You know the saying, a picture’s worth a thousand words? That’s kind of how I feel about my mom. My mom immigrated to the United States from Naples, Italy, aboard the Andrea Doria in 1954. She spent the entire trip being looked after by a pair of nuns, because her father, my Pop Pop, spent the entire trip with a case of seasickness in sick bay. From day one she was an independent and adventurous gal. The first weekend she got her license at age 16 she drove herself and her parents to New York to visit with her aunts, uncles, and cousins. She struggled to learn to read and write English in an Italian-only speaking house hold, and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in 1969. She took courses at Central Connecticut State University, worked at a Burrit Mutual Savings Bank, D&L department store, and met my dad on a blind date. When he came to pick her up, my Pop Pop asked in Italian, “What kind of Italian is he?” Essentially, what part of Italy is is family from?” To which my witty father replied that he was a “Waterbury Italian.” She refused a second date with him, complaining that he smelled like beer- he had bartended a friend’s wedding before their first date, and he of course didn’t see the problem with that. She eventually acquiesced, and, as they say, the rest is history. They had two kids, myself, and my brother Anthony. My mom is always the first girl out on the dance floor at weddings, has no shame in donning a grass skirt at a barbecue, loves drinking Carlo Rossi jug wine and Black Russians, quilts, bakes, and makes the best Italian food this side of the Atlantic. I love every thing about her. So, without another anecdote or explanation, I present to you, my one and only homegirl, my mom, Irene Feo DeSanto, in pictures.