“They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore” By Chris Zito

Today my mom would be a rare breed indeed. The Italian housewife. You just don’t see too many four feet tall women in housecoats anymore.

Hey, there’s one! Let’s ask her something!

Mom wasn’t really that typical for an Italian housewife. She was a brilliant woman, a chemist. And she didn’t keep plastic slip covers on the furniture or vinyl runners on the heavy traffic areas of the carpet like my Aunt Lil in Chicago.

Other women vacuumed.  Aunt Lil would just hose down her living room a few times a week.

Mom’s marriage was old-fashioned. Dad worked six days a week. Mom worked seven. Dad’s day off was Sunday and he would spend a good deal of it napping on the couch in the living room. Mom would spend that time begging my brothers and I to not wake him. I mean begging! We grew up believing my father was an extremely dangerous man to awaken! We thought maybe he was packing heat under the cushions and might sit up with guns ablazin’!

“Which one of you hombres woke up Dad?”

Dad would finally wake up on his own about 5 in the afternoon with a raging sweet tooth. He would sit up, look across the room at my mother, and say, “Honey, bake me a pie wouldja? And…she would. She would get up and bake him a pie right on the spot. I remember being 9 years old and thinking, this is gonna be great!
Times changed just a little bit.

Turns out I was born forty years too late for the FREE PIE.

Yesterday was Mom’s birthday. She would have turned eighty-four. And I would have sent flowers and called her and she would have been so happy to hear from me. She always was. She passed away over six years ago now and I always think about her on her birthday. Which really makes it just like every day.  Six years isn’t that long when you consider that my grandmother died in 1959 and my Dad still gets choked up when he talks about her. Happy Birthday, Mom. Everyone you ever loved misses you still. That is one big crowd.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito


7 Responses

  1. There are only two kinds of people in the world, Those with a mom living and those whose mother has passed.

  2. Beautiful

  3. That was just lovely – I laughed out loud thinking of all of the Italian grandmothers (and by default mothers) I have known. My father used to say he was afraid to fall asleep on the sofa when Mother was in cleaning mode for fear she would lysol him or bundle him up and give him away to Goodwill.

  4. I miss her. Thanks for the sweet memories.

  5. aw, honey, thanks—love you!

  6. Your mom is smiling that BIG smile because you wrote this, her eyes would get squinted she smiled so big.

  7. Uncle Chris…Inspiring tribute! I’m sad you didn’t have a picture of her in her housecoat to put up.

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