Back to my roots…..
My Mother was born in a small village in the mountains. When she was a young student nurse, her Papa (my Nonno) organised a marriage for her with an older, wealthier gentleman. My Mum ran away to England, met my Hungarian refugee Dad and woo hoo….I was the result. Needless to say, Nonno was seriously pissed off with my Mother and would not talk to her. So, she sent a peace offering to her parents….me.
I was two years old, dressed like a dolly and flew as an unaccompanied minor to Italy. Mum tells me she was crying but I just looked at her and said “bye bye” and toddled off with the hostess. Mum thought I’d be back in a few weeks and peace would be restored. Little did she know!!
There was a serious crowd waiting for me at Fumicino. All my Aunties, Uncles, my Mother’s cousins and of course, my Nonna and Nonno. One lady asked my Nonna “why are you all here? is the Queen coming from England?”
My Nonna replied “Queen? Who cares about the Queen? My grand daughter is coming to stay!”
And stay I did. My Nonno took one look at me and it was love. We were only two blue eyed people in the entire family and we were inseparable. Nonno took me to work with him everyday. My Nonna spoilt me rotten and all my Aunts and Uncles were available for serious play. I was loved and cherished and after a month or so, I forgot how to speak English. Many months past and my grandparents would not send me back. Eventually, my Mother came to get me…I didn’t have a clue who she was! I certainly didn’t want to go and live in cold, old England either.
During my time with my family, I recall we would go and visit my Great Granny in the family village. We would stay for days at a time. I was related to 75% of the town so I could wander anywhere and someone would always feed or water me. There were always kids to play with and we’d race down to the creek or up to the ruins of the fortress on the hill. My great Granny would bake bread in the outdoor wood fired oven and Zio Domenico would make wine from his grapes. It was a carefree and glorious time and the memories always make me smile.
So I wanted to go back and see the village. Years ago, this would take 3 to 4 hours but now there is the Autostrada. So we all pile into a hired car and off we trundle back to my roots.
The village is quieter. Most of our family have gone to live in the big smoke however, they have their homes there and my Aunties tell me that they escape back when the heat in Rome becomes unbearable. But on that day, it was really quiet. We wandered down to the river. Then I found my Great Granny’s house! No one lives there and the relative who owns it has done nothing to care for it. Very sad. The stables have gone and the garden is over grown. Zio Domenico’s grapes are still growing and we ate a few. They are so sweet! We also found the house my Mother and some of my Uncles were born in. It looks a lot smaller now.
After a jolly good wander, we headed to the village Trattoria for lunch. The family running it were also somehow-a-ruther related so here am I getting fed and watered again! Such a wonderful meal too….and the wine wasn’t bad either.