FEILE-FESTA HOME    |     PAST ISSUES    |     ORDERING INFO    |     SUBMISSIONS    |     LIBRARIES    |     LINKS    |     STAFF    |     ABOUT US    |     CONTACT US

Spring 2015


The Harbor of the World
- O. Arieti
Those Italian Boys
- I. Backalenick
Friendless Featherheads
- G. Beck
- K. Cain
- J. Campbell
King Street Comanche
- B. Foster
- L. Giulianetti
Poets Out of Service
- M. Johnson
Irish Farmer
- L. Kumar
Communion Portrait
- J. Lagier
- M. Lisella
Connemara 2004
- C. Lloyd
Carrying Grandpa
- M. Lyon
The Saying of Mass
- C. Moore
Taking You home
- J. Mulligan
- P. Murray
- P. Nicholas
Resurrecting Easter Sunday
- L. Pierro
Dublin Spirts
- F. Polizzi
Nun Ponnu/They Cannot
- N. Provenzano
- K. Retzlaff
- C. Steinhoff
Strawberry Pickers, Cyprus
- J. Tarwood
Melina's Tarverna
- B. Thomas
No News
- R. Tremmel
- R. Volz
Broadway Bagel
- C. Wald
Taking My 8-Year-Old Daughter to Hear Seamus Heaney
- L. Wiley
My Mother Had a Relationship with Good Bread
- C. Young
Sicilian Traces
- A. Znaidi

Spring 2015


- J. Amato
Moving Day, 1897
- D. Corrigan
My Madeleine
- F. Dunne
A Review Of Italoamericana: The Literature Of The Great Migration, 1880–1943
- G. Fagiani
The Immigrant's Grandson
- J. Giordano
Review of The Glass Ships
- R. Crupi Holz
A Sunday Afternoon
- R. Iulo
Dark Idyll
- T. Sanfilip
The Choir Book
- G. Sullivan
Review of My Two Italies
- T. Zeppetella

Featured Artist
Richard Holz



Franklyn James Dunne

My Madeleine

Some months ago my wife and I went on vacation to Sicily. It was a trip that I had been wanting to take for quite a few years but for various reasons, we seemed to procrastinate about planning it. I had done a significant amount of traveling during my career in international sales but most of it had been confined to Mexico and other countries in Latin America. Both Ireland and Sicily had been on our list of places that we wanted to visit because my own roots spring from both islands.

My wife became interested in visiting Ireland after learning of the Saint Patricio battalion of American soldiers who came to Mexico, her homeland, as part of the United States invading forces in 1847. After awhile, these soldiers had a change of heart and sympathized with the Mexican population. They joined forces with Mexican troops and are regarded as heroes there. Several interesting books have been written about this little known chapter in Mexican-American relations, most notably those by Dr. Michael Hogan. He describes these events, the invasion, the Irish American soldiers change of loyalties and their subsequent execution by officers of the American army and his books are the basis for the film on this subject, One Man´s Hero.

So our first trip to Ireland was to discover more about Saint Patricio and the soldiers’ families associated with the name. And having visited that soil, I became even more determined to experience the other side of my heritage, to see and learn about my Sicilian ancestry. I put us into the hands of a tour operator who helped us to combine a guided tour with independent travel. We would see all of the ‘must see’ sites then travel on our own in a rental car to visit the town where my family originated.

It turned out to be just the right thing for us. We not only learned much about the history and architecture of Sicily but also had time to reconnect with relatives who lived in some of the places not usually visited by tourists. And some of these destinations provided unique pleasures and surprises.

We stayed in inns, hotels and agrotourist (agriturismo) sites. We ate in local restaurants and refurbished villas but it seemed as if almost everyplace served a delicious eggplant dish called caponata. It was prepared with basically the same ingredients everywhere – a mixture of eggplant and other vegetables in an agrodolce sauce. Each place had their own way of preparing it and as I sampled it in all of these different guises, I began to realize that this trip to Sicily was not my first experience of caponata.

As a kid I had attended Catholic school where many of the other students had last names like Casey, Donavan, McDonald or McGuire. My own last name identified me as Irish but in truth, I always felt more comfortable with my Italian side. I had an instinctive appreciation of opera, worked in an Italian restaurant and enjoyed the big holiday celebrations of my Mom’s family. Of course, it was not always easy to express my Italian sensibilities in a school of Irish gangs and often the most difficult moments came during lunch in the school cafeteria. I remember being the subject of scorn when I brought in a sandwich of peppers and eggs. But this was nothing compared to the shame that I felt, when owing to a lack of other resources, my mother would surprise me at lunch time with a sandwich filled with what my Irish classmates considered ‘a slimy, kind of greasy, smelly vegetable mess.’

So now here I was in Sicily enjoying the ‘smelly mess’ in all of its multiflavored dimensions. Enjoying it with no accompanying sense of shame and hearing my wife’s suggestion that perhaps the comments of my grade school companions were prompted more by envy than by disgust.

I prepare caponata here in Mexico for my children and grandchildren, and also for our guests who seem to enjoy it. And I smile at my good fortune to have traveled to Sicily and to have been reintroduced to this madeleine of my childhood.