All posts tagged irish

An Italian Girl Lectures on St. Patrick at a Jewish Community Center

Published March 17, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_3745At one of my “Luck of the Irish” presentations, March 2014

For almost two years, I’ve been a public speaker at assisted living facilities and libraries. I’ve also included Jewish Community Centers to my roster.

Yesterday I spoke at the Jewish Community Center in West Orange and received a ton of compliments. It was just the kind of magic that transpires when you have a true connection between speaker and audience. It’s still cold in New Jersey, so I wore a snowflake necklace my husband gave me when we first started dating. Interesting, it also looks like a Jewish star and over the years I’ve received lots of compliments on the necklace over the years.

When a lady in the audience complimented me on my “Jewish star” I told her I was Jewish at heart.

She asked me why and I told her because I eat a lot of kosher food: kosher cheese, goji berries with the parve label, potato latkes, falafels and pickles (my favorite thing at the famous Katz Deli!)

And as a St. Patrick’s Day side note, which I share in my lecture, corned beef and cabbage is not an Irish dish. Originally the dish was bacon, but it was too expensive and the Jewish New Yorkers, from the Lower East Side, taught the Irish about a cheaper alternative.

Whenever I present this lecture, I ask the audience if anyone has ever visited Ireland and if so, what did they like best about the country. Every time I get the same answer: the people.

I was truly touched that a Jewish audience embraced the Irish (and me, as an Italian, giving a lecture about Ireland to a Jewish audience!) This just goes to show that we’re are all not as separate as you’d think. The world is one big melting pot and we can all learn from each other and live in harmony.

After the presentation, as I always do, I invite audience members to sing Irish songs. This time we not only had a singer, but a pianist. Both brought the house down!

I said to the audience, “Do I know how to host a party or what?”

And as always, I was treated to a grand round of applause. It was an honor.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all my blog followers!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is available for public speaking events. For a list of topics available and upcoming events please visit:

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St. Patrick’s Memory from 2003

Published March 16, 2013 by Maryanne


I was going through some of my old journals and I found this story from St. Patrick’s weekend, 2003. I was 39-years-old.

I was in midtown Manhattan with a friend and saw the play, “H.P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Suite” at the Common Basis Theatre. The play was decent, but the real fun was the bus ride home.

The night before I was out and did some heavy duty drinking, so after the play I was very tired. I just wanted to get back to my place and share a bottle of wine with my friend. I figured I could take a nap on the bus ride home and be rejuvenated 40-minutes later when the bus reached my apartment.

But no such luck.

In the seat right behind us, there was this annoying teenager, thinking the world revolved around her, yakking into her cell phone. Her voice was beyond piercing and she wouldn’t shut up!

Since I couldn’t nap and she was so irritating, in order to drown her out I decided to be equally as obnoxious and have some fun by singing Sex Pistols songs at the top of my lungs in a cockney accent.

After singing, “Wanna Be Me,” “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “No Feelings” I moved on to themes from children’s television shows like Mr. Rogers’ “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood …” and the Flintstones theme — also in a cockney accent. Then I sang a punk rock version of “Born Free.”

Surprisingly, no one on the bus got pissed off and the teenager finally stopped talking on her cell. So I stopped to catch my breath.

After a brief moment of silence, a couple of drunken Irish men started singing Irish songs. I thought it was very polite of them to wait until my “concert” was over and they were really good. In fact they were so good that my friend and I applauded after every song and encouraged them to: “Sing another one! Sing another one!” So they did.

They entertained us all the way to the bus stop in front of my apartment in New Jersey. I almost didn’t want to get off the bus!

I filed this memory under “The Day I was the Warm-up Act for a Wonderful Drunken Irish Singing Group.” Probably one of the best St. Patrick’s weekends I ever had! And I’m not even Irish.