Tag Archives: Gina Geiss

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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