Mama Said (In Honor of Mother’s Day)

by | May 10, 2019

By Bruce Mastracchio

This effort are sayings my mother used to use in raising and guiding us through life. She never struck us but always used words, stories, sayings and parables to make her point. She would always say it in Italian and then translate it to English. I can only remember a couple of them in Italian, so I will give you most in English. Hope you like them.


*  The world was as the world is – Mondo era come mondo e’ – Check your Bible. Most stories in there are of greed, murder, thievery, envy etc. Same today.

* He who travels at night, travels with death – e’ camino de norte, la campana de morte.

This was her lesson on why we should not be out past midnight. She said most bad things happen after midnight. She was right. Just check the papers. So, as much as I roamed the streets from 5 p.m. to late, I was usually in before 12 every night. Lesson stuck.

* Can’t wash one hand without the other – Cooperation. Dependence on others.

* Do good for people and forget about it. Do bad and remember it.

* Your children are as different as the fingers on your hand.

* He who eats little. eats a lot and he who eats a lot will eat little. (Never understood that one.)

* Beauty is within.

* Drop by drop the pail will get filled. Little by little it will get done.

* The Power of Ten – If you see a penny on the ground pick it up. Do it ten times and you have a dime. Ten dimes a dollar. Ten dollars a Ten, etc. Put it away and forget it. Those who don’t save pennies don’t have dollars. (That’s how I made my small fortune.)

* You kiss your children while they are sleeping

* Money makes the blind see.

* It’s not a sin what goes into your mouth. It’s a sin what comes out of it.

* Treat your girlfriend as you would want your sister’s boyfriends to treat them.

* As you go up the ladder, reach down and pull someone else up with you. In this way the world advances. Also remember that the people you pass on the way up, you also pass on the way down.

* Treat people like you want to be treated.

* Do not lead me and do not push me, but walk beside me.

* Who was first in life ended last. Who was last in life ended first.

* At the end of the game the pawn and the king go back in the same box.

* If everyone swept in front of their own house, the whole world would be clean. (My favorite one.)

* Pearls around the neck, but maybe stones around the heart.

* What good to have a silver bowl if it is filled with tears.

* Richness is being satisfied with what you have.

* The bad do well in this world. The good in the next.

* The good pay. The bad demand.

* He who seeks good (GOD?) will win forever.

* Be good. Promise little. Perform much. The bad promise much and perform little.

* If you are full of yourself there is no room for God.

* Many love the truth but do not speak it themselves.

* A mother can raise 10 children; but, 10 children can not care for one Mother.

* One Mother can do more than 100 teachers. (If you raise your kids right, the teacher’s job is easier.)

Okay. About it for today from Mom. You have to remember that her mother was of the manor born but ran away with the stable boy. However, she too was filled with wisdom, sometimes administered with the aid of a broom for emphasis. My grandmother’s brother was a well educated man who left the Catholic church to become a Protestant minister (Methodist or Baptist). He spoke seven languages and my mother spent one or two summers with him in Chicago during the Capone days. I am sure he filled her head with a lot of knowledge because that was what he was about.

Hope you enjoyed the sayings. I know a lot of them stuck with me. With much love and in the spirit of all there is . . . . BRM

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Connie Zack
Connie Zack
May 11, 2019 8:08 am

Always love your writings, Bruce! I love “Can’t wash one hand without the other.” I have heard “One washes the other” but this puts a new twist on it.

Eleanor J Greene
Eleanor J Greene
May 11, 2019 9:31 am

Such wonderful memories for you. I remember your Grandmother sweeping the steps down on to the sidewalk of her home and all the way down to Tut Tut’s including what ever she saw in the street…..the broom….she would hit the kinds in the you know where and tell them to clean up after themselves.
Wish so many people followed your Grandmother’s and your Mother’s ways ways.




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