ItalianSide Stories: Time Travel

A book from Abruzzo: Fontamara
June 11, 2012
High five in Pisa
July 8, 2012

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Time Travel – by Ann S.

When my grandparents immigrated from Italy they left their families behind, knowing that they would never see them again.
Back in the 50’s my grandfather was getting on in years. My father and his siblings decided to bring my grandfathers’ only remaining brother and his wife to America for a reunion. Unfortunately, before they got here my grandfather passed away. Since they had already bought the tickets they decided to have them come anyway.

To them it must have been like time traveling into the future.
They had no indoor plumbing, they heated by the fireplace and got their water by carrying it from the fountain in the square.
When they came here they were amazed by things like paper bags, prepared food, and TV.
They left here with new ideas and a suitcase full of mayonnaise and cake mixes.

A year or two later we went to visit them (with a suitcase full of mayonnaise and cake mixes).
They had bought a refrigerator and a TV.
All the people in the town would come over in the evening to watch the few show being broadcast, with chairs lined up like a movie theater.
They had built a bathroom on to the little porch they had and put a tank on the roof.
My fathers’ aunt would fill the tank with water she carried in a crock on her head from the town square (never spilled a drop).
All this my fathers’ uncle built just by looking at how it was done here.
It certainly was an interesting trip for us.

It was like traveling back in a time machine, but we learned how much people can do without all our modern conveniences.
They used everything, there was no garbage. Even the corn cobs were used as corks for the wine bottles.
But, the food was good, it was all about family, and there was no stress.
Sounds like a good life to me!