Ida De Vincenzo

I have many memories of my childhood and although some images have been erased with the pass of thetime, others were deeply engraved in my soul and that is why I want to transmit them, so that they are not forgotten.

They are small stories, everyday things but not less important, are the things that help to understand the life and character of a family.

Each story is worth every one of them is valuable, many may be alike but never completely the same.

I could say a lot about my dad, he was a simple, sensitive man, he liked nature, the outdoors and, above all, the earth. He worked a little out of necessity but out of love for her. Every seed for him was valuable, he took care of it with great care and dedication. He cultivated from the humble lettuce to the most sophisticated things to collaborate with the family economy. He raised rabbits, little pigs from India, but there came a time when we became so attached to them that we wept and prayed for their lives. We finally refused to eat them and then stopped raising them. Who knows if he did not deprive himself of something he wanted to not see our tears!

He suffered greatly from the consequences of the war, avoided talking about the subject, said that they were very sad things. He always repeated “Better to forget.” However, his attitude changed when he asked about his war wound. I had been wounded in combat, on the elbow, I was proud to have a dad who was a war veteran but at the same time did not understand how he had been able to shoot another person. One day, overcoming my shyness, I encouraged myself and without measuring my words I asked him how he had been able to do it: he looked at me and I could see in his eyes a great resignation. Then, with a lot of conviction and simple words, he told me: “If I did not shoot him he would kill me.” And at that moment I realized that I had no other way out, until today I remember him and I am moved by a truth so cold and absolute

When we first arrived in Argentina he began to work, but a work accident immobilized him for almost a year. When he was retired he got work on the municipal asphalting crews and, when they made jokes about him, he always answered “You do not know what it is to work in the street: in winter the cold that freezes your bones and in summer with the hot pitch under the inclement sun your soul burns you. ”

We also had a store in our house, and he helped us secure ourselves financially and also adapt to the place. Our clientele was varied, sometimes difficult to understand. Many times they did it by means of signs, you can imagine what it cost to talk and sometimes the funniest things happened; I remember a conversation between my mother and a lady of Paraguayan origin who worked in the house of a neighbor: my mother spoke of one thing and the lady answered on another very different, but both followed an imaginary thread of conversation, then I with childish innocence I warned my mom to stop and she looked at me and I said, “Stay calm, do not worry”.

We had in the house a large courtyard full of drawers and bottles where my pope occasionally sat in an empty soda box and there he began to write to his family; he told them how good it was to live here, but at that moment there was a great sadness in his eyes, distant memories came back to him, things about the mountains, ancient customs, legends, he was accustomed to the difficulties of life, but defended of the irremediable idealizing. When she had a few lines to finish it, she would call me “Vieni, Vieni” to write something for the aunts, but at that time I was very young and could not write, so he patiently drew the letters on a piece of paper and I copied them in the letter. It was almost always the same words: “Care Zie.” When he finished writing them his face lit up with a big smile, it was a magical moment, to know that there, far away, passing a great ocean, there were people who loved us and thought of us.

The letters took a long time to arrive, the day he received the news of the death of one of his sisters, when he read it he wanted to speak but could not, his eyes fogged, a quiet but deep cry came from his eyes. At that moment he assumed reality and was certain that despite his longing he would never have the opportunity to return to his mountains, to embrace his loved ones. Then for many weeks the house was dressed in strict mourning.

In the neighborhood was a revolution when he moved to the Line of Collectives 47, made so much noise that sometimes we were not allowed to sleep. My dad always said they did not do it on purpose, they were working. But many nights he had to get up to go to the administration and remind them that he had to get up at 4.30 in the morning to go to work. Despite these small incidents always took them to drink, something warm in winter, and something cool in summer.

When he became ill, all people visited him, he was never alone. He was a very considerate man, his character with the passing of the years was molded, had the simplicity of who sees reality, and knows that whatever he does can not change it.

The day of his death there was a long procession to accompany him to his last home.

“I have a history similar to many Calabrian immigrant women. I was born in Cropalati, Calabria.-Italy, in a village above the mountain, which seems to be drawn from some story, from any place you can see beautiful landscapes. I was born when the Second World War was over, my dad had been fighting and we had suffered the consequences, so we emigrated, I was 2 years old. Although the years passed, in the house of my parents, there was always talk of the same thing: the distant land, the nostalgia, the family and things inherent to the Calabrian family, that is why culture and the Italian language importance in my life, I was always in contact with my roots. After 50 years I was able to return, to know and to receive the affection of my distant family, I was moved by the splendor of the landscapes of a world that I now recognize as my own, I was born again , I was able to unite yesterday and today. It is my second house, as I like to call it, because in my heart this Italy and Argentina alike … Some years ago a casual fact approached the painting, it is linked to the soul and, without looking, it was transformed into a cry that comes from the depths of my interior and is reflected in colors and experiences recovered … “



Ho tanti ricordi della mia infanzia e anche se qualche immagine si é
cancellato col passare del tempo, altre sono rimaste profondamente
incise nella mia anima. Le voglio trasmettere affinché non siano

Sono piccole storie, cose quotidiane, ma non per questo meno
importanti, sono le cose che ci aiutano a comprendere la vita ed il
caratere di una famigia.

Ogni storia ha una grande valore, molte sono simili ma nessuna uguale.

Portrei dire tante cose di mio padre, fu un uomo semplice e sensibile.
Gli piaceva la natura, stare all’aperto e soprattutto la terra. La
lavorava non tanto per necessitá ma per l’amore che lo legava ad essa.
Per lui ogni seme aveva valore. Lo curava con tanto amore e dedizione.
Per contribuire all’economia familiare, coltivava dall’umile lattuga
alle piante piú preziose. Allevava conigli e maialini d’India, e noi
ragazzi ci affezionammo tanto a qauesti animaletti che non volevamo
piú mangiarli. Quindi mio padre smise di allevarli. Chissá se mio
padre si privó di mangiare ció che gli piaceva per non vedere le
nostre lacrime?

Ha sofferto tanto le conseguenze della guerra, evitava l’argomento
dicendo che erano cose tristi. Diceva sempre “maglio dimenticare”.
Tuttavia il suo atteggiamento cambiava quando gli kchiedevano della
sua ferita di guerra. Era stato ferito in combattimento, al gomito. Io
mi sentivo orgogliosa di avere un papá veterano di guerra. Ma allo
stesso tempo non riuscivo a capire come avesse potuto sparare a un
altro uomo. Un giorno, vincendo la mia timidezza, e senza misurare le
parole gli chiesi come avesse potuto fare una cosa del genere. Mi
guardó e vidi nei suoi occhi una grande rassegnazione. Allora con
grande convinzione e parole semplici mi rispose: “se non gli avessi
sparato io mi avrebbe sparato lui”. In quel momento mi resi conto che
non c’era stata alternativa. Ancora oggi lo ricordo e mi commuovo
davanti a questa veritá cosí fredda ed assoluto.

Appena arrivati in Argentina, inizió a lavorare, ma un incidente o
immobilizzó per quasi un anno. Una volta rimesso, ottenne un lavoro al
comune come operaio. Lavorava nella manutenzione delle strade. E
quando lo prtendevano in giro, rispondeva sempre: “voi non sapete che
cosa significhi lavorare all’aperto: in inverno il freddo ti congela
le ossa e d’estate il catrame caldo sotto il sole inclemente ti brucia
finanche l’anima”.

Avevamo anche un alimentari, che ci aiutó tanto economicamene. La
nostra clientela era molto varia e talvolta era difficile comunicare,
spesso ci intendevamo a segni. Succedevano anche cose curiose, ricordo
una conversazione tra mia madre e una signora paraguaiana che lavora
lí vicino. Mia madre parlava di una cosa e la signora rispondeva
un’altra, ma entrambe continuavano questa conversazione come seguendo
un filo immaginario. Io, nella mia innocenza lo feci notare a mia
mamma, ma lei mi rispose: “sta’ tranquilla, non ti preoccupare”.

Avevamo a casa un cortile pieno di casse e bottiglie. Mio padre alle
volte si sedeva su una di quelle casse e si metteva a scrivere alla
famiglia in Italia, e gli raccontava quanto era bello vivere qui. In
certi momenti nei suoi occhi traspariva una grande tristezza, gli
tornavano ricordi lontani: i suoi monti, i costumi secolari, le
leggende; era abituato alle difficoltá della vita, e si difendeva
dall’irremidiabile idealizzandolo. Quando gli mancavano poche righe
alle fine della lettera, mi chiamava: “vieni, vieni”, voleva che
scrivessi anch’io qualcosa alle zie, ma all’epoca io ero troppo
piccola e non sapevo scrivere, allora lui con tanta pazienza disegnava
le lettere su un foglio a parte e io le copiavo. Erano sempre le
stesse parole, “care zie”, quando finivo di scrivere, il suo volto si
illuminava con un grande sorriso, era un momento magico, avvertivo che
oltre l’oceano c’erano persone che ci volevano bene.

Le lettere tardavano tanto ad arrivare, il giorno che ricevette la
notizia della morte di sua sorella, dopo averla letta non riuscí a
parlare. I suoi occhi si sciolsero in un pianto sommesso ma profondo.
in quel momento ebbe la certezza che non sarebbe mai piú ritornato a
rivedere i suoi monti e a riabbracciare le persona amate. Per tante
settimane la casa si vestí di lutto stretto.
Nel quartiere, quando arrivó la linea 47 del pullman, ci fu una
rivoluzion. Facevano tanto rumore che allevolte non si poteva dormire,
mio padre diceva che lo facevano di proposito, e molte notti dovette
alzarsi e andare a protestare , e ricordargli che anche lui lavorava e
che si alzava alle 4:30 del mattino. Ciononostante, spesso portava
loro bevande fresche d’estate e calde d’inverno. Quando si ammaló
tutti venivano a trovarlo, non fu mai solo. Fu un uomo molto
rispettato; il suo carattere aveva la semplicitá di chi vive la
realtá, consapevole che non si puó cambiare. Il giorno della sua morte
un corteo lunghissimo lo accom,pagnó nel suo ultimo viaggio

“Sono una donna la cui storia si assomiglia a quella di tante donne
immigranti calabresi. Nata a Cropalati, in Calabria, Italia, in un
paesino di montagna, proprio da favola, e da dove si possono osservare
bellissimi paesaggi. Sono nata nel dopoguerra ed essendo mio padre
reduce di guerra ne soffrivamo le conseguenze, il che ci ha costretto
ad emigrare quando io avevo due anni. Sebbene gli anni passassero, dai
miei genitori gli argomenti di conversazione erano sempre gli stessi:
la terra lontana, la nostalgia, la famiglia e tutto ciò che riguardava
la famiglia calabrese. Questi sono i motivi per cui la cultura e la
lingua italiana hanno acquistato fondamentale importanza nella mia
vita. Sono sempre stata in contatto diretto con le mie radici. Dopo 50
anni ci sono ritornata, ho potuto conoscere e ricevere l´affetto della
mia famiglia lontana. Sono rimasta commossa dallo splendore dei
paesaggi di un mondo che adesso sento veramente mio. È la mia seconda
casa, come mi piace chiamarla. Finalmente sono riuscita ad allacciare
nel mio cuore l´Italia e l´Argentina.

Ida De Vincenzo