It is 1961. The setting
is a heavily Italian neighborhood north of Boston. Anthony
is an eleven-year-old boy who enjoys two loves: family and
In chapter One, we learn about the changing world in which
Anthony lives. President Kennedy and his wife are very different
from the last occupants of the White House. Manned space flight
is in its infancy. We are introduced to Anthony's family and
learn how they came to this country.
Chapter Two begins a second story line that runs throughout
this work, the chase of Babe Ruth's home run record by Mickey
Mantle and Roger Maris. We learn that the Yankees had lost
the World Series in 1960 and that Anthony's father is a Yankee
fan which makes him less welcomed in the Boston area.
Chapter Three begins the narritive of the adventures that
are the basis for the rest of the story. An encounter with
a "child molester" turns out to be harmless, a "Sweet-16"
party goes awry, Anthony and his friend enrage a contractor
with some misguided rock throwing and we journey to Yankee
Stadium for a birthday celebration. Through these and other
events, our main character learns the lessons that will stay
with him for the rest of his life.
The most important lessons, however, are clearly those that
Anthony learns from his father, who uses every day situations
to teach his children about life, family and the importance
of being an American. In defending his wife, carring his children
through a blizzard, and teaching our young hero about a father's
love for his family, "Pop" shines through as the
real hero of the story.
The historical allusions that dot the piece, as well as the
discussion of Sicilian hertiage give "Ciao, Bambino"
some social significance, but it is the humorous telling of
the stories and the tenderness of the relationship of the
author to his father that are its most compelling aspects.
The title reflects both the passing of two of Babe Ruth's
records and the passing of the protagonist's youth.
(Ciao, Bambino, Non-fiction; one summer in a boy's life; straight
non-fiction;57 pages;22,500 words)