Wednesday, July 30, 2008

GOING HOME



The dinner dishes were done, Patience and whippets were upstairs, and I was sitting at the kitchen counter with a glass of wine listening to Pavarotti and Boccelli videos on You Tube. Although I could not understand a word of what they were singing, the music and the sound of the language seemed to grab hold of me and pull me back to a long time ago, a time when my world knew wrinkled, white haired old ladies in black dresses and shoes, old men in baggy trousers and tired sweaters with drooping mustaches and smelly old stogies held in place by yellow teeth. To one another they spoke words I did not know, to others in a heavily broken English.

For whatever reason, the music, the language, or both, I wanted to go back, I wanted to burrow deep into my past, to reach back and touch all that went before me, our home, my family, and especially my parents. The experience of that evening was simply an exclamation point on a process that has been steadily building in importance over the past few years, my growing desire to reconnect with the world of my childhood, a world rich in ethnicity that I took for granted. This world of immigrants and first generation Italian-Americans that molded my parents is no more, and the older I get the more I realize how much that world has defined me. It was both Italian and American, but of course the Italian element would be almost gone by the time I left home for college, and for so many years I never gave it much thought. But now, as I close in on my 70th birthday, it continues to grow in importance to me, and I wonder, how will I react when I arrive, for the first time, in Italy this fall. That is where it all began.

5 comments:

Abby Creek Art said...

I'm not Italian but I feel like was in a previous life! You will be blown away by Italy's beauty, Bill. James and I went there on our honeymoon and it was the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The people, the landscape, the food...you will be so inspired. Wish we could fit in your suitcase!

Villager said...

Have a great trip. I sure hope to see some italian paintings here after you get back!

timerulesmylife said...

You aren't gonna be 70! Heck you look like a spring chicken!

Brenda said...

When I set foot on Irish soil for the first time, I felt I had come home, and I think you will feel the same way when you go to Italy.

Linda said...

I've never heard a bad thing about visiting Italy! I think we all look forward to seeing how you interpret the Italian landscape in your paintings!