Tirrenia Italy, 1963’ish
Here I am, enjoying the sun in the back yard of our home. We lived here for several years and this was our family home when I was born. It had a great yard, lots of room for seven of us to run around. I was at my dramatic stage when this picture was taken. I believe that I had a future as an opera singer at the time, as I would sing a lot when I was supposed to be napping. We had a small swimming pool in our back yard, even though we lived only a few blocks from the beach. One time my mother and her friends put a card table and lawn chairs in the pool to play cards. Must have been a hot day! My younger brother and I drove play cars all over the place in the backyard, whether or not people were in the way. Our neighbor once came over and showed us how to make volcanoes out of the sandy soil in our front yard. (Ummm, he did use some sort of gunpowder so there was a real explosion). One time when we were running around in the house, we wound up in the downstairs heading for the bathroom. This was a normal escape route when someone was chasing you because there was a window in the bathroom and you could climb out and keep on running. However, this time we closed the door too fast and it had a glass front. My brother’s hand and wrist got really cut up badly. I don’t think we were allowed to use this escape route anymore as it was a really dramatic day. Although, once my older siblings were bouncing on an old army cot on the front porch and flipping over the railing and landing in a pile of sand that my father had put in the driveway (when he was building our pool). They got in a lot of trouble for using the cot as a makeshift trampoline.
Tirrenia Italy, 2003
You cannot imagine the emotions that I was feeling coming back home. My husband promised me he would take me there one day and he did in March 2003. Amazingly, after being gone for nearly 40 years, the little town I lived in seemed almost untouched. As we drove south from Pisa, it was like we were in the 60’s again. Everything was so familiar and I was even able to correctly tell my husband what streets to turn on and after the first try, here I was in front of my old home. The front fencing was different, but it was my home. I relived my cherished memories. We had heard that after we moved out a family of fourteen moved in. I was surprised that the house was still standing. No one was home, so I couldn’t impose and get a tour of the inside of the house. But I stood there, enjoying a very quiet Sunday morning looking at it. After my fill, we drove around the corner where some close friends used to live. Again, it was like time standing still. I had expected the beach to be riddled with Condo’s (after all, the Mediterranean Sea in Tuscany is a popular destination), but only a few restaurants had been added over the years. It was March so no one was at the beach, so my family and I had it all to ourselves for a few minutes.
My husband and children were very patient with me, allowing me time to gaze and remember. I had a great childhood that ended when my mother died when I was seven. So I had a lot to take in and now my memories can go on.