The world has a ton of hidden gems that you can only discover if you’re patient enough to stop and listen. Yesterday, I met the oldest woman from the oldest family in the Italian Market and boy was she a hoot!
At 89 years old, Antoinette Cappuccio Crimi is just as bright as ever and still manning the counter at her family’s meat store. Though I grew up a few blocks away from Cappuccio’s, I had never met this remarkable woman until just yesterday. Her son Domenic introduced us and once she started talking, she didn’t stop! She shared so many interesting stories about her life and her family that all I wanted to do was listen!
Antoinette grew up in a very traditional and very strict Italian family. Her father did not believe in educating women, but her mother did and when it came time for Antoinette to go to college, her mother ultimately won out. She enrolled at Immaculata College to study biology and chemistry. Her father didn’t allow her to have the full college experience, however, as he dropped her off at school on Sunday nights and picked her up again on Friday afternoons so she could spend the weekend working at the shop. Though her father didn’t let her attend the dances and limited her social life on the weekends, it didn’t stop her from meeting her husband Harry.
Antoinette and Harry have been married for over 67 years! Where Antoinette is chatty and opinionated, Harry is quiet and even-tempered. Though he is not as verbose as his wife, his own story is no less interesting. Harry is a former president of the Italian Market Visitor’s Association and he is credited as being the first to coin the term ‘Italian Market’ in reference to the group of shops lining 9th Street.
Senior citizens have so much to share if you’re willing to spend the time to sit and listen. I told her I was going to go back and have a cup of coffee with her. I found out that we both share a love of Dunkin Donuts, so I cannot wait to go back with two huge cups of DD coffee and listen as she tells me all kinds of stories about the neighborhood! Stay tuned for that interview!
Cappuccio’s is a butcher shop in the 9th Street Italian Market. It’s been around since the 1920’s and it is run by the Market’s oldest family. If you would like to meet Mrs. Crimi and the whole gang and buy amazing homemade Italian sausage, we can arrange that for you; they’re part of our Taste 4 Travel food tour of the Italian Market! Book your tickets today for our July 18 tour!