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Rose Masciello's Autobiography - Chapter Eleven

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                           The Christening

Mamma Lucia wrote to her husband Padre Stefano in Brooklyn letting him know that their first grandchild had been
born; the baby had been named Rosa after Giovanni’s mother. Padre Stefano wrote back that, although he was
overjoyed at the news that he was now a grandfather, he was really looking forward to becoming a husband again.
He stated clearly that it was time for Mamma Lucia and their two younger daughters, Lena and Margaret to join him
in Brooklyn. He said he was eager to see his first grandchild.

When Mamma Lucia showed her daughter and son-in-law the letter, Giovanni, practical as usual, suggested that they
put first things first. My baptism was coming up in two weeks; after that he would decide about a move to Brooklyn.
They all nodded in agreement, but Mamma Lucia’s heart was already on the train that would take her to her husband in 
Brooklyn were she felt that she belonged. As for Giovanna, she missed her father, her sister Anna and her brother
Pat. She prayed that  Giovanni would decide to join the rest of her family in Brooklyn.

Giovanni, always appearing to be in control of every situation was actually starting to feel the anxiety of making the
best decision for his wife and baby. He wondered if he should take the risk of leaving his job at the  Department of
Sanitation. Now, he was able to pay his bills and support his family. He dreaded the thought that if he moved to
Brooklyn and didn’t find a job, he and his family would once again become a burden to his father-in-law. He never
wanted to be dependent on anyone again for his support.

Almost simultaneously, they silenced their own private thoughts and started on the plans of the baptism. Arrangements
were made with the church. Every now and then, Mamma Lucia would put down the needle she was using to sew
buttons on coats and take up her finer needle to work on my christening outfit.

Giovanni and Giovanna were looking forward to celebrating the christening by inviting family and friends to dinner at
their home. They would extend their kitchen table with borrowed bridge tables to seat Giovanna, Giovanni, Mamma
Lucia, Lena, Margaret, their sponsor Vito Spada and his wife, the kind neighbor and his wife, and Mamma Lucia’s “Boss”
and his wife who just loved Italian food. Giovanna, still counting on her fingers, happily looked heavenward and
said, “Thank God for kind neighbors.” She knew that they would come to the rescue with the extra folding chairs that
were needed.

The Big Day arrived, cold but sunny. I was dressed in a pretty white long dress. I was wrapped in a warm
white blanket and wore a crocheted woolen bonnet on my head. I was being rocked gently in my mother’s arms. My
young parents, Mamma Lucia, Lena and Margaret were sitting in the first pew waiting for Mass to begin.

At the proper time, parents, babies, godmothers and godfathers congregated at the baptismal fountain near the altar.
Vito Spada and his wife Sadie felt honored to have been chosen to be Baby Rosa’s godparents, that is until the
tiny bundle in their arms screamed and cried louder than any of the other babies when the priest suddenly
baptized us with a heavy sprinkling of holy water! The solemnity of the Mass suddenly mingled with the cries of all
the babies who seemed to be celebrating in their own way. Mass ended. Congratulations were in order; parents,
families and godparents walked out of the church congratulating one another.

Giovanni, who considered himself a borderline agnostic, smiled to himself as he remembered his grandfather sadly
stating that unfortunately, some people have been inside a church on only three occasions: when they are hatched,
matched, and dispatched. He decided that he must become a more spiritual man for his wife Giovanna and his
precious Baby Rosa.