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All-Of-A-Kind Sauce

(by Suzy Vitello)

New Year’s Eve, 1983. A warm ranch house in suburban Buffalo. Outside, the usual ice and snow of a Western New York winter. Frankie turns to me and says, “Ready?”

This is my first time as a bringing-you-home-to-meet-my-parents girlfriend. Previous beaus were more drive-by in nature when it came to the mom and dad thing. A child of the ‘70s, I was a Peanuts character—adults were wah-wah-wah-wah background noise. If my short-term boyfriends even had parents, they were tucked away somewhere, only emerging to bark out warnings regarding muddy shoes or reminders to take out the trash. My own parents had recently split, my father taking up with someone a few years older than myself, and my mother do-si-do-ing her way through her own serial array of fellas, while re-inventing herself a