How our kids loved going over the river and through the woods to their Grandfather’s house in Italy! “It’s just like Heidi’s house!” they would enthuse. And it was, only not quite as isolated. And here (below), in fact, is the bridge we went over! It really is in a beautiful wooded area!
Mario’s humble birth home, in the Campania region, had few amenities. But sitting there in its backward village, it made an enchanting holiday spot for our children! Freely they could roam the entire countryside. Splash in the fountains and gather specimens of nature. Or visit their Nonno at the coffee bar where he played cards. Anticipating the ice cream cones he was sure to buy. And once in a while, catch a ride on a farmer’s donkey!
Such was a visit to Grandfather’s house! A different time. Simple days, with slow ways.
Simple pleasures and full lives — even without internet, shopping malls, and cell phones! Or perhaps… because of their lack! We made our own fun. Time spent with friends and neighbors. Time for watching ants crawl and birds fly. Time to smell the roses, take leisurely strolls, and relax without the stress of deadlines and schedules.
But even in the days of our first visits (in 1989) donkeys like this one were sadly already disappearing.
And so was the agriculture life that had really made Italy, well, Italy! A quality of life, being lost in Europe as a whole, as the cultures become more global (and monotonous). And in many ways, poorer.
But perhaps the financial crisis in the western world today will call us back to our roots. And teach us to reclaim many riches we’ve laid aside! I hope so, because I think places like our Grandfather’s House in Italy should always exist!
Did you have a special place, like the grandfather’s house, in your childhood? What made it special to you?