There are few things Italians value more than family, and Taylor Termini’s family means everything to her, she said.
Termini’s great-grandfathers immigrated from Sicily between 1895 and 1904 and settled in Galveston and Galveston County in the early 1900s.
Most of Termini’s family still lives in the Galveston County and Houston areas. Her family originated from the Italian cities Ribera, Agrigento, Sicilian city Celafù and Sicily.
Her great-grandfather, D.J. Termini, was a Precinct No. 3 Galveston County Commissioner in the 1950s. He was instrumental in the development of the West End, mainly the building of the San Luis Pass. He died suddenly in 1954, while in office, and Termini Road and Termini Park were dedicated in his memory. There also is a Termini Street in Dickinson.
Although her family has been away from Italy for more than a century, they still maintain many of their Italian traditions to keep their heritage alive, she said.
Taylor Termini, 21, the daughter of Jill and D.J. Termini, and sister to Trey, attends Texas A&M University at College Station and majors in kinesiology. She wants to be a physical therapist.
We caught up with our cover model for a quick chat:
Q: What are important Italian values?
A: Family, loyalty, religion and traditions.
Q: What are the essential characteristics of an Italian?
A: Physically, Italians are usually tan and have thick hair. But for me, I am definitely more on the lighter side. I would also say that we are friendly, outgoing, all of us talk really loud and use our hands.
Q: What is your favorite Italian cuisine?
A: Definitely fettuccine Alfredo.
Q: Have you been to Italy before?
A: No, not yet, but my grandparents have been and I hope to go one day.
Q: Where did they go?
A: They went to Rome, Venice, Florence, Portofino, Capri and Pompeii.
Q: What are some Italian traditions your family tries to maintain?
A: We literally eat my great-grandmother’s spaghetti gravy at every holiday. We celebrate St. Joseph’s day and my grandfather sprinkles blessed St. Joseph’s bread around all of our houses during hurricane season for protection.
Q: Are there any classic Italian sayings that most Italians know?
A: I do not know of any sayings but almost every single person in my family is either a “Joseph”, “Joe”, “Josephine” or “Dominic.” I guess that keeps the family names alive and to honor our loved ones.
Q: Do you speak Italian?
A: Unfortunately, no.
Q: What about your family?
A: My great-great grandparents spoke Italian.
Q: What do you love most about living on the upper Texas coast?
A: I love that I have the beach and there are so many different things to do and especially the small-town atmosphere where everyone knows everyone.