In any case, I hoped to celebrate by interviewing my husband, the resident father here amid the olive trees, about his life and then sharing that with you. Unfortunately, he is busy working on a project over there in the corner on his computer (as usual) and not really that interested in answering my nosy questions. Poor guy, never a moment of peace and quiet!
Here's what I managed to drag out of him . . .
1. What is your full name?
2. Why did your parents select this name for you?
Francesco was the name of my maternal grandfather. Gerardo comes from Saint Gerardo, who my mother had prayed to during her pregnancy with me.
|He's the little guy on the left|
3. Did you have a nickname?
My friends and family called me Ciccio.
4. When and where were you born?
I was born on the kitchen table in my family home in southern Italy. That's the way things were done back then.
5. What is your earliest childhood memory?
I remember receiving a gold watch from my Uncle Rino at my first communion. I was 8 years old and that watch was a special treasure.
6. What kind of games did you play growing up?
My family had a large farm in the countryside and I played outside all the time with my brothers and sisters and cousins. We had slingshots we used to kill lizards. We set up a stand by the side of the road and sold farm vegetables, peeled almonds and mint flavored ices to passersby.
|With his cousins in the countryside (3rd from left)|
7. What was your favorite thing to do for fun?
We had a black and white TV and I loved to lie on my stomach and watch films on summer mornings.
8. Did you have family chores?
Yes, my brothers and sisters and I always helped my mother in the house and with chores on the farm. I remember all of us sitting around a large table shelling almonds. My father would pay us 10 liras for each bag of peeled almonds and we kids always tried to steal each other's almonds to make more money. We were also paid for helping gather the olives and other chores like that.
9. What was school like for you as a child?
In elementary school the classes were divided into either all-boy or all girl sections. I shared a desk with Giovanni, who is still a good friend of mine.
10. What were your best and worst subjects?
I liked math the best, but the other subjects were okay, too.
11. What was fashion like back then?
I was a very fussy dresser, differently from now! I spent a lot of time and care in choosing my outfit each day and if I got the least little bit dirty I would go home and change my clothes. I wore very large eyeglasses that look rather strange to me now.
That's all I could get out of him for now, but I am persistent, so there may be more installments to the Francesco story!