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                May 12  , 2013


New Yorker’s were blessed to have such a sunny and warm Sunday this past weekend. Sunday was also the day to show appreciation to our moms for being the super women that they are.


My two sisters, my one sister’s boyfriend, and I took our mom to one of her favorite places on Staten Island, Pasticceria Bruno, located on Forest Avenue. In typical to my family fashion, we bonded over two things: food and ghost stories.

Because we made early reservations (a normal 3:30 p.m. dinner), we didn’t eat anything all morning and showed up with our stomach’s empty and hearts full from joy after seeing my mom’s face as she opened gifts.


We quickly realized that they had a fixed menu for the day: a three-course meal with a set price of $50 per plate. Since my mom dines there often—and because all she wanted was her favorite salad—we asked if we could get the “real” menu. Of course this was not a choice, but since we were already there, we began to scope out our options. The thought of me having to foot most of the bill stopped the sounds of my grumbling stomach for a brief second, but then the waiter came with the bread basket—complimentary never tasted so delicious.

By Lauren Keating 

We ordered a round of sangrias and I proceeded to ask everyone at the table whether I should get the shrimp or clams as an appetizer. I settled on the shrimp cocktail with tomato and avocado for the simple fact that my sister ordered the clams… and she would be sharing it with me (whether she knew it or not).


Although our appetizers were similar, we ordered a variety of entrees. My mom ordered the filet mignon and so did my younger sister’s boyfriend. She ordered a chicken dish sans the mushrooms and artichoke hearts, and my older sister and I ordered twin lobster tails.


Before we knew it, the apps had arrived and we began to share more than just food. As the sun illuminated the day, shinning brightly in through the front windows, we somehow got on the topic of the dark and dead underworld, as you do on Mother’s 

Day. We have heard this story a million times, but my sister’s boyfriend hadn’t, so my mom began to tell the story of “The Floating Head.”


The story takes place at my mom’s property in upstate New York. There is a deep well, but these ghosts are no Samira. Although the ghosts don’t come from the well, the mother, father, son and daughter all died on the property in the 1920s. People who have stayed there have even reported seeing the ghost of that family’s dog, too.


My mom brought the property about ten years ago and began renovations. Originally, the plan was to modernize the house, but they quickly changed their minds. “We let the house speak to us,” my mom told us as we stuffed our faces and sipped our sangria slowly.  Instead of modernizing, they decided to bring back the past. (The house is full of old antiques and looks just like it would’ve back then.)

The kitchen was the last room to be revamped and one morning, my mom was cooking when she heard her boyfriend’s voice coming from the basement located off to the left, a few feet away from the kitchen. She began having a conversation with him when “he” tells her to come down. She makes the descension, the old wooden stairs creaking with each step. Because of the architecture, you have to go down so far to be able to see anything. She goes down and what she saw was…


Just as my mom was getting to the good part of the story, the waiter began dropping off our steaming plates in front of us, causing us to sit back from the edges of our seats. The anticipation began to build up while we were all asked whether or not we wanted fresh pepper. “No one wants pepper!!” I screamed, still hanging on every last word of my mom’s story. As we lifted our forks, mouths salivating with each bite, my mom was able to continue.


So, as my mom descended the creaky staircase, a head and upper body of an older woman is what was waiting in that basement. She didn’t say anything and had a blank expression, but that was enough to have my mom running up the stairs only to find her boyfriend outside. Had she just had a conversation with a ghost?

Although many were skeptical, it became a running joke that my mom sees floating heads. Weeks later, while they were looking into the history of the area, they found photos of the house, and that is when my mom’s eyes met the ones from the floating head: the woman in the old, black and white photo was Agnes, the mother of the house.


As we digested the story, we also began digesting our meal. My lobster tails were delicious and came in a butter cream sauce, along with mashed potatoes and green beans. The lobster was what my sister called, “meaty.” My mom said her medium-rare steak could have been a bit more on the rare side, but she said, “I thought it was good,” a few times as we began sorting out the check. Just as all the dishes came with the same sides, we all got a cannoli and cappuccino to end the meal.


There was no better way to end this weekend but by bonding with my family over a nice meal where we ended the evening in high-spirits.

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