Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Chapter 55

March twentieth, the day of Amadeo's first party, was a success.  The family had spent the week prior to it clearing space in the basement and buying children's 'bouncy' balls which they planned to bestow on the the triplets and the little ones in the neighborhood, once they were done with them, and threw them down into the 'play area'. 


Comfortable chairs and a couch or two had been set up around an old coffee table so that the kids would have places to sit and relax while they snacked and drank Coca Cola.


The kids had worn themselves out kicking the balls all over the room, ducking and laughing as they narrowly avoided, or didn't move fast enough, to prevent themselves from being conked on the head with mad balls bouncing off of walls and ceiling. Mr. Rossi had thoughtfully covered the windows with boards to avoid accidents.


Ethel, having admitted that she would feel strange being the only girl in a party full of boys had been happy to find that Amadeo had also invited several girls from school, including Sharon. 


Whatever her problems socializing at her own school, she had none with the girls from 'Deo's school and she was soon one of the group of giggling, laughing girls who had taken residence in the much quieter and genteel living room.


Beth Ann and Dante had gotten their days mixed up and had come on the twentieth.  Beth Ann blushed bright red and apologized over and over while Dante smirked, 'I told you so.' written all over his face until his mother gave him a swat across the backside, turning the smirk into a scowl.


"Don't worry, sweetie, we love to see you any time, so we get to see you twice this week instead of once.  What's so bad about that?"  Natie had said with a smile for her daughter in law and a stern look for her oldest son.


The girls, seeing the triplets, converged on them, ooohing and aahhhing and tickling, causing the babies to giggle and wiggle, which the girls all thought was the cutest thing they'd ever seen.  Beth Ann and Dante were actually able to sit at the kitchen table and have coffee, as they had more than enough willing baby sitters.


The babies, who had reached the stage of pulling themselves up into a standing position, never had a chance of hitting the floor when their little legs gave out since there were eleven pairs of hands ready and willing to catch them if they started to fall.  The little ones were perfectly happy sitting on the floor or on the laps of the teenagers. 


Nathan however, seemed to have explorer blood in his veins and first started by crawling all over the floor, occasionally bumping into things and bouncing right back until one of the girls began to follow him around and use her hand as a bumper shield so he didn't keep hitting his head.


They were amazed by the little boy, who not only pulled himself up into a standing position but also managed to pull himself onto the couch, and then once again into a standing position by pulling himself up again with the help of willing girls.  The girls thought it was such a great stunt that they immediately began to try to teach the girls how to do it.


A couple of the girls decided to have baby races and put toys on the opposite side of the room for the girls to race to.  They crawled rapidly, their little bottoms swaying back and forth causing the teens to laugh, and cheer as one or the other of the girls would reach their toy first. 


The babies would test the toy out, feeling it, looking at it, and tasting it before crawling back over to present it to their brother, who while growing at an admirable rate, was still a little smaller than they were. 


He would put the toy through the same tests, put it down, give his sisters a wide, wet kiss and continue with his exploring.




Amadeo came up from the basement and went into the kitchen to get more drinks, kissing Beth Ann heartily on the cheek and clapping his older brother on the shoulder in greeting.


"Get over here, brat!"  Dante bellowed, pulling 'Deo into a hug and then tugging him over his knee.


"Daaaaannnnnnnnn!"  'Deo protested, trying to twist away


"One!  Two!  Three!  Oh now wait, where was I?  Oh yeah, one!  Two!  Three!  Four!"


"Le'go you big ape!"  'Deo complained, kicking his legs and trying to pull himself off of his brother's lap.


"Oh now look what you did!  I lost count!  I'll have to start again!"


"Don't you dare!"  Deo said, slapping at his brother's legs, half laughing, half exasperated, and very worried that his friends were going to hear his brother's booming voice and walk in and see him getting birthday spanks, because sure as the sun rose his friends would want to get in on the action.


"Put that child down before I get the spoon."  His mother said with a smile that did not bode well for Dante's backside.


"I was just having some fun with him, mamma."  Dante grumbled, setting his little brother, who had gotten more than the seventeen and one to grow on than the occasion called for.


"Forget the spoon, mamma, get the ore from the canoe for his birthday."   Amadeo groused, rubbing his backside.


"That can be arranged."  Natie said with a grin.  "Did you boys need anything?  And aren't you missing something?"


"Missing something?  Like what?"  'Deo asked, confused.


"The girls?!  They're all in the living room having their own party with the babies."


"Oh!  The babies!  I gotta go see them!"  Amadeo said, rushing out to see his nieces and nephew, the fact that half of his party wasn't in the basement with him eluding him.


Mara and Olivia both saw 'Deo and yelled "Unday!"  Nathan stopped his explorations to look around to ask, "Day?"


Amadeo went to each little girl and gave them hugs and 'a hundred' kisses ending with a zerbert on their necks, which the girls, teen and infant, loved.  'Deo then went to his nephew who had apparently been waiting patiently for his turn.


'Deo announced himself to Nathan before picking him up, waiting for Nathan to put his arms up to indicate that he wanted to be picked up.  He was delighted when the little arms came up, accompanied by the wide smile with the few pearly white teeth peeping between little pink lips.


Amadeo picked the child up and hugged and snuggled, talking the whole time, holding the child close to that he could see his uncle's face better.  The doctor had said that while Nathan had sight it was still very limited and that things had to be held close to him for him to see them clearly enough to make out what they were.


"What do you say, munchkins?" 'Deo asked his nieces and nephew, "Want to sing to these lovely ladies and show off our incredible talent?"  he asked  "Sing?"


"'Ing!" the babies replied.


"All right then my lovelies, what are we going to sing?"  he asked, sitting down on the couch between Melissa Marcone and Ethel, settling Nathan on his lap.


"I know!"  he said,  "Here we go all right?"


"My old hen's a good old hen"  he sang slowly. 


The babies sang "Hen!"


"She lay eggs for railroad men,"  he sang. 


He paused while the babies sang "Men!"


"Sometimes eight, sometimes ten." 


"Then!" the babies echoed.


"She lay eggs for railroad men." 


"Men!" the babies sang.


"Oh, that's so cute!  Do it again!"  Michelle Warner cried happily.


"Cluck old hen, cluck and squall,  ain't laid an egg since late last fall." 


"Waasfaw!" sang the babies.


"Cluck old hen, cluck and sing,  ain't laid an egg since late last spring." 


"Ping!" sang the babies.


"Oh how cute!"  said some of the girls quietly so as not to disturb the singers.


"My old hen she's a good old hen," he sang. 


"Hen!" said the babies again.


"She lay eggs for railroad men."  Something that sounded like 'waywoemen' came from the babies which had the girls marveling.


"Sometimes one, sometimes two, she lays eggs for whole dang crew." 


"Dancoo." sang the babies.


"What are you teaching these poor little babies!" Ethel protested with a smile.


"Hush!" 'Deo smiled back, before continuing the song


"Cluck old hen cluck and squall, ain't laid an egg since late last fall." 


"Waasfaw."


"Cluck old hen cluck and sing.  Ain't laid an egg since late last spring." 


"Wassing!"


The girls all applauded.  The babies grinned, giggled and clapped.  The adults in the doorway between the kitchen and living room smiled and clapped as well.  The boys, who had come up in search of their missing colas and friend stood by, grinning.


"That sounded wonderful!"  Beth Ann said, happily, a stray tear rolling down her cheek.  She never sang herself, but she had the radio playing all the time at the house, though the babies never seemed inclined to sing to it, they did 'chair dance' and wave their arms about.  They did love to sing with their uncle Amadeo.


"That hen sounded like Sunday dinner." Jim quipped, as that was his father's usual response to hens that stopped laying.


"Well, we hate to call a halt to the fun here, but the kids have got to go down for their naps so we're just gonna head home." Dante said to the moans and groans of the girls who all quickly offered babysitting services if they were ever needed and who kissed and snuggled the babies, who reveled in the attention but couldn't help the stray yawn.


Even the boys chucked the babies under their chins and tickled their bellies, causing the infants to giggle and yawn again.


Mr. and Mrs. Rossi helped Dante and Beth get all of their things into the station wagon.  Three of the girls, including Ethel, offered to hold the babies for the ride home, which was only a twenty minute drive, otherwise Beth Ann would have had to juggle the two girls who were growing at an amazing rate, on her lap,  and Nathan would have been perched on Dante's lap, causing the drive to turn into a thirty five minute trip instead.


Beth Ann promised to deliver the teens back within the hour after getting the babies down for their naps.  The girls who were left behind waved and smiled and grumbled under their breath that they hadn't been the ones chosen to hold the babies for the ride home, then went back in, determined to rejoin the boys and tell the three lucky girls about all the fun they'd missed while they'd been gone.





As expected, some of the girls and most of the boys arrived the following weekend for the family celebration, again offering to baby sit the little ones which now included the five year old twins, Kevin and Keith; Giovana and Daniel's children, Michael; Rene and Alejandro's three year old, and three month old Holly Joy Rossi, who had decided to be born on December 26th instead of waiting for January 12th, which had been her due date.


Her husband Alejandro still insisted that the little girl would have waited patiently until January 12th when she was due if it hadn't been for all of the pepperoni her mother had eaten the day before.   Rene, whose real name was Santa but who preferred to go by a version of her middle name, Renata, proudly and patiently allowed people to caress the little baby bump which held their third, while everyone took turns holding three month old Holly.


Giovana, Amadeo's oldest sister, insisted that everyone please call her Gia.  Her husband Daniel seemed happy with Danny so it was easy to distinguish between him and Dante.


The older twins had at first avoided the three new little intruders but were soon won over by the sweet little triplets. 


Little Michael sat by and thought to himself that it had taken his 'big cousins' long enough, before going back to his game of peek a boo with Mara.


The adults sat in the living room, watching the children while the teenagers once again took up residence in the basement, which had been cleaned of bouncy balls, watching reel to reel home movies, laughing at the little Rossi's as they scampered and capered across the screen.


Amadeo had put on a record which, while not in sync with the movie was in the right spirit, the Beach Boys playing, 'I Get Around'.  The teens laughed at various Rossi children skipping and tripping, swimming and sinking, they especially loved the video of a little Amadeo, apparently trying to sit on a ball in a pool of water and being astounded when it would pop back up to the surface. 


He did that for quite a while before his father gave him a new toy to play with at which time little 'Deo had had a tantrum until the ball was returned, after which, he once again tried to sink ball only to watch it pop up, with a combined look of confusion, wonder and irritation.


That clip was followed by a girl that 'Deo insisted was Gia swinging up as high as she could get before she let go of the chains and 'flew' toward the camera.


Another reel consisted of the results of Carmie and Terri getting into their mother's make up and making each other look 'beautiful', piled under thick layers of make up and wearing the most outlandish collection of clothing.


Another featured what looked like a five year old Amadeo wrestling down Con who, despite being older and all of his twisting and kicking and, though the film was silent, yelling, could not get out of 'Deo's grasp.  The event was abruptly brought to a halt when Mrs. Rossi came in, picked up 'Deo, smacked his behind, picked up Con, did the same to him, and then took a hold of whoever was running the camera to apparently give him or her a dose of the same before the camera was shut off.


"Oh, come on, that can't be it!"  protested Milo, laughing.


"Nah, that's just the end of this reel."  'Deo replied, smiling.


"Ladies and Gents!" came the klaxon, also known as the voice of Rene, "Lunch!"  Raucous laughter and loud voices could be heard behind her.


"Let's see if we can sneak back down here with our food,"  'Deo said, "With all that noise we'll never get a word in."  he laughed.


The noise level rose abruptly as soon as they were upstairs.  Johnny Rossi was, as always, the life of the party, telling jokes and anecdotes which had his guests roaring with laughter.


Felix said something.


"What?!" shouted 'Deo to be heard over the din.


"I said your dad is a hoot!  Mine just sits there!"  he shouted back.


Amadeo went over to his mother and leaned down to talk to her, but everyone could tell that he had to raise his voice to be heard.   She shook her head and pointed to the floor.  Amadeo looked petulant for a moment until she said something else at which his face brightened up.


"We're gonna do lunch, then cake, then presents."  'Deo told his friends.  "I have to stay up here and talk to the guests since it's my party."


"And I'll cry if I want to."  Milo sang.


"Speaking of crying, when're the birthday whacks?  We didn't get to do them last time."  Jim said, grinning.


"You didn't and no one does!"  Amadeo protested, grinning.


"We can if we can catch you!"  Milo threatened.


"Ah, ah, ah!  Etiquette now, gentlemen.  Etiquette.  Can't be caught running around the house like sixteen years olds now, can we?  Maturity and decorum, at all times."


"That's for eighteen years old.  Get 'im guys!"  Jim yelled as they gave chase.




**********************************************************
NOTES

Eighth Month Baby Milestones: Web MD

When safety seats hit the market in the mid-1960s, they bombed. The only people who bought them were a strict minority of only the most safety-conscious parents. The problem was that people just didn’t know enough about them, and it seemed like a useless expense.  (Wikipedia)


Amadeo's Family:

PARENTS:

Gianbattista/Johnny/Pazzo - February 29, 1904  (Pazzo - Crazy)
Fortunata/Natie (Panettiere) Rossi  - May 22, 1908  (Natie - Nay-tee)
Married May 21, 1926

CHILDREN


Name       : Giovana (Gia, Gigi, Vani) Michele Rossi Campbell   
Birthdate  : February 19,1930   
Husband  : Daniel
Children   : Keith and Kevin

Name:      : Santa (Rene) Renata Rossi Martinez                       
Birthdate  : June 3, 1932
Husband  : Alejandro
Children   : Michael and ?

Name       : Dante (Dan, Seb) Sebastiano Rossi                        
Birth date  : May 14, 1934
Wife         : Beth Ann Taylor-Rossi   
Children   : Mara, Olivia, Nathan

Name       : Teresa (Terri) Maria Rossi                                       
Birth date  : June 18, 1938
Fiance      : Connor Hutchison        
Children   : (no children)

Name       :  Carmela (Carmie, El) Elena Rossi                        
Birth date  :  August 26, 1940
Fiance      :  Edward Benjamin Keller
Children   :  (no children)

Name       : Gabriele (Gabe) Ambrosi Rossi                            
Birth date  : January 21, 1944
Girlfriend  : Theodora 'Teddi' Platt
Children   : (no children)

Name       : Constantin (Con) Patrizio Rossi                           
Birth date  : November 24, 1946  
Girlfriend  : Maritza Alves           
Children   : (no children)

Name       : Amadeo ('Deo, Dae) Christoforo Rossi               

Birth date  : March 24th, 1948  



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