In 1964 I was engaged to a Sicilian from Messina, my first love. After some plane adventures and others I found myself in his parent's home. It was a big yellow house with green stores which were always closed to keep the heat out. Only late evening and early morning they were opened to get fresh cool air in and then closed again. This way it was nice and cool in the house the only thing which bothered me and to which I was not used at all was to live with light the whole day while outside the sun was shining as if payed for.
A lot of visitors came during the whole day and popped in any time. There was always a very big bottle of red wine on the table for them. Sometimes they also stayed for a meal. Of course I always were the center of their attention and it was clear that they only came for me. I started to feel like a chimpanzee girl in a Zoo. The worst thing was that they all were talking together at the same time nobody seemed to listen to the other, I couldn't understand a word and that got very much on my nerves, because it was also very, very loud.
To escape to this (without a lot of success) I took a book and settled down in the garden. It was full of vegetables and not really a garden to sit down and rest. Everybody had to plant the most things he could, because the country was very poor and each piece of ground was used to let grow something to eat. A very friendly chicken was walking around me and cackled. I didn't know yet that my two legged friend would be roasted on the table at Sunday ! Of course that drove me sick, I couldn't eat a piece of it. I had never eaten an animal with which I just had talked the day before ! Of course my hosts couldn't understand my strange behavior, as they probably had prepared that for me.
I sat their peacefully reading, in shorts and a top. Suddenly I had the unpleasant feeling of being observed. I looked around and saw eyes starring on me behind the stores of the surrounding houses, which had been opened a little. I tried not to care. Today I realize it was quite provoking to them sitting there half naked in their eyes, being blond and tall, while all women were dressed in black and covered from top to bottom.
But suddenly I saw a man's head over the wall which separated the garden from others, and then two, and more and they changed while laughing and discussing probably all parts of my body. I told them in Italian to go away not angry but also laughing, because I thought if I would look angry they would even get more excited, and I had no intention to leave my nice sunny place to go inside the house in this electric light darkness.
Then they started to jump up and down the wall to look at me and suddenly one tried to climb over. In this moment a tiny little woman came running out of the house. She looked like a scarecrow, all dressed in black. She waved her arms in menacing gests and screamed to the boys, pulled me out of the chair and pushed me in the house. She was amazingly strong but at least one head smaller then I.
Inside the house she talked to me like a waterfall gesticulating at the same time. She looked really scaring. Outside I heard a police car and loud voices. It was Zia Petrina, the aunt and she decided that from that day I wasn't allowed to sit in the garden anymore and honnestly I didn't want to either. I suddenly could understand movie stars harassed by paparazzi.
Zia (which means aunt) Petrina became my body guard, I will write about her tomorrow.
Another of my Sicilian adventures was I HAVE BEEN AN ANGEL,