The Problem with Ambition: Sometimes You Don’t Need It to Succeed

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We often think of ancient Rome as a patriarchal society. That may have been true then, but from what I’ve seen, in Italian culture it’s been the women who run things. Whether its grandmothers, mothers, or wives, they represent the backbone of the family and the community. Sure, it seems like the men are in charge, but that’s exactly what the women want them to think. In reality, if the men are the pillars, it’s only because the women are the solid foundation.

Do you recall one-word themes of your youth that have forever shaped you?

Growing up, my grandmother regularly imparted to me and my brother her formula for success. It wasn’t enough to possess talent, you had to possessContinue Reading “The Problem with Ambition: Sometimes You Don’t Need It to Succeed”

Twins Never Part

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This is the second of four parts of an older brother’s eulogy to a beloved younger brother.

I was barely a year old when I first met Kenny. My parents brought this bundle home from the hospital. I saw a small foot poking through the blanket. Elated, I tugged the tiny toes. Still grasping the diminutive digits, I smiled broadly and looked up at my parents. “Goggie!” I said.

Yes, I had thought my parents got me a new puppy. Instead, I got something better – a baby brother. Had I been more eloquent then and as versed in classic cinema as I am today, I might have more aptly said, “Kenny, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

You may know him as “Ken,” “Kenny,” or even, as he signed every greeting card he ever signed beginning at age – I don’t know, 7? – Kenneth P. Carosa. To me, he’ll always be Continue Reading “Twins Never Part”

The Generation Connection

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think of my grandparents. Don’t get me wrong, I think of my parents, too. But, for whatever the reasons – poof! – there they are, materializing from some obscure nook or cranny in the wrinkles of my cranium. It’s like I’m reliving some life lesson they must have passed on to me. It might be their clear vision of family (and their support thereof), their acumen for business and finance (yes, despite their immigrant status and lack of high school education, they possessed something that allowed them to become successful entrepreneurs), or even their common sense put downs.

Regarding this last thing, you know what I mean. I’m not talking about nasty insults. No, they played a more vital role, like the slaves who accompanied those Roman generals on the chariot leading an Imperial Era Triumph parade. It is said the slave would whisper into Continue Reading “The Generation Connection”