Chicken: Why hello there... election day recap...

 
From: "Chicken:" <chickenjohn@gmail.com>
Subject: Chicken: Why hello there... election day recap...
Date: March 2nd 2020

It's been so long since I posted anything here... it's weird. But Marc Powell wanted me to send a link to the Pissed Off Voters Guide. I don't know if you need it, but here it is:

http://www.theleaguesf.org/guide/

There is lots of good info there.

I"m all in for Bernie, of course. I don't vote on DCCC races because I kinda detest that cabal. But you do you.

Life is good. Busy. We had another kiddo, I'd show you a photo but I can't figure out how to attach it! Sorry!

AND NOW> The great grand son of Italian immigrants tells a story about soap and spaghetti, which is actually a thinly veiled saga of strange names. So I didn’t name the story.

The Unnamed Story

I am the son of Victor and Patricia Rinaldi. My mother was daughter to an Irishman and a Spanish immigrant. James Bradley and Maria DelCarman Boucharisia. My father was son to an Italian couple, who divorced early, but I know that my grandfather was nicknamed Pat; my grandma (Nanny) was named Elizabeth. My great grand dad on my fathers’ side was named Ooplio (oop-lee-o). When my brother was born, he was named after my mothers’ father; James. When my sister was born, she was named after my father, Vicki. When I was born, I was to be named after my great grand father, Ooplio. Hit me in the fucking head with a rock, why don’t ya. Jesus, how they could have ever even considered that is beyond me but supposedly someone talked them out of it and I was named after and uncle that died of electrocution. “They would have called him Ooops!” my father said proudly one thousand times… “And they would have been right!” he would conclude. That is quite an interesting thing to happen to a blue collar family of house painters, but in the past, before the war started and the men were drafted, things were different…

In the mid 1980’s, I dated a beautiful young lady named Debbie, the source of many broken hearted songs that young men write for beautiful young ladies. I am sure that Debbie is now a beautiful old lady and I wish her well and hope she puts out now. One day, Debbie asked me if I would like to have dinner at her grandmother’s house, and I agreed. I was always eager to impress her family because I had a 3 foot mohawk and they absolutely hated me. Debbie’s dad was a fireman, and her mother was a devout Catholic. I represented all that they battled with constantly; low morals and I lived in a squat. Anyway, I went to the grand mother’s house and grammy talked my ear of about her wallpaper problems and her phlebitis…

Ooplio learned to make soap. This is probably in the late 1800’s, lets say he learned to make soap when he was 15, that would make it 1885 or so. Ooplio lived in Italy, and although not a soap maker by trade, would make soap to give as gifts on Christmas. Ooplio immigrated to the United States to seek his fortune. He got married, he had 2 sons. He made soap at Christmas for gifts, as he was very poor. It was before the depression, I guess. But it happened quickly I am to understand. One Christmas, he gave a soap present to a relative, but the relative liked it so much, after a month she asked him to make another batch, just for her. She said she had never seen soap like that before, and she preferred it. The details of the story are a little fuzzy, and I may not have all the info totally correct, but this is it to the best of my knowledge, and my dad is dead so there is no one to ask any more, but here it is: She like the way Ooplio made the soap because it was a powder, not a bar that had to be cut up. She basically placed an order. An Ooplio filled it and charged her a fee. Then her neighbor wanted some, then her friend told 2 friends and before you know it…

Debbie's Grandmother served spaghetti that night. I am a spaghetti master. With the spoon in one hand and the fork with jus the right amount of pasta in the other I am like a stuntman of spaghetti. We ate and talked about the weather and music and things. It’s always amazing to me how old people can find out so much about you by talking about nothing at all. Old people are cunning, conniving motherfuckers. You have to watch for them. They dress down to seem harmless, but they are right there, waiting. Like wolves in crocheted sweaters. But the old lady seemed to like me, and gave me a break…

Ooplio Rinaldi was living the American dream. Even around the depression time, his business was doing well. He and his son were making tons of soap a day in their soap plant. Ooplio retired, and Pat ran the factory. My father had always planned on going to work at the soap factory when he became of age. He always got good grades at school, and there was talk of him going to college to help run the family business, although his parents were separated and he lived with his mother in poverty with his sister, Florence. I have heard all the extreme depression stories: dinner was a can of soup and a loaf of bread, my father, his sister and their mother all sleeping in the same bed with no heat in a drafty attic, the financial burden my father was to the family because he needed glasses… Back to soap…By the time 1940 rolled around, it was gigantic. Their radio motto was on every station, and it was a good motto. Jingle. Whatever. “Don’t worry, use a little No Worry!” the jingley little voice would temp form the speakers of tens of thousands of radios. A common response to a new stain was to sing that jingle. The jingle would escape the lips of thousands of Americans, and my father, Victor, would be heir to the No Worry soap empire that had the patent on soap ‘powder’. Until Ooplio, soap had been chunked. My grandfather is responsible for your laundry, bitch. Don’t forget it. However, in 1941 my dad was 17, the Navy called for him and he was in the last convoy to leave the S. Pacific in 1947… He returned to his father, who was in financial ruin. The soap plant was thwarted by the war effort. The soap powder they manufactured was bottled in mason jars, and all glass went to the war effort. So they shut down the plant, thinking the war would last a few short weeks, and because no one could read, the lawyers stole the money. Fuckers. Pat had sold the copyright to a guy named Clorox, and the rest is Laundromat history. With the money he got for the copyright, he bought 4 taxis. By the time Victor returned, the drunken Pat only had one left. He offered half of the cab to my dad, “You drive at night, and I’ll drive days, whadda ya say?” My dad declined, and got a job with the brickies. Later hired with the painters because they couldn’t find a sober painter and Victor didn’t drink. Pat died of a heart attack in his cab…

Debbie was a little dressed up for dinner, wearing a skirt and a white blouse. It was summer and the windows were open. The sun was getting set to set, and was low in the sky. A time they call ‘magic hour’ in Hollywood. Magic hour takes 10 years of aging actress’. Magic hour made Debbie look angelic. I remember her at the table that night because I remember what Grammy said when the meatball broke in half, cracking off her fork and rolling down the front of her white blouse, staining it. It happened almost in slow motion. “Don’t worry,” sang Grammy in a jingely little voice ,”Use a little No Worry!”

I, John Joseph James Rinaldi, would have been heir to a soap empire. But it was not to be. At least I wasn’t named Ooplio. Speaking of names, my father, Victor, had an interesting linguistical trick called to at his funeral. The priest pointed out that Victor was more than just a name, it was a kind of person. And he made us all sing this song about how the ‘victors’ will arrive in the kingdom of heaven. Mom liked that. I appreciated it in a sham-a-lam-a kind of P.T. Barnham kinda way…


When Eileen and I had kids, we were careful to name them after things that were important to us. Alice and Edsel. Their names have great meaning. But that’s another story for another time…

thanks for reading!

chicken

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