Guest Op-Ed: Celebrating Italian-American Heritage Month

By Mayor Carlo DeMaria

 My parents are first-generation Italian- Americans. My mother Rosa came to this country in 1966 from the Province of Avellino with her father and brother for a better life, although as my mother would tell you, their life was pretty good already back in Italy. My grandfather’s brother convinced them to come here so they wouldn’t have to work so hard on the farm, however farming and gardening remain a passion of my mother to this day.

Later, the rest of the family joined them. In 1968 my mother returned to Italy to marry my father and bring him back to the states with her. He was a “carabaneri” or an Italian police officer and they had been engaged before she left. They’ve lived in Everett now for almost 50 years. 

Growing up, family always came first, and it still does today. We celebrate our Italian heritage in everything we do, from big family get togethers to holiday gatherings and church on Sundays.  And then of course, there’s the food!  The homemade prosciutto and Soppressata, homemade ricotta and even homemade wine.  There’s the sauce made from tomatoes grown lovingly in my mother’s garden, the pizza dinners at Easter, and the fish at Christmas.

My brother and I both began working at a young age, my first job being a paper boy at age seven at the Whidden hospital where I went up and down hospital hill.  My work ethic is something instilled in me by parents, both of whom worked hard for our family to give us the best life possible. My mother worked for a wedding gown designer and my father worked in construction and still does masonry work today.

Honoring my Italian roots and passing down traditions to my children is something very special to me.  I am extremely proud of my Italian heritage and always remember the sacrifices my parents made to come here and give us the beautiful life we enjoy today. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Italian-American Heritage month this October.

Carlo DeMaria is the Mayor of Everett.

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