Chapter 3 – The House Goes Dark

As the number of "relatives" grew, we moved to Roberto's Restaurant

At Teresa and Vittorio’s apartment, it seemed like every ten minutes there was a knock at the door … more relatives.

Soon their house was full and even aunt Loretta trying to record who was who, finally admitted that the family tree’s branches were drooping from overload.

We moved to Roberto’s restaurant, for more room. But did anyone even check whether all of these people were relatives, or just customers who came in and joined the party?

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**  * * Fifty years earlier, my grandparents and family gathered in their Lorain, Ohio basement …
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Roberto and Gisselle

Roberto and Giselle are cousins of some sort.  Only Aunt Loretta can sort it out.  They own a restaurant, named Deliza, on the hillside above the family farm. Everyday they watch over the family farm, from their window, as they cook Italian food.

Roberto would like to purchase the farm, but the Milan businessman who owns it won’t sell.


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Suddenly, Doug is an international star

There is no shortage of entertainment at any Italian gathering.  However, since we were the reason for this assemblage we felt obligated to do something special.  Doug brought out his guitar and sang songs from West Virginia, and his Garagecow Ensemble CD. Suddenly he was an international star.

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The problem was that the audience didn’t look like the sort who bought CD’s.

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I stepped out from the party-reunion into the quiet night. There was a soft drizzle falling as I walked across the street and looked down the hill toward the family farm. The house had gone dark. Cosenza was glowing in the distance. Dogs barked, crickets chirped, as the family party continued.

The family farm at night with the lights of Cosenza

The farm was the only place with nothing there. There was no light, no noise, just the vibrations from the past which were even stronger now that it was dark.

The new life was up on the hill behind me. The old life was down there.  That place, which affected me so strongly, will affect my children less so, and their children even less than that. This is nothing new.  It is not sad.  It is just what happens as new life buries the old.

At my grandmother’s funeral, my father turned to me and said, “Well, that’s the last of the old people. I guess I’m next.”  Before I had a chance to comfort him, he added, “And that means that you’re after me.” Thanks dad. Maybe I should get back to the party.

With the intensity of the past few days at the farm,  it was time for a road trip.  Roberto offered to drive us through the Calabrian county side the next day.

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When talking about the past, everything beyond the village was a half day, a full day or a two day donkey-cart ride away.

My brother found a few donkey shoes at the house. He imagined that they belonged to the donkeys that powered the family donkey-cart.

We were glad for Roberto’s car. It was our magic donkey-cart. With it we would fly through the countryside visiting the mountains and the sea covering two or even three donkey-cart days in one.

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* * * * Until we encountered the cows …


We weren't sure whether they were smiling or sneering

The cows set the pace on mountain roads.
They roll things back to the days of the donkey-carts.
And I think that they secretly enjoy doing it.

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When walking in the fog, look up occasionally

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I understood the part that, on a clear day, from the top of this hill, overlooking the ocean, you could see Africa. I didn’t pick up on the part about the giant Jesus. When I caught up with the uncles, I thought that they were searching for a hole in the fog. When one of them said “I can’t find Jesus, I know he is here somewhere,” I started to worry.  Then I looked up.

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Next, please …

Continue on to the final chapter,
“Which Way is Home?”
by clicking on the keyhole to the left.
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or you can …

 

GO BACK OR FORWARD A CHAPTER …

 Chapter 1 – Finding the Key

Chapter 2 – Exploring the House

Chapter 3 – The House Goes Dark

Final Chapter, Which Way Home? 

 


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