In this episode, I spend most of the time talking about family and the importance that it has not only in my growing up but how different it is in this day and age. I believe you should get family wherever you can find it amongst your friends or the good old traditional way.
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Tony Randazzo : It’s hard to speak your mind these days. voicing your opinion is tough and a climate where you’re either seen as an ultra conservative or a bleeding heart liberal. But what about our perspective? What about the jennex perspective? Hi, I’m Tony a latchkey kid from the 80s and 90s. Now I’m in my 40s wearing cargo shorts, collecting Star Wars figures and reminiscing about the days before my first cell phone. The jennex perspective is for us caught somewhere in between boomers and Millennials are we see things a bit differently? I’m tired of staying silent. It’s time to rant, discuss a load and debate join Tony and his guests as they tackle the topics of Pop Culture, Sports, religion, and yes, even politics. If life’s a Rubik’s Cube, we’ve got the experience to tell
Unknown Speaker : It. Welcome to the Gen X perspective with Tony Randazzo.
Tony Randazzo : Hey, how’s everybody doing today? So installment number three, this adventure that we’re on together of podcasting. Welcome to the Gen X perspective. And today we’re going to spend a little bit of time talking about family, the family that you’re born with and the family that so many of us create in our lives as we kind of move through it with friends, and that in some cases end up closer than actual blood, relatives and family. Now, I got to be careful with this topic because I was born a Sicilian, Italian Catholic. from Rochester, New York. Now There’s a couple important things there that you got to remember. Italians, like many other races are very, very proud and Italian Americans are, in some cases over the top, their heritage is so important to them. And, and I got to experience family and and my heritage in a very interesting way. When I was six, we moved from New York to California. Now a couple things that you got to kind of keep in mind when you’re talking about that is my initial the beginnings of my life as a child, were it’s all about family every Sunday. You’re over at your grandparent His house and it’s an all day event. And you’re not allowed to not be there. Unless you’re in the hospital or Well, that’s probably the only excuse and it’s not a good one to be honest. But that’s literally the only reason that you’re not there on a Sunday. Now, growing up my memories and when I start to remember, vivid memories of my childhood was about when I turned six. Now something pretty traumatic happened now on my birthday in 1979, April 19, we got on an airplane and we flew to California, and that was when I moved with my mom out there and my dad was working in in California already. And we flew into john Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and lived in Mission Viejo, California is where my elementary school days is where I spent my my, my adolescence my childhood was there. So my grandparents and my aunts and uncles and everybody weren’t having it they weren’t part of them was happy that my dad was kind of breaking away from the the family norm and kind of moving on to bigger and better things and in his career in his life and taking my mom and myself along for the ride, of course, but still that family piece in that, that that extended family was so important to me, because I didn’t know any better. I think my dad and my mom, frankly, well, more my dad, I think was trying to get as far away from his crazy family and friends as he could so that he could, you know, kind of grow and be himself and be his own man and not be Randy’s Son, and we all have to fight with this. Now I’m kind of doing this now as an adult, living back in a town with my father. But dad got got out on his own and started doing what he was doing. And being a six year old child at the time. I didn’t know I don’t I don’t remember friends from that time in New York, but I remember family, of course. So I spent every summer of my childhood flying back to New York. In staying at my grandparents house and my aunts and uncles houses, and I would spend all summer every summer in Rochester, New York. They would just send me back and my mom would come out usually for a week, either at the beginning or the end of my trip and spend her time there with her family. She was of course very close with her mother and father and her relatives on that side of the family and My dad would come out intermittently as well. Now my parents got divorced A few years after we moved to California, so that dynamic changed but I always went, I always every summer, New York on a plane 678 910 years old, on a plane, always laid over in Chicago always flew unaccompanied or almost always. So I got to, in some of you will remember this craziness, like the Harry Krishna was running around dancing in the Chicago O’Hare Airport and, and the the CD looking guys with the leather jackets that would open them up with the gold chains hanging in there. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but seriously, for real, trying to sell a seven year old kid a gold necklace. Nowadays, they’d be thrown in jail forever. And back then it was normal. I mean, and you could walk in and out of the airport and people were smoking everywhere and it was a definitely a different time in the early 80s for airline travel, of course, nuts how different it is now. Now if you know he even look up from your iPhone, you’ll get strip searched and, and put in holding for 45 minutes while they question. Yeah, back then all you had to do you didn’t even have to have a heartbeat to be in an airport. I mean, the place was literally a catch all for every character everywhere. I mean, it was like the subway of you know, and every airport was like that, that at least I remember back in the early 80s like that it was just crazy. So every year I would make this trip mostly on my own unaccompanied minor, get on an airplane, go to New York. And I would spend these amazing summers with my family. And my grandparents. I would always primarily stay half the time. I would stay with my dad’s family And the other half was my mom’s parents and I had the pleasure of growing up and remembering my great grandparents on my father’s side on the rain desert side, and, and got to experience this really amazing thing that followed me through life in and manifested itself in many ways over the years that I never really even thought about until recently. We were yesterday I ran into a gentleman that I know, family man my age, and and he and his family went through some challenges his younger daughter was being essentially attacked on line because they were the local small community was targeting her or some people were let me be clear, it wasn’t everybody for spreading the corona virus, could you imagine being a teenager and an online being attacked? Or accused? Excuse me, I don’t know if she was directly attacked, but I know she was accused of spreading COVID-19 in the community with no proof. And really, that doesn’t matter. It’s How could you do that to a teenage kid. And in this gets to the bigger issue of community family, and, you know, it takes a village to raise a child kind of stuff. And it really got me thinking all night last night. And I apologized to this friend of mine, for the behavior of the community. And he said, Oh, you know, I really appreciate that, you know, why are you apologizing as you know, and because we’re community we stick together. You know, your, you know, it’s our neighbors. It’s our friends. It’s the people we see every day. And into watch them act like children and have no respect for family in for kids especially, is just a shame. And that was instilled so deeply into me, especially because of my heritage, I believe and, you know, my grandfather and grandmothers, especially on the Randazzo side, but on both sides of my family were so pro family and pro in probably to a flaw pro Italian or Catholic. Again, their beliefs, but they were it was so important to them. That, that that gets instilled in in all of us, all of my cousins, and everybody in my parents as well. Is that how important that is that your family is everything. It’s who you can count on. It’s who’s got your back. It’s who you can go to when you have a problem. It’s They’re the only ones you can count on was how I was raised. And my grandfather, especially Randy, Grandpa Randazzo, or Papa, as what we call them, or what I did as a kid was so instrumental in my life became, up until his passing a few years ago, I talked to him weekly. And in many instances throughout my life and timeframes, it was almost daily. And he talked to all of his kids and grandkids all the time. You know, and it was sometimes it was a quick phone call, say, Hey, how you doing how you feeling? And other times it was calling and getting advice or talking in it, and as he got older, he’s always stayed just too sharp. I’d have to repeat myself sometimes, but he was always there and he was and he always knew who we were. And what was going on and I always engaged in conversation with all of us and, and family was the center of his universe and had been for as long as I can remember. It’s just the most important thing, period, end of story. He got up he went to work, everything he did every day was all about family. And, and I know that the Irish, you know, the Buddha’s the, this Spanish that you name it. It lives and breathes in all communities and in all cultures, in all ethnic backgrounds. There’s that, that tie to family, that tied to normality, something we all have in common. So the Italian Americans and if I go as far as even the Italian American Catholics, and not all Italian Americans were Catholics, but if you ask my grandfather, they better be But it was your heritage and your family. And that’s what you could count on. And that was the most important piece. Now, moving out to California, it’s very, very different. And that that philosophy and belief, I think is there but it’s in different communities. Because we moved. All of that history was in New York. And so many people on the West Coast are transplanted from the east coast. Their whole family doesn’t go with them. So you don’t have that kind of deep family ties. And I’m going to talk about specifically Southern California in the 80s and 90s. I didn’t see that I didn’t feel it. There wasn’t that deep tie of family that went generational. It just was different. Now, when I started getting exposed to the Hispanic community, in Orange County, California back then that was alive and well there. When I started making friends and getting kind of introduced to that world, it was very much there. You know, the kids, the grandkids, great grandkids, you know, were everybody was there and everybody was together on Sundays and the family all live close by and it did exist on the west coast. It just didn’t for me necessarily. And, and for a lot of people that are maybe going to California to get away from their crazy family. I get it. I understand. I’m living with my family now again, back on the east coast. So I have a clear understanding of how it feels to be with your family every day. But some interesting things happen. Coming back to that poor child locally that’s being harassed because she’s the person that spread the coronavirus in our community which by the way, nobody could prove it was just Nasty mean, people online that decided to be jerks for no reason with no proof. And even if they had proof, it’s a freaking kid for the love of God. It wasn’t like they were going out. You know, licking knives and forks and spoons in the local restaurants for the, for Christ’s sakes. I mean, it was just a kid that was out there living her life that happened to get diagnosed and her family got diagnosed. And since we live in a small community, everybody got to know about it, which was none of their damn business to begin with anyway. And they did the right thing. They quarantine they followed CDC directives and the health department they did everything they were supposed to do and the health department came in and tested, gave free testing to everybody who wanted it in the community the next couple days later, whatever it was, but to see how nasty people are being these days, I mean to children and and I say children I’m almost 50 this kids, maybe she’s 20 years old. It’s ridiculous. And anybody that would attack, somebody like that, unprovoked especially, should be ashamed of themselves and you kind of kind of step back and remember that everybody’s so stressed out nowadays. And they’re so getting back to family and so disjointed from being grounded, like, even right now being back on the east coast. I see my father every day I see my sister every day. We run a business, a family business together, you know, my wife’s involved. We’re all there. Every day we see each other every day. My uncle, my aunt, my cousins are in Rochester a couple hours away. And I talk to them often not as much as I used to talk to my grandfather but you know, my my uncle I talked to probably weekly in my aunt almost every other week. My father side, and and family helps keep you grounded and helps keep a sense of security, safety, comfort. And, and, and people have found that in their friend groups as well and I did for many years in my 20s and 30s living in Oregon or when I was traveling and moving around and when I met my wife, I mean, I wasn’t around my family every day, I couldn’t have been further from them. But I had this, this family group that are still lifelong friends. I may not talk to them every day, but I know that if I sat down with them tomorrow and flew back out west to Oregon, where I spent a huge portion of my life that we wouldn’t miss a beat. We’re a little older, a little fatter, admittedly, and maybe a little smarter, maybe. Although that’s an you know, that’s arguable, but we wouldn’t Mississippi we just feel But they continue right on and things would be wonderful and great. And there’s some comfort in that. But it also helps ground you and and to see the community family falter and fail with these kids locally that did nothing wrong other than being a teenager living day to day in this age of COVID-19 it’s just really heartbreaking to see my community, not everybody, but a portion of them get online, you know, behind their little computer screen and you kind of think of these people sitting in a dark room with their laptop up, typing mean words and then going out and being nice in the community. It feels like that. So it feels like these, these haters that can’t come up and have a debate. With your face to face and whoever would approach a teenager and attack them in public. They wouldn’t. But they’re comfortable getting on Twitter or getting on Facebook and blasting them. And from the bottom of my heart, I apologize to anybody that has experienced that or any parent that’s had to comfort a child that’s been attacked by people in the community that are hiding behind their laptop screens. And that’s just a shame. And I know I kind of keep coming back to it. And does that have a lot to do with family? Yeah, I think it does. That it just bothered me yesterday, and I couldn’t shake it. And I woke up this morning thinking about it. I didn’t have plans necessarily to report record a my podcast this morning, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t Put it on the shelf and say, Okay, I’ll talk about it on Tuesday or Wednesday or next week when I get around to recording some of my episodes. I just wanted to sit down and kind of get it off my chest. And it just, I mean, it’s even bringing up emotions now as I keep talking about it, How upsetting it was for me to have somebody literally attack a child and, and not have the guts to go to the parents and talk to them face to face because as adults Bring it on, right? We have the ability to debate and argue and deal with somebody that’s attacking us or being aggressive towards us in whatever way we respond. So sometimes it’s called the police and lock your doors and other times it’s a healthy argument or debate and sometimes it lands some Were back in the day back in the day. fistfights were, although not totally accepted, they wouldn’t get you thrown in prison for life. So even those from time to time had happened. Not that I’m condoning violence in any way, but you know, things are different now than they used to be. But seriously, folks, you need to take a deep breath. Think of what’s important. Try to tap into that. Childhood family, that that that thing that made you grounded and safe, and maybe some of the wisdom of the elders in your life. Listen to people talk to people. Listen to people in did I mentioned listen to other people a little bit before you open your mouth and talk. I think that’s really important. It is to me it is to the people around in my world and my life. And to see again this, this poor kid attacked online was was horrible and thank God it didn’t last very long and people have a short attention span and they moved on. But I’m putting it out there and apologizing because I just feel bad that she had to go through that. Now again, I haven’t mentioned even remotely any names, I would never do that. totally inappropriate. But people know who they are. And and again, I’m sorry that that happened. This horrible thing. very upsetting. Because if it happened to my daughter, I mean, I’d lose my mind seriously and to be parents and have to go through that with your child like is it’s just crazy. So circling back around a family and growing up so summers Total rant, this podcast craziness thing that I’m doing and talking, you know, maybe I need to be a little bit better on staying on topic, but that’s kind of not what this is about. So, family summers, were amazing and magical. And I still have vivid vivid memories of my summers in Rochester, New York, in the front yard, on the porch with my grandparents, learning all those things that were important to my grandfather, especially about what it means to be an Italian American. And in our family, we were never taught to speak Italian. Now my grandfather was fluent. My grandparents, I believe we’re all fluent because of speaking with their parents who never spoke English, so I would be Third generation American. my great grandparents were immigrants who came through Ellis. And my grandfather. Later in years when I asked him like, how come you never taught your kids or your grandkids or ever taught me to speak Italian speaks Italian? And he said, Tony, we’re Americans. Yes, we have our heritage and that’s important to remember and keep in your family but you’re in America, you speak English. And that that was important to me that my kids, they had such a hard time growing up. I’m now a lot of you may or may not know, especially on the east coast. And when I grew up, so I’m in that transition where there were still neighborhoods, there was the attalla Ian’s in the IRA. And, and I keep going back to the Irish because the Italians and the Irish like to fight with each other on multiple levels. One of which, at least in my community in the stories that I was told was all the Irish were the police. They were the cops in Rochester and all the Italians were in the fire department. And that was kind of where the lines were drawn. So all the cops would harass all the Italian kids. You know, because you got to remember back now this is this is I’m talking about boomers, I guess a little bit some talking about my dad and his friends when they were driving in, in hot rods and messing around that that was alive and well and neighborhoods were very well defined and you didn’t go out of your neighborhood. Because if you did, you usually got beat up in that still and I remember that still growing up my grandparents. Most everybody On their street were Italians. And I watched that growing up change as people moved away, or passed away and the kids didn’t want the house that the houses sold to two different people and watch these communities become more diverse or neighborhoods, not communities. These neighborhoods become more diverse when they were literally when I was six, seven years old, it was all Italians. And in that every house for the most part, if there was somebody living in a house that wasn’t Italian, everybody talked about it all the time because it wasn’t a normal thing. You stayed in your neighborhood everybody did. And I got to watch that kind of fade away. At least from my perspective, and my because my grandparents never moved from their homes. My entire life and my grandfather just died a few years ago. And he was in the same house that I remember that I grew up in, in in he never moved in my My, my grandparents on my mom’s side were the same way they stayed in their home until they just couldn’t live in a two story house anymore. And they moved into an apartment or a condo thing. And that didn’t last very long. It was at the end of their lives. Basically, when my grandfather passed away, my grandmother kind of sold everything packed her bags, and she’d spend part of the time with her son and part of the time with my mom. And until she passed away a few years later, as well. And, and I watched these neighborhoods become more diverse. And more interesting, not just a bunch of Italians living there and but my grandfather was always so passionate about America, becoming an American, this is where you are, you speak the language. Everybody has a right to be you know, great. them what they are, are bigger than they could be kind of the American dream in its simplest form. He truly believed that and never wavered from it. He was a career firefighter. And then he worked for the Chamber of Commerce and he always worked with, with all communities, he was really a broke down a lot of barriers. Because again, you got to remember when he grew up in and went to World War Two and came back, again, varies, you stayed in your neighborhood, Italians, Irish. You know, again, I’m on the east coast. So there there wasn’t a Hispanic neighborhood, but there was a Puerto Rican neighborhood. black neighborhood, you didn’t, you didn’t get leave your neighborhoods, period. That’s just how it was. Everybody kind of had their thing and you went to work and work was more integrated, of course, and I remember that Again, 80s. And you wouldn’t think that it was like that back in the 80s. But if you take a minute and you go back to the east coast and think about it, it still was in a lot of these communities. And a lot of these places where it’s just, you know, because all the grandparents and the boomers and the greatest generation, they were all still alive, and then people weren’t all moving around and leaving. And those communities were still that way. They were on the move, and they were changing, but they were still they still existed, which was really fascinating to me. Because it’s not, it’s not that way as much anymore. Kind of globally. It still is. And there still are neighborhoods, and they still exist today. But it’s not. It’s not the norm, I guess, for everyone. For some people it sure is and that’s definitely a different conversation but but that was where family came from. Everybody looked out for the kids. You know, running around and you’re still allowed to run around again, I could talk about that all the time is the freedom to be a kid and be able to be outside and be with your friends and neighbors and not be having somebody keep track of you every millisecond of the day you had this freedom to explore and kind of figure out who you are and what’s going on and and that all stemmed back from family, everybody took care of the kids again, my summers, you know, grandma and grandpa’s house, and then my aunt and uncle would take me not for as long because back then they were pretty young. They were in their 20s 30s when I was small and growing up so they would take me for a day and hang out with their nephew. And then take me back to my grandparents and in that forge lifelong relationships with my aunt Martin. mean my Uncle Steve, my cousins, we just you just always knew that those people were there in your life and they’re gonna back you up no matter what. And, and our family is as diverse as you know as the country is. I mean, my my aunt is literally a bleeding heart liberal biker hippie throwback from the 70s my uncle owns his own business my dad you know, owns his own business. More on the conservative end for sure. I’m somewhere in the middle, for the most part and but we’re all when it when the day ends when all is said and done it family is what’s most important. And that is what we, you know, strive to be in that has always been important for us. And I just wish that people could take a deep breath and tap into that a little bit how how Much I don’t see that anymore. Especially in the news and in this day and age, and how people are acting in general, locally, just people in the community, it’s crazy. And I feel really bad that people are that stressed out and that upset in that kind of crazy and just show them a little compassion. Just take a deep breath. Before that, whatever comes out of your mouth hidden behind that mask or while you’re hiding behind your keyboard in your computer screen. Take a minute and think about what you’re doing and how it’s gonna affect the people around you, or the people you’re attacking or the people that you’re angry with. Now, if that’s politics, or if it’s people in your community Or it’s your neighbor. Think about, put yourself in their shoes for just a half a second and realize that they get up every day just like you do. And they, you know, live and breathe just like you do, just like I do. And we got to show a little more compassion for each other, to be able to move forward and not have so much tension and anger and stress, always being piled on us all the time. Remember, family, however that looks to you. Spend more time with them, reach out to them, talk to them, love them. Love yourself, for the love of God. Try to remember what it was like being a kid and that just true love and comfort. And I know that not everybody had that. Yeah. I’m sure I’ll get a message saying, well, I never had that, you know, I grew up in abusive house and it did it did. And yeah, I understand. But in general, please, you grew up, and you probably made friends. And you probably do have a core group of people that take care of you or that you’re comfortable with. Just remember them. And remember how that we all have feelings. We all get dressed every day, hopefully. We all are trying to get through life in our own way. Whatever that means, wherever you are in the world, and show a little compassion for each other. God bless you. It’s been great talking to you. We’ll talk again real soon in the next couple episodes here. I’m working on trying to get some guests in to start talking about some targeted topics. What they got going on in their lives. And I appreciate you guys hanging out and listening and this is, you know, Tony Randazzo with the Gen X perspective, and we’ll talk again really, really soon. Thanks for listening to the Gen X perspective with Tony Randazzo, where we see things a bit differently. Let’s get social. Find us on Facebook by searching Gen X perspective, Twitter, at Gen X underscore podcast and on Instagram at Gen X perspective, you can also find us online at Gen X perspective calm and reach out to Tony directly at Tony at Gen X perspective, calm to maybe you can talk strategy on how to beat Super Mario Brothers three. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Gen X perspective wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening