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Labor Day Weekend, 2018

August 29, 2018


Thinking of the Class of ’68 and the Little Italy Festival


on Labor Day Weekend, 2018


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Much to my amazement, my Clinton (Indiana) High School Class of 1968 will celebrate its 50th class reunion on Saturday of this Labor Day weekend.  Where have these years gone for the 104 students who were in my high school graduating class?  Although our graduation day was on May 28, 1968, our class, like most from CHS, will mark this milestone reunion during Clinton’s Little Italy Festival (a four-day event that kicks off with a parade on Friday evening).  Although I will not be able to attend the reunion nor the festival this year, my “Hoosier heart” will be in Indiana; and I will be thinking of the Class of ’68 and the Little Italy Festival.


Last August, when I was recalling the festival places, events, and food which I have so enjoyed in previous years, as well as remembering the fifty years since the CHS Class of ’68 began its senior year, I was inspired to write the following prose poem which is creative nonfiction.  The “creative nonfiction” comes into play in just a couple of spots in the poem.  For example, although the authentic gondola is still a part of the Little Italy Festival parade, one can no longer take a ride in the festival’s gondola on the Wabash River.


Much to my surprise, last August, the following poem appeared in The Daily Clintonian, the newspaper of Clinton.  Throughout my years of growing up and living in Vermillion County, The Daily Clintonian was such an important part of our community.  Receiving and reading this newspaper each Monday through Friday were part of daily living for everyone whom I knew.  Interested in writing and journalism from a young age, I enjoyed reading this local newspaper.  Since not many poems have ever been printed in The Daily Clintonian, I was especially delighted that friends Mary Fornero and Fran Rayce brought this poem to the attention of Mrs. Diane Waugh at the newspaper and that Mrs. Waugh chose to share it with the readers of The Daily Clintonian.  Even if you are not a member of the Class of ’68 nor a resident of Vermillion County, I hope you will enjoy this poetic visit to the Little Italy Festival.



Fifty Years later, Meet Me


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Once again, fifty years later,

meet me

at the Little Italy Festival.

This time,

follow the green, white, and red lines

down Ninth Street,

and meet me

at Immigrant Square,

west of the Coal Fountain,

in the striped shadows of the twenty-six flags

which represent countries

from where Clinton area residents

have immigrated.


Meet me

in front of the statue of the immigrant


with his one hand waving

and his other hand

holding a valise.


Meet me

by the drinking fountain

called “Il Toro”–

the Bull–

like Luigi,

crafted near my ancestral home,

in Torino.


Then, we will go

to the riverfront,

down the terraced banks

where Joe Airola

nurtured his grapevines.

On the Wabash River,

we will ride

in an authentic gondola.


Returning from our taste of Venezia,

we will eat spumoni

as we sit beside

the Quattro Stagioni Fountain,

listen to music of the main stage,

and absorb the chatter of festival-goers.


Back to Ninth Street,

we will tour the Little Italian House,

Il Mercato, and the Wine Museum

where you can buy my book.

Then, in the Wine Garden,

we can sit

under lush Grapevines and Hoosier stars,

sip Chianti,

listen to a polka band,

talk of old times

and fresh tomorrows.


Don’t be concerned:

at Immigrant Square,

in the midst of the crowd,

you will recognize me.

I will be the one

with the Black Labrador

guide dog.

Meet us.


* * *


To learn more about the Little Italy Festival which has taken place each year since 1966, you may visit one of the following:



Best Wishes for a sunny and happy Labor Day weekend!

Happy 50th Class Reunion to the CHS Class of ’68!


Alice Massa and Leader Dog Willow


August 29, 2018, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Grazie, Alice, for posting your wonderful poem with so many memories of Clinton’s Little Italy Festival! You mentioned the spumoni in your poem, but another delicious treat at the festival is the Italian Cream Cake. This year the Little Italian House on 9th Street will have a special momento from our family. Our cousins Carole and Tim, former Re and Regina, will deliver an antique crock that belonged to our parents to be displayed at the house. Many thanks to Carole and Tim for their care of the crock as well as to our friend and former Regina Mary for welcoming the crock to its new home!
    Enjoy the holiday weekend!
    Love, Mary

    • Hello, Mary–Thanks for adding this important note to my Labor Day post.

          The grape ice (grape sherbet) is another special treat which I used to enjoy at the festival.

      Enjoy the Labor Day weekend–Alice and Willow

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