Ties to the Homeland
Published: December 20, 2012
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
She enjoys all kinds of pasta, porketta sandwiches and typical Italian desserts like cannoli. She also enjoys baking Italian cookies for the holidays.
Francene Pisano Dudziec has never been to Italy but she has strong ties to the country, since it is the home of her heritage. Her grandparents came from Sicily and the area around Naples.
Dudziec lives in Moosic and is the owner of Monogram Muse, an online store specializing in personalized gifts. She is also involved in many Italian-American activities, notably La Festa Italiana di Lackawanna County. In the past, she has served as the president of the Abington Business and Professional Association (ABPA) and the co-chair of the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice committee.
Dudziec is proud of her Italian heritage, as she explained.
"I'm 100 percent Italian, and I love it," she said. "What do I love about being Italian? This culturally-rich heritage has produced the world's best in art, architecture, music and literature. But Italy's greatest wealth is its people - the gregarious, charming, Italians that seem to love to do everything with strong work ethic, pride and dedication. They love their food, their families, their music and their heritage. They are also proud to express hospitality to all visitors. Growing up in an Italian family meant that when my parents had gardens, they would grow more than just flowers or small, potted plants. We had huge gardens where they grew tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes. We ate them, cooked them and jarred them to enjoy all year long. Everything we ate was either homemade or grown fresh from our yard."
"Unlike many of my friends, I had never tasted sauce or pasta from a can or much of anything that was prepackaged from grocery stores," she continued. "We had guests of family and friends visiting almost daily. This was my Italian-American life growing up."
Roughly 20 years ago, Dudziec began to express her pride in her heritage by joining the committee for La Festa Italiana di Lackawanna County, the largest celebration of Italian culture and cuisine in northeastern Pennnsylvania, taking place over Labor Day weekend in Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton. It features more than 80 vendors and every year welcomes thousands of visitors, allowing them to experience what makes Italy special.
Dudziec explained why she loves participating in La Festa Italiana.
"La Festa Italiana has something for everyone," she said. "Many movie and television portrayals of Italian-Americans often show negative stereotypes. For me, being involved in La Festa provides an opportunity to fill our community with the true meaning of Italian culture and to promote and preserve it for generations to come."