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The Maisano Code: Today’s kids bounce, we bled

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

When I was a kid we had very little to amuse ourselves. We had playgrounds, but that chain-link fence held in all the fun. There was a slide, swings and a teeter-totter. And all that gravel — great for scraping knees and elbows. Ever seen a playground today? You have to read a list of rules before you can even go in and “play.”


It’s all color-coordinated, too. Everything has foam rubber on it and even the ground is coated with …. are those shredded tires?

Maryann Maisano

When kids fall off a swing today, they bounce. When we fell off we bled — twice. Once after we fell, and then after your Mom smacked ya for fallin’!

If a friend or two showed up, cool. If not, you had to learn to exist on your own. Today, they have play dates.

My Dad was from Italy. We weren’t allowed to date.

Time outs? What?!

Never, ever did my mom say, “Maryann, if you don’t stop that, you are getting a timeout in the naughty corner.”

It would go like this:

“Maryann, stop that.”

I didn’t.

“Maryan, stop that!”

I didn’t.

WHAM! Slipper to the head.

We had timeouts, all right — injury timeouts.

Our toys were simple. No buttons, no batteries, nothing to do with your thumbs.

Remember Slinkys? Wrapped up wire. They’d go side-to-side or down the stairs. Mine never made it — it would miss a step and go tumbling like a drunk.

Our computer: Etch-a-sketch.

I could sit for hours trying to make a house. I’d be sitting on my sofa, tongue moving in time  with the knobs, getting all the right angles together so that I created what looked like a house. Then I’d run to show my mom and  it would all be gone!

Remember the magnet guy? Bald bastard in the plastic with the magnetic ashes. You’d use the “special” pencil to give him hair.

I hated Barbie. There was Malibu Barbie, Skipper – Barbie’s little hussy friend. And then Madge. Remember Madge? She was Barbie’s Italian friend that nobody wanted. And minorities think they’re discriminated against now?

Today’s kids don’t know, but we had video games. You’d sit and watch a white ball bounce back and forth, back and forth. I needed Tums after playing that game.

We had this statue of the Blessed Mother in the back yard. When my friend came over we got plywood from the cellar and put it on a slant over the statue. That was our slide.

My Mom would yell out the back window: “Get off the Blessed Mother. That’s why we cant have nice things!”

Then I’d walk inside and get smacked again.

Big deal. You cried a little, you sucked it up. Then Daddy got home. “You want me to take out the belt?” he’s threathn. “Nah, Dad. I’m cool. Really.”

Today kids are cool enough to dial the 800 number for to child services…

If did something like that, the Five Families would have to call a commission meeting.

“Marianna, you should understand you don’t you ever go against the family. Capice? Otherwise, we have to take you on a fishing trip.”

One thing I knew: I ain’t no rat.

I realize that life evolves sometime for the good.

But here’s what I know from: As kids, we’d get of beed on Sundays, shuffle into the kitchen and find that Mom had already set out our breakast: 2 meatballs and a cup of coffee!

Time out, my ass.

Reviewers have raved about Maryann’s music & standup. She’s opened for Joy Behar and Ray Romano, and has played The Laugh Factory, Broadway Comedy Club and Dangerfield’s. She has a CD out and will be featured on Danny Aiello’s upcoming album, “City of Light.” Judging from the looks of the packed houses, she’ll also be staging plenty more performances with the ITALIAN CHICKS, whose show has been called “part meatball, part cannoli.” For more on Maryann, the group, where they’re performing & how to get tickets, click here: ITALIAN CHICKS . Tell ’em CLIFFVIEWPILOT sent you.

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