Click here to see Elisabetta art
|Later on I went to a Montessori Nursery School run by the nuns. All the little
girls wore pink and white dresses and all the little boys wore blue and white
dresses. My mother says that it took us forever to get home, because I insisted
on reading the numbers on all the license plates we passed. (Fortunately for
our schedule, cars were still in short supply). My teacher sent home a note saying
I was good in “matematica”.
When I was four we moved back to Canada. It was a hard transition for me. I had been taught to curtsey, and shake hands even with other children. I didn’t understand the rules of street play. We became a suburban Canadian family with Italian paintings on the walls, a treasure chest of memories, and some unusual vocabulary. When we clinked glasses we said “Salute” instead of “cheers”, and when my father had served you enough spaghetti at dinner, you let him know with the phrase: “Basta pasta”. My father continued to travel to Rome three or four times a year all through my growing up, and we all lived there (my sister had been born in 1956) for a summer when I was 14 and when I was 19.
After my father’s death in 1989 my mother and my sister and I travelled to Rome. It was a most fitting tribute for him. I was surprised at how much I was at ease there, how much it still felt like home. I haven’t been back since. I don’t want to go as a tourist, and I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed. But I will go soon. This work is only a beginning of stories that are interwoven in time and space. What’s a memory? What’s a story, a photo in the family album? How do I untangle the threads? I’m not Italian, but Rome is my city, and a home to which I will return.
|Romulus, Remus and Me|
The Elisabetta Story
We lived there until I was four, and I have so many rich and warm memories. There was an organ grinder who would come by with his monkey, and sometimes my father let me put money in the monkey’s cup. I would go every day with my mother to the market to buy the day’s supply of food. Italians love children and I got lots of attention. It was crowded and the rule was that if I got lost I was to go to the flower stand at the end of the road.
All copyrights to the artworks appearing are reserved by the Artist.