Italians To Go

If I could click my heels and be anywhere in the USA, my # 1 destination would be Watchic Lake in Maine.

My grandfather and his friends deepened the pond into a lake by building a dam at Watchic’s western end in the 1920s. He built a log cabin for his family and I’ve been going there since the 1950s.

Yesterday at work in New York I called my dear brother-in-law David, who chided me saying, “It’s been too long since you’ve been up here.”

You’ve got that right.”

I couldn’t recall when I was last in Maine, the state of my youth.

We have Italian sandwiches on the table.”

David was a kind man with a cruel heart.

He knew full well how much I love the long soft-bread sandwiches filled with ham, cheese, olives, pickles, tomatoes, dusted with salt and pepper, then drizzled with olive oil.

My mouth is watering just thinking about one in my hand and I asked, “Could you Fed-Ex me two, but hold the onion and peppers?”

“Not a chance. You want one, you have to come up and get one.”

I muttered a curse and demanded to speak with my sister.

“You can speak to her all you want, but the only way you’re getting an Italian from us is to come up to Watchic and wash one down with one of my Vodka and OJs.”

My heels clicked like Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ.

I remained on Manhattan, but thankfully wasn’t transported to Kansas, because Kansas like New York doesn’t have any Italians, at least not like the Italians invented in 1899 by an Italian baker.
According to a 1996 article Yankee Magazine Giovanni Amato made the portable and inexpensive lunch for road construction workers and since then the sandwiches are beloved by anyone from the Southern end of Maine and not all of them are the same.

Corsetti’s Variety on Brighton Avenue supposedly received an order from Colorado who wanted two dozen regular Italians – no oil.

I had once asked my Uncle Russ to airmail me Italians to Thailand.

Like David he said no.

Amato’s in Portland is another favorite, but my fav comes from the variety store on Sebago.

Guess I’ll have to get up there soon.

It’s been way too long and nothing would make me feel younger.

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