I Thought I Was Italian …

The poem I share here is a true story.  I lived and was raised on a street here in Canada where every neighbour was from somewhere else around the world.   It was a land of immigrants all here on this street; like a United Nations of different cultures and diversity. But it is through the eyes of a child reflecting here, who didn’t know anybody was different.  She saw people for people and thought they were all the same.  Sure there were differences, but she knew that God made everyone unique.  This one is rather funny actually… but it rings so true. What I want to share with you. Enjoy!


When I was four or maybe five

My world around was my surprise

I lived at home and on my street

Where all my neighbours I would meet


Outside we’d play and live in freedom

Retire inside within our kingdom

Each day would bring a new adventure

Where we all travelled “Bonaventure!”


This was my world, my sense of life

Never knew the word called “strife”

My friends across the street from me

Always brought good company


Some words they said, I never heard

I tried to say but only slurred

“That’s OK”, they said to me

“it’s in Italian, from Italy!”


I did not question, nor reflect

Being young you don’t regret

I’d learn some words and try a few

My British roots were added too


And on this street on one clear day

I asked my mummy to look my way

I asked about my bank account

And inquired of its amount


She looked at me like I had horns

“Where on earth?” she really scorns

Wondering now, what did I do

I said my friend had one too


She looks at me and simply said

“Oh, silly child they’re Italian purebred.”

But what she said next blew me away

“We’re not Italian!”…what did she say?


Or how I felt a sudden rift

How I remember this paradigm shift

I thought I was Italian! it’s true!

We were all the same, was my point of view


So now I remember how this “different” started

What was together was now departed

What I thought in human nature

Removed by that of human nurture


I forgot about money and bank accounts too

I now saw a difference between “me” and “you”

But how it’s perceived is significant here

Humanity is first, this I hold dear!


It still remains with me this day

That I was happy to think my way

Those words said then, That very moment!

The word called “different” was my opponent!


I’m writing poems almost every day?

It is easier for me to share this way

I really hope that you don’t mind.

I like words that magically unwind.?


I like to share from my collection.

Today here,  is a child’s reflection

I strongly believe in humanity

I also support diversity


We are all unique and should celebrate

But also remember all humans equate

No one is better when born on this earth

The lives that we live are different from birth


One must consider the mind of a child

When born we are pure, tender and mild

Life is the test beyond all comprehension

We are born in a world of condemnation


In order to walk we learn how to crawl

In order to get, we learn how to bawl

In order to love, we learn to survive

In order to die, we must first be alive


“It’s one of the first lessons in life

and a disheartening one too,

when the pure mind of a child

is altered by a view.” #opism


  • #PaulaG #paulapoems #opism
  • #whatinspiresme #creativity #italy #motivational #leadership #future
  • #happiness #humanity #unitednations # diversity #education
  • #poetry #writing #life #storytelling #deeplearning  #psychology
  • #PaulaG #paulapoems #opism



Paula Curley
Paula Curley
I am a deep thinker, lover of thoughts, and prolific writer sharing my words. In sharing, I am caring. I am a member of the human race with an appetite to motivate, inspire, empower, and provoke thinking. I am compelled to a vision that we are all here for a reason, life is like a deck of cards... “My cards. My deal. Life is learning the game!” #opism What is OPISM? I have come up with this term as my nickname is Op and they are my own quotes representing a moral doctrine belief system. Thus...Op+ism=Opism. #opism. My professional experience is disbursed across industries from financial services and sales to that of personal and emergency care. As one who has trained and coached, mentored, and taught; it has become a passion within to witness and feel joy in the achievement and success of others that I have been associated with. I am a lifelong learner and have created and facilitated various training materials. It is through such experience that I discovered the power of positive feedback in both professional and personal manners. I am self-disciplined, accountable, determined, humble, loyal, and adaptive; but above all, I value my integrity! I am a decent human being. It is with my greatest pleasure to share with others the power of positive words.

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  1. Like Larry, I remember not even having “a view.” We were just kids playing “army” and baseball, and building tree houses. Then, and I remember it to this day, a kid I went to grammar school with asked what religion I was. “Jewish,” I said. “Oh, you killed Christ,” he said. “We did?” I wondered.

    I grew up in one of two gentile families in our town. I’m grateful that the only “prejudice” I ever experienced in my youth was that one sentence, but it was enough to educate me that there was a “view.” He wasn’t born with that view, he was taught it.

    To my parents credit, when the Christmas holiday rolled around, they placed our Hanukkah menorah in the living room window, given that the two holidays overlap or come close to overlapping. And every night for eight nights, its light grew stronger. I guess they had a “view,” too.

    I’m not usually a lover of poetry, Paula, but the first line grabbed me, as eventually did the whole piece. Well said.

    • Jeff, I love this memory. It’s so fascinating that when we are provoked to think of a similar circumstance of such intensity in our lives that although we didn’t seen it then…we see it now. Thank yo for sharing! It is evident you felt something in this reflection. Your thoughts travelled back in time and honed in on a moment! That’s fundamental inside Ed. I appreciate your time and really am glad you shared your thoughts here! Hope that you week is going well my friend. Paula ?

    • Paula, to your point re bringing up memories, that’s really the benefit of taking the time to read and reflect and share. The act of sharing actually pulls back some of the brush that covers those long-ago incidents. Keep writing, my friend.

  2. How sad (with no finger-pointing to your mother) that adults are usually the ones who point out the differences. Children in their innocence see nothing unusual about differences in people, as you did. “We were all the same…” I smiled at how in one clean sweep you lost your Italian heritage. 🙂

    Reminds me of our middle daughter. We moved to the US from Jamaica when she was 8. Jamaica is a melting pot and my daughters went to a school in Jamaica with children of all colors. She made a friend in school here and talked about her constantly. After some time we told my daughter she could invite her friend over one Saturday morning. Never once did she mention color. We opened the door and there she was a little Caucasian girl. I never knew if her parents were surprised when they dropped her off but we just smiled. My daughter never thought for a moment to mention her color because it did not matter to her or to us. And the two of them had so much fun with my other two daughters! Just children playing with each other.

    Look forward to reading more of your poetry.

    • Yvonne, yes its so good you see this in your daughters and makes a world of difference in the struggle when “difference” is in the way. Thank you so much for sharing this vivid memory. I appreciate the time you took to add here! It’s just a better place when we cultivate the innocence…..have a wonderful week my lady???

  3. Ah yes, the innocence of childhood. The wonder of all things around us from a blade of grass to an ant. The belief that all are equal. We are not born with hate or bias. Sadly, those things are taught to us by those that should know better.

    • Well said Ken. Thank you so much for reading It’s so true. Now that I’m an adult. I like my child mind much better and thus must seem immature but if that means being non judgemental and happier..I’ll take it. Have a great week my friend, much appreciate the chat! Paula

  4. I love this. I grew up on a farm and i thought all kids were just kids. On the farm rich or poor you all worked together. I got a big shock when I moved to the city and discovers that farms boys like me were considered hicks. However that’s okay as this farm boy is retiring back to a farm.