The Fourth of July just passed, and as my husband and I stood watching fireworks with a couple of friends, I got to thinking a bit too heavily about what it means to be an American.
No, I wasn’t drunk. Nor had I ingested any sort of chemical that would cause me to wax poetic over my own cultural identity. But when you’re surrounded by folks who’s grandparents or parents or great-grandparents hail from vastly different places, it’s a strange and interesting thing to think that we all fit under the same big star-spangled umbrella. It’s a warm and happy thought, actually (provided you don’t think about the plight of Native Americans. Then, the warm and happy feeling dissipates pretty quickly and wonder if heading to the casino will assuage your guilt. It won’t).
My thoughts were made more complex when I asked my husband why he considered me “Italian.” For the record, I don’t, nor have I ever, described myself this way. I generally say, “My family’s Italian” (when I’m not saying, simply, “My family’s nuts.”) But I describe myself as an American. I was born here. I grew up here. And yet Rand will, on ocassion, say, “My wife is Italian.” (more…)