The Motel Family
© Copyright 2014 by Sara Jacobelli
The Reporter and the Movie Star
Sunday, June 6, 1982
I have so much to tell you I don’t know where to begin. First I want to say don’t worry too much about Papa, he’s Going to be OK. He’s a tough guy and he’ll make it. I hope he doesn’t get sent to prison, but right now he’s still in jail. It’s nice to have a break from him and Mama fighting all the time. I know that might be a terrible thing to say, him being your Son and all. It might even be a Sin. But sometimes they fought all night long and the Little Kids would cry and we never got any sleep. They’d scream at each other and throw things and he’d hit Mama and we would be so scared that he might kill her. It was like a bad Scary Movie on TV that you couldn’t turn off, even though it gives you Nightmares. The next day I’d be so tired, I’d fall asleep in class and the teachers would get Mad at me and Write Me Up.
So, this week Mama got to see Papa and he told her: Don’t Worry about Finding the Key. Just go straight down to the Bus Station and tell the guy there that you need to get the duffel bag. Mama said Papa was mad at her for not doing this sooner. “Cazzo! Quanto stupido!” he said. “Somebody mighta already stolen the money by now. Stupid woman!”
Mama was so mad. When she came home, she was bitching about Papa and crying at the same time. She leaned back on the couch and put her feet up on the Coffee Table Jeanie and Dumptruck gave us. “Honey, make me some tea, come sit by me. Wait, rub my neck first.”
We sat on the couch drinking tea while Mama hatched Plans. “We’ll go to the Bus Station and we’ll bring the Little Kids, so maybe the man’ll feel sorry for us. I hope it’s a man, men are easier to deal with. Hmmm, maybe we could borrow a baby. A crying baby would be good.”
“Mama, you can’t act!”
“I’ll get a baby from that girl, what’s her name, Crystal? No, Cricket. Candy? The little dancer who used to go with Angelo. For a coupla dollars she’ll let me borrow her baby.”
“That’s a Dumb Idea. And you can’t act.”
“Yes, I can, Miss Know-it-All. I was even in a School Play once, in high school, Young Lady. I played Emily Webb in Our Town. I was the Star. You’d be surprised at what I can do.”
“But you dropped out.”
“I dropped out because of you. I got pregnant with you when I was fifteen, my own Mama kicked me outta the house and I moved right in with Papa, right into his little weekly room on Rampart Street. He worked down at the docks, unloading trucks. We saved for an apartment, took us months, but we got one. I felt so grown up. When I cooked for him, he said I made the best Red Gravy. “
“You do Mama.”
“And once you were born, my Mama got over it and came around to see you. She never liked Papa much.”
“Fifteen? That’s too Young. How old was Papa?”
She put her arm around me and leaned in close. I touched her hair, whiffed the smell of her Herbal Essence shampoo. She closed her eyes. I knew I had to tell Mama about the Duffel Bag before she made a Big Scene at the Bus Station. I pictured poor Mr. Sandy standing there, Dumbfounded, while Mama screamed like a Banshee, whatever a Banshee was, and the Little Kids ran around getting into everything, and Mama held some crying baby she rented from some Drug Addict.
“It is Honey. It is too young.” She opened her eyes, touched my face. “But I thought he was cute.”
“How old was he?”
“I don’t know, twenty three, twenty four.”
“That’s crazy. He was too old for you.”
“Dani.” She drifted, lost in another world. “Sometimes I think you’re the parent and I’m the child, it’s like we’re all mixed up around here.”
“Mama, I’ve got to, I’ve to tell you something.”
She sat up, sipped her tea. “You got me thinkin, girl. You know before I got pregnant, I wanted to be an Actress. Can you imagine, me, a Movie Star?” She jumped up, swirled around the room.
I grabbed her hairbrush and pretended it was a microphone. “Mrs. Riccio, tell me what it feels like to win the Oscar.”
“No, not Mrs. Riccio, before I was married I was Carmela DelVecchio.”
“Carmela DelVecchio? Carmela DelVecchio? That IS a good name for a Movie Star. OK, Miss. DelVecchio, how does it feel to win the Oscar for your latest movie?”
Mama spoke carefully into the hairbrush. “It feels wonderful. All my Hard Work has paid off. This is everything I ever wanted.”
“And what will your Next Movie be, Miss DelVecchio?”
“Well, I plan to take some time to Relax. I’m going to take a cruise to Europe, and go to the Riviera to visit friends and sip Mimosas and just Relax for awhile.”
“People say you are the next Sofia Loren, what do you think of that?”
Mama blushed, looked down at the hairbrush. “I’m not as beautiful as her, but I do admire her Grace.”
The door opened and Gino and Antonietta ran in followed by a tired looking Jeanie. “Mama, Mama, we went to City Park!” They jumped up and down and clambered all over her.
We ignored them. “And Mama, I mean Miss DelVecchio, are you dating any Big Famous Movie Stars right now?”
Jeanie and the Little Kids sat on the couch and looked at us like we were crazy.
“No, no one. I just need some time alone. Robert DeNiro and I just broke up, and it’s been hard.” She took a tissue and dabbed at her eyes. “Dudley Moore asked me out, but he’s not my type. We’re just friends. And I do like Al Pacino, but. . . I’m not ready for anything serious.”
“Well, Miss DelVeccio, just one more thing before you go. I see your limousine is waiting for you. Will you give me your autograph?”
“Does anyone have a pen and paper?”
Jeanie flipped through some bills on the kitchen counter and came back with a NOPSI bill and a pen. “Here.”
Mama grabbed the pen. “What’s your name?”
“My name is Daniella Riccio, Famous Reporter, and you are My Favorite Movie Star.”
Jeanie sat on the couch, and her and the Little Kids’ Eyes went back and forth between me and Mama like they were watching a tennis match.
Mama wrote on the back of the bill:
To Daniela the Famous Reporter: May you Travel the World and have Many Big Adventures, Love, Miss Carmela DelVecchio, Famous Movie Star. PS: Always Follow Your Dreams.”
“Oh, thank you, thank you, Miss DelVecchio!”
She hugged me, and I dropped the hairbrush/microphone and the autograph on the floor. Jeanie and the Little Kids clapped. Mama frowned and picked up the bill she autographed. “Shit.”
“We’re two months behind on the light bill. They’re gonna turn off our electricity.”
Picture Credit: “abustany_Movie_reel.svg.” free movie clip art.