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An Anatomically Correct Easter

(by Lisa DePaulo)

My paternal grandmother, Maria Grazia DiPaolo, was, to put it mildly, a piece of work—especially to her daughter-in-law, holding a grudge against my mother ever since she wasn’t invited on my parents’ honeymoon. She was Olivia Soprano without the mob ties. We knew this from so many examples. Like, how she tortured my father until the day she died, at 89, (just a year before he did, at 64—she almost outlived them all, as we all feared she might) about the spelling of our name. Torture, I tell you. She was convinced he did this in the Navy, or when he went into business—yeah, like you are going to change DiPaolo to DePaulo to Americanize yourself? In fact, it wasn’t until my dad died and I found his birth certificate that I realized it was the “Ameddigan” doctors who screwed up the spelling. My grandparents, Maria Grazia and Pietro (he was a saint, by the way), could neither speak nor read English when he was born, so this went right over their heads. But it didn’t keep Grandma from haranguing him. Forever.