Watching My Father Get His Citizenship Taught Me What It Means to Be an American

Dec 05, 2019 987

BY: Leo Buscaglia

As I entered junior high, Papa and Mama, whom I had loved without question, suddenly became an embarrass­ment. Why couldn’t they be like other parents? Why didn’t they speak without accents?

Why couldn’t I take peanut­ butter ­and­ jelly sandwiches in my school lunches, rather than calamari? (Yuck, the other kids said, he eats squid legs!) There seemed no escape from the painful stigma I felt in being Italian, the son of Tulio and Rosa. “Buscaglia”—even my name became a source of distress.


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