudia's English was sketchy but my entire Italian vocabulary consisted of one phrase, "Manga stugatz!"  I knew enough not to say it in front of her.

Ice skating, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral -- the magic of the city during Christmas and my new glasses were slowly wearing down Claudia's defenses.  By Christmas Eve, I was more comfortable with Claudia than any girl I had ever known.

In her thick, adorable accent she told me to meet her under the tree on Christmas Eve after everyone else had gone to sleep and she would show me how to flock.  Pretty direct, but I was game.  She said she was famous in her village for her flocking. I was shocked but still ready to be flocked.  I figured I was ready to be flocked three times.

When Claudia snuck down the stairs I was waiting for her with a glass of eggnog and a yule log in my jammies.  I got the flocking of my life. We flocked up one side of that tree and down the other. We flocked until we could flock no more.

I was flocking exhausted.

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