Gina Geiss

Gina Geiss (DeAngelis) grew up on the Far South Side of Chicago, better known as the “East Side.” She currently lives in Schererville, Indiana, with her husband of 24 years, Dennis. They both enjoy traveling. Gina had a 32-year career as a production scheduler, and is now self-employed doing grooming services for handicap/homebound individuals. She’s an ace in the kitchen, and cooking for family and friends is a passion. There’s always room at the dinner table. In 2020, Gina became president of the Italian American Womens Club of Lake County, where Italian history and heritage are honored and passed down to future generations.

My mother’s stove

My parents, Cataldo and Santa DeAngelis, emigrated from the small town of Castro dei Volsci in Central Italy. My father came in 1953 with two suitcases: one carrying a few belongings and the other his prized possession, a Scandalli accordion. My mother followed in 1954 with a suitcase in one hand and my 7-year-old brother in the other. They nestled first in Detroit. Possessing little more than the dream of starting a better life in America, they made do with hand-me-down furniture and appliances — hence their Universal brand stove. This heavy-duty white porcelain beauty was the center of our …

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Fruit of the gods

When I chat with a new friend or someone I just met and mention my fig trees, they almost immediately shake their heads and ask, “Did you just say fig trees?” Living in the Midwest as I do, it comes as a surprise to most people that we raise figs. And believe me, keeping these beauties alive in this region is truly a labor of love. I have vivid memories of the 22 fig trees my father kept when I was a kid growing up in Chicago. We all know the size of a city lot, but my parents owned …

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