In 1968, at the age of 45, my father, Nicola DiPinto, decided to fulfill a lifelong dream. He and my mother, Bianca, along with their four children (Maria, Rita, Vito, and Alfredo) collected their modest belongings and made a journey that so many generations of European immigrants had made before them. My father recognized that only in America could he and his family realize the dreams of a better life and more opportunity. My father and eldest sister, Maria, arrived in the United States on September 12, 1968; and the remainder of the family followed to arrive in Chicago on November 16, 1968.
I grew up in South Bend, Indiana, the youngest of the four children. In 1984, I received a college basketball scholarship and journeyed to North Carolina. After graduating in 1988, I began a career in the financial services industry as a financial consultant. My wife Samantha and I have one child named Graham who was born in 1996 and is the apple of our eyes. I have enjoyed calling Clinton my home since 1989 when my wife and her parents opened Southern Style BBQ & Chicken.
Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my years in the South, I still miss the long hours spent around the dinner table with my parents and siblings. In fact, some of my fondest memories growing up in Italy and in South Bend are sitting around eating; sharing our love for each other, and listening to my parents tell their stories of how things used to be in the “Old Country”.
You see, the Italian culture is celebrated aro
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