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  • The Bread Man
    Page 2 of 2

    by Flora Mitidiero Raehl

    During his life here in America Uncle Ciccio embraced the theory of the American dream while still honoring his Italian heritage. He enrolled in night classes at the local high school. He married and had a family, bought a house, planted a garden like any good Italian would, joined the local Italian church and surrounded himself with all the other Italians in his neighborhood. But Uncle Ciccio also made sure he embraced all the other things America had to offer and he discovered a love of some very American past-times – baseball, golf and bowling.

    As a small child I spent a lot of time at Uncle Ciccio's house, partly because my mom and dad both worked, mostly because Uncle Ciccio's wife was my mother's older sister. The branches of my family tree are very intertwined! Being the bread delivery man to local businesses who had to have their supplies early, Uncle Ciccio's days started long before anyone else's so he would get home from work early in the afternoons and there were many summer days that I would sit and watch baseball games with him. He didn't seem to have a team favorite but a love of the game that he patiently explained to me.


    Uncle Ciccio, second from left
    In most families, there always seems to be a common theme, and in my family golf became what drew the Mitidiero1 men together. We're not sure how the interest in this game started but during the years he lived in Chicago Uncle Ciccio also developed a love/obsession with the game of golf. Not only did he watch every possible golf tournament on TV, he played the game like a pro, eventually being admitted to the PGA, and played with the same Sunday foursome at any course that he could afford to play at. In fact, as another story is told to me, the day his wife went into labor with their first and only child, a neighbor had to take her to the hospital because Uncle Ciccio was at the golf course. Of course he made it to the hospital on time, but I've always wondered if he actually stayed to finish all 18 holes?

    He also became an avid bowler with the Holy Name Society from his church. Even though he embraced all these new past times, he never forgot where he came from and all the things that made him the man he was. He learned at a very early age how to be a hard worker, how to never take advantage of what you had, the value of family near and far and in our close knit Italian community he was the expert concertina player. He lived to be close to 90 years old, which in my mind made him the real patriarch of our family passing on his life lessons to the rest of us and as I fondly look back on all my memories of Uncle Ciccio I realize he was the true definition of a Renaissance man.

    1In Italy, the name is still spelled Mitidieri. When most of the relatives came to America for some reason it was changed to Mitidiero, except for a rare few who decided to maintain Mitidieri.

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    Article Published 3/15/2012

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