Transforming old-world proverbs into modern life lessons is the unique approach that Maria Iannotta has taken to inspire her readers while keeping the wisdom of her ancestors' alive. My Mamma Told Me ... Now, I'm Telling You!" is a compilation of proverbs grouped by categories in Motivation, Inspiration, Respect, Empathy, Advise, Love and Humor. Each section showcases eight Italian proverbs, with translations into English, followed by the lessons they offer and their potential applications to modern life. This conveniently sized, easy-to-read 100-page book is printed in color and contains photos from Iannotta's ancestral home in Castel San Vincenzo, Italy. It reminds us to share the wisdom of our ancestors and pass it along to future generations.
Examples of how proverbs are used in everyday life are as follows:
"A lavare la testa di un asino, non sprecare il tempo o il sapone!"
"To wash an ass's head, do not waste the time or the soap!"
Think twice before helping someone who is thick-headed and uncompromising. If you do decide to offer advice or help, understand that there is a good chance you will be wasting your time or money. According to this saying, you should cut your losses and quickly realize that spending resources to elicit change in an unwilling person is ultimately useless. However, this is usually said to someone you love, therefore you will spend the time and money to help anyway, albeit in frustration!
"La via e' lunga se voi acciaccare* tutte le pietre."
"The road is long if you want to step on all the pebbles."
Don't sweat the small stuff! Try not to focus on hurtful situations; let them go. When walking, you unconsciously avoid stepping on pebbles in the street; they are small and unimportant. However, if you choose to step on the pebbles, you will feel the impact and pain. Learn how to de-emphasize and avoid problems and save yourself the hurt!
*The proper word is schiacciare.
Acciaccare is dialect for "stepping" or "crushing."
"Mangiare e' come litigare, quando incominci non finisci piu'!."
"Eating is like arguing, when you start you can't finish!"
Just like eating potato chips, once you start arguing, it's difficult to stop. The best thing to do is to try to avoid arguments (and potato chips!) so a bad situation will not escalate. By choosing your battles, you may avoid unnecessary conflict.
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"Chi s'innamora di pelle e denti s'innamora di niente!"
"A person who falls in love with skin and teeth falls in love with nothing!"
Don't judge people based on superficial qualities. Beauty is not life sustaining; it is a momentary factor that is appealing at first sight. It's a person's internal goodness that will keep the relationship going forever.
"Chi si rilassa e' perduto."
"He who relaxes is lost."
Keep up with life! Don't let discouragement cause you to become lazy in perhaps your appearance, position, or relationships. You will have lost yourself if you succumb to the difficulties in life. Bottom line, if you must, fake it till you make it! and before you know it, it will be an authentic act as opposed to a theater performance.
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Madonna mia! QUI debbo vivere? (You mean I have to live HERE?)
Readers of this book learn about Italian and Italian American women politicians, labor activists, entertainers, radio broadcasters, musicians, food editors, community activist and many other writers whose voices are now being heard through historical times. This anthology captures the voices of our mothers and grandmothers and inspires others to think on their own experience in the United States.
Edited by Dominic Candeloro, Kathy Catrambone, and Gloria Nardini
Published by Cas Italia Chicago / Italian Cultural Center
A collection of poems, stories, and essays is written from the hearts and minds of ordinary men and women who step deeply into everyday existence. The members of Prairie Avenue Writers, a writers group in suburban Chicago, invite readers to sit back and journey along with them through the events and circumstances of life.
Published by Park Ridge Writers