My Grandma has never been a very easy going person.
She was a war times woman, who moved during her childhood from the big city bombardments to a little lake town on Lago Maggiore.
She was and still is, maybe now in her late 80s more than ever, a very hard worker.
She came from a quite poor and very respectable family who worked and suffered during fascism, fed homeless with local nouns as a child, was a nanny to a French rich family in her teenage-hood, brought her goats to graze on the day of her first period and cried from her severe father who was mad even for the slightest sign of lip balm on her lips.
She met my grandpa by accident on a summer Balera, and with her difficult and charming beauty, got his heart the minute after. He couldn’t get her out of his mind for years until they randomly met again and got married.
Later in the years, they grew a successful business together, working hard day and night as fruit and vegetable wholesalers for big markets.
They bought houses, had a daughter. She was a distant mother, mainly focused on her life and business, one of those 60’s mothers who use to tell their daughter not to touch flowers during ‘those days’ or they would wither. She still is a difficult grandma, one who is hard to classify.
She feeds you biscuits and the moment after gets in the deepest sadness. She is maybe a simple woman of those times, one who kept most of her deepest desires and fears hidden, infused with the atmosphere of shady parties in front of the chimney, smoking cigarettes in the most naive innocence of her times. A sudden happy time of successes which came after the war, a sudden money capability which followed a childhood of sacrifices.
The main object which always caught my attention in my grandma’s house is her alabaster colorful eggs. Beautiful round shaped marble stones, perfectly useless
and always presented together in a copper bowl in her entrance hall. Every alabaster egg is different and unique in its own way. Some of them have a pencil text written on them explaining their provenience and age. Most of them were collected by my grandma when she started being a ‘bourgeois’ and entered adulthood in couture feathered dresses, choosing holidays in France and end of the year parties which never ended before morning.
Here, from 2018, I can only dream about times which are gone but always present in me by looking at her house, hearing her stories, watching a movie, wearing everyday something of her, and dreaming about having the same collection of alabaster eggs to show my grandsons one day.
A memory of Amanda Ballerini.