My Sicilian Nonna’s Evil Eye!

Who Needed Halloween, anyhow, when you had an old-world or other-worldly Sicilian Grandmother!

It has oft been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, ‘submitted for your approval,’ is a lovely picture of my Sicilian grandmother, Catherine ‘Merlino’ Barbera.  But first be warned though! View with extreme caution only after deep prayer!

But first, I submit Rod Serling’s famous introduction to his circa 1960’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ TV show to first set the mood!

          There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call … The Twilight Zone.

I also submit some choice words about Nonna Catherine to add some old-world Sicilian spice and flavor!

Nonna Catherine was blind in her later years.  She also did not speak any English at all.  When I visited her as a little child she would just examine my face with her cold, rough hands and mumble in a Sicilian dialect. A scary experience for me at the time, indeed!

Being blind, she spent most of her time in her second story bedroom.  She was usually mad about something. Especially, about my mother, who wasn’t Catholic! So she would loudly pound her bedroom floor with her cane to get attention.

It was rumored that she was a ‘White Witch’.’ That she freed people from curses given to them by someone else’s ‘Evil Eye,’ let alone her own eye(s)!

Her food secret ingredients, choices and recipes were different.  Some to ‘die for’ like her ‘salsa di pasta e zuppa di polpette!’  And some to ‘die because of’ like her:

—Delicious blood pudding

—Fried or pickled pig’s brains & yes,

—The whole-damn-chicken soup.  

Luckily, the feathers were first plucked off!  But most everything else was left floating in the large pot!

She also liked to put pin holes in raw egg shells and suck the contents out through the hole.  

Drinking milk and such directly from the bottle was a given.

And finally, I suspect that she may have skewered a house pet or two! Animals seem to avoid her house at all costs!

But enough said about my Nonna’s Sicilian ‘il Addamsino Famiglia’ adventures!

Bring on the ghost clowns!

By Halbarbera

👉🏻👉🏽👉🏿 The Flippant Side of the Far Side!? ...... Only Tony Spitsarelli's Shadow Really Knows for Sure!


  1. I like the picture of your grandmother, reminds me of my father’s mother (my nanna) and a greatmother that I never met. What age did your nonna loose her sight?. I can eat black pudding, chicken soup but I couldn’t stomach pigs brains unless they were well disgusted and I didn’t know what they were. I was never scared of my nanna but grandad was scared of her, she had a temper ….thats a story I should write while I can still remember 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In her 50s from diabetes! My grandfather, Santo, was run over by a train on Santa’s Christmas Eve 1925. Go figure. Who get’s run over by a train unless somebody puts you there! Sicilian you see!

      Nobody ever talked about Santo and I only have one picture, his Sicilian wedding. It is in a post about the two great Sicilian earthquakes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. But what can I say?


        “That’s life (that’s life)
        that’s what people say
        You’re riding high in April
        Shot down in May
        But I know I’m gonna change that tune
        When I’m back on top, back on top in June!”

        Frank Sinatra…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post!!! Could totally imagine.

    I am not Italian … but I grew up around Italian Americans … kinda … it was Irish and Italian … I am Irish and Lithuanian American

    My own grandmother was Lithuanian – also didn’t speak English – and couldn’t see … but she was sweet and fragile, also couldn’t see … she used to call me her little nurse in Lithuanian ❤️

    mažoji slaugytoja

    I used to bring a Drs bag lol … and check her temp, make her not do anything lol … keep checking her lol

    She also made things I found disgusting lol … Lithuanian things 😝 cabbage, beets, mushrooms lol …I was picky

    Not big into Lithuanian foods … but authentic Italian is incredible!!

    Beautiful writing hitting memories for others – nice one!

    Ps… all mothers and grandmothers have that evil eye lol – the one that stops you in your tracks lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your memories of a childhood past and your Lithuanian grandmother was a blast! Cabbage, beets and mushrooms? Is that healthy?

      Totally off the wall: Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. was born on August 17, 1943, in Manhattan in New York City, the only child of painters Virginia Admiral and Robert De Niro Sr. He is of Irish and Italian descent on his father’s side, while his mother had Dutch, English, French, and German ancestry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that stuff!! Fascinating! Right?! My family is from Massachusetts.

        There was heavy Irish Italian back in the day. I remember summer days, at my grandparents house in an Irish/Italian neighborhood – It was amazing!! The smells and the people – it was awesome! Different times – amazing memories – rich cultures! Lots of traditions!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me? Italian/Greek/Sicilian; Iberian Peninsula; North African; English; Irish; Western Europe; Askennazi; bacteria and naturally part alien from a galaxy or dimension far far away!

        A totally f&@ked human!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hahaha I am a mutt as well lol

        Irish mostly – very thick in Irish … Lithuanian, French, English … we also recently discovered that back before we were America 😮… my moms side hits on a black slave 8 generations ago… one side stayed black the otherwise went Irish lol … all Irish lol

        But imagine that? See how fascinating? Knock knock… I think you are family lol

        Doesn’t really matter what are anyway, but fascinating to learn!!

        – also very F’ed human lol

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My mother’s grandma was blind . She lived 100 years almost . She used to touch our legs to see how short is our skirt . She touch us all the time to see us . I am from greece .
    “Oh grandma…”
    I know It cannot be detected ,but its humor

    Liked by 1 person

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