Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Never Ending Story

A nice email again from Mario in Northern Italy. The magazine is now in print featuring the story my father-in-law, WW2 veteran who published his war memoirs and memories, which culminated in the villages near Torino and Racconigi.

I remember when I first saw some of Bud's photos from the war. He showed a picture of a road where every tree had every branch splintered and stripped bare of leaves. The devastation of the war had been vividly captured.

But Mario's letter this morning shares the brighter side of this war, the warmth and hope that had been inspired by the arrival of the Americans.

Dear Ed. Since our first mail, I have never spent so much time without writing. The fact is that we have been so busy organizing things... But my main difficulty was (is) how to express the feelings and the consequences of the article about Bud. All people were touched, and we had been waiting for such a reaction. But now, all people have begun remembering, also the younger ones: my grandfather used to tell me… My aunt… My father in law…

One surprising meeting I had was with a young man from Murello. It’s a small town seven km from Racconigi, were Bud used to go dancing and having dates. This man told me that an old aunt of his always used to remember those young Americans; there was one who reached Murello by jeep and offered “caramelle”; those sweeties were inside a tobacco can. One evening the soldier wasn’t near the jeep and the children opened the can so as to give a look inside, being prepared to receive “caramelle” later. The can was full of tobacco!

Maybe the man wasn’t Bud but I listened to the story and it was just like if Bud was there speaking to me.

Today and tomorrow we’ll have all magazines in kiosks and libraries; then we’ll be able to collect bookings of And There Shall Be Wars and organize orders and shipping. Our Mayor wants us to have another public presentation on the main square, during our summer feasts. A never ending story! But a beautiful story.

Now I’m busy preparing the second issue, but no longer stressed: I’ll write you again soon, so as to go on keeping in touch. A town-wide kiss to Bud and your whole family. Mario

If you are interested in seeing this feature story, in the new historical magazine "Terre di seta", I have uploaded it to my personal website and it can be viewed here: articolo_bud.pdf

According to Mario, “Terre di seta”, that means “a silky country”: a very original part of their agricultural past was bound to silkworm breeding and in the pre-industrial production of threads. The magazine will deal with all aspects of everyday life in their past, mainly based on personal memories and private archives, hence Bud's story was a natural fit for their leadoff issue. The magazine is the product of a non-profit cultural Association supported by local private sponsors with no public help. It is a product of volunteers, although they are all professionals, headed up by Prof. Bartolo Gariglio, deputy director of the History Department of the University of Turin.

May we all remember our histories, and pass their lessons on to future generations.