As a child growing up between Thanksgiving and Christmas my family would get together for dinner at St. Peter and Paul's in North Beach. It was a time for the Santa Cruz cousins to meet up with my Marin County cousins. I absolutely LOVED this and it is probably my best holiday memory I looked forward to each year. Sitting at the table is my grandmother and her two sisters. One married a German, the other an Italian, and the other an Irishman. All of them had a connection to the North Coast in that my great grandmother put a bunch of numbers in a hat and let her grandkids pick a number - each one got a lot in Bonny Doon.
My grandmother's sisters ended up in Marin after meeting their husbands during the summer staying at their summer cabin, which unlike the Bonny Doon cabins had electricity. My aunt Mary Alice met her husband, Vince Pallavicini after a car hit a deer and he went to help her with the animal. Vince, not to be confused with Vincent Junior, his son, or Little Vince, his grandson, or Vincenzo his father moved about 12 feet in his 80 something years - across the driveway. His family owned a mom and pop Italian market back when San Anselmo had many Italians. My mom remembers staying their and neighbors from different parts of Italy used to exchange "macaroni". As a kid, I remember many of these neighbors, many of which would goto St. Peter and Paul - Palettas, Gambradellas, Bellottis. The Palettas had a connection to the society who met at St. Peter and Paul - I don't remember the name, but I just recall - "They are from the heel and raise money for a statue back in Italy." plus size wedding dresses under 100
Uncle Vince and Aunt Mary Alice had two kids. Vincent and Alice. Alice married Joe Tambellini, Jr. -- Dexter who was born in Davenport. Vince took over his dad's roofing business - Pallavicini Roofing which started out during WWII constructing bunkers on the Marin Headlands - I think they would hot mop them. Vince built a house in Bonny Doon at end of Tassett Court.
Back to dinner at St. Peter and Pauls. Every year it was the same. Alfred (in photo) cooked these meals into his 90s. At beginning, we'd come in there was Foccassia from the Ligurian Bakery and full bar. Men on one side of room, women on other. Kids running around Salesian playground, church, and auditorium next door. The talk on the men's side - lots of jokes, jibbing eachother, ponies, stocks, and trips to Tahoe.
Before the dinner, there would be a blessing in Italian by the priest. Santa would come, always a grandma and they would ALWAYS butcher my name - SEEEN. There was always a raffle and I recall prized consisted of doileys, wine and knitted things - like a knitted cover for your extra toilet paper roll to put onto of the tank. I remember the older woman who serving would have smock tops over their dresses and ancle boots.
For dinner, we would have minestrone, salad, real bread, macaroni with a gravy that was from a roast, baccala, turkey and stuffing and vino. The menu never changed - nor would I want it to. After Alfred passed away, that was the end of it or atleast it was never the same.
I'm thankful I was able to do this year after year and sorry my kids did not get a chance to experience this.