During my stay in FL's (first love) parental home I fortunately wasn't home very much. Of course he wanted to show me as much as possible of Sicily. But the days where he had something to do in the morning I was locked in. Literally. As soon as I put my nose outside the house there where curious eyes. At that time I didn't realize why. I just couldn't imagine that people had never seen such a species like me. I had nothing special at least up in the north, I only was blond and tall. But in 1964's Sicily I must have looked like an alien.
After 2 times staying a whole morning in the house, I had enough and revolted. I wanted to go out and right away ! I have to admit that I was quite a spoiled brat and when I didn't get what I wanted I could become very furious. Finally Zia (aunt) Petrina had enough of my show told me to shut up (she spoke Italian as the other members of the family) knotted her black scarf under her chin, armed herself with a black umbrella opened the door and pushed me out in the morning sun. I wondered why she took an umbrella in this dazzling sunshine and no rain clouds around but finally it wasn't my business, at least I now was out of the house.
After a few steps, some children followed us laughing, pointing at me and jumping around. That was normal I thought. But then suddenly teenaged boys and young men followed us too making ¨probably very salacious remarks, because Zia Petrina suddenly transformed into a fury. This little woman, looking like a grey (or rather black) mouse with her grey hair and the knot on top of her head, always covered by her black scarf when she went out, took her ombrella and started beating furiously on every human she could reach. And she beat very strong. She didn't care where or whom she hit she just blindly beat around with her ombrella.
As always in dangerous or strange moments, I have a sort of black out and only see the comic side of the situation and of course this one made me laugh. I didn't realize anything. Now the young men went back and all this scenery was accompagnied with loud screaming and gesticulating and house doors and windows opened to watch this riot. And I stand there in the middle, probably dressed half naked in their eyes and laughed. I couldn't help it.
Today when I think about this situation, I really had the innocence of youth (I was only 23 and not a bit mature) and didn't realize at all what could have happened. Anyway suddenly 2 police cars showed up and I don't remember how many policemen jumped out and shouted at the men and started to beat them with their batons. Now I too was afraid. But Zia Petrina, with a satisfied look at me, took my arm and lead me home, pushed me inside the house and said " See ! You can't go out here !"
Yes, apparently, even I with my pighead had to agree.This isn't Zia Petrina because I don't have any picture of her. Old woman for a young girl were not very interesting of course. But she must have looked like this one. A face carved by a hard life. In 1964 women were dressed like this. Today probably not anymore at least not in cities. But at that time widows were always dressed in black from top to bottom and others too from a certain age on of course. I wondered why they all were dressed in black especially in this heat. They told me that when one family member dies the woman wears black even if it's only a distant cousin, uncle or aunt. As there are always a family member who dies, they never get out of wearing black.
if you want to read another story it's here