Page 14 - Trapped in a Diamond

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Trapped in a Diamond
After a month spent at the beach, my father liked to take trips and ex-
plore new locations north or south of Italy. I remember my mother
holding the map, giving directions to my father, who often ignored her
directions and got lost. I also remember sitting with my brother and
sister in the back seat of the car and being annoyed by my brother, who
wanted to sit by the window, but had to give it up because I suffered car
sickness and had to be close to the window. He made me pay for it by
pinching me and blaming me.
When I was born, my uncle, the mayor at the time, was convinced that
my parents selected the name Vittoria for me because of the democratic
victory in Italy in 1946. As a joke, he registered me as Vittoria Repub-
blica Italiana—literally, Vittoria Italian Republic. The reality was that
my grandmother’s name was Vittoria, and it was customary at the time
to name children after their grandparents. Regardless, I was officially
on the books as Vittoria Repubblica Italiana. It wasn’t until I entered
the educational system that the mistake was revealed, at which time my
name was changed to Vittoria Anna Antonia Rosa, reflecting my grand-
mothers’ names, step-grandmothers’ name, and then some. I can see
now that even from an early age, on some level, everybody had their
own idea of who I was or should be.
My father and mother were educators. Both parents were democrats
and very involved in politics. They taught during the day and devoted
most of their free time to social activism. They lived a life of privilege
and had the means to hire a housekeeper, a gardener, and a nanny to
take on the mundane details of domestic life. In my parents’ eyes, none
of these activities were noble or the least bit pleasurable, so they del-
egated such tasks to others—including the care of their children. They
spent very little time with us, except perhaps on holidays.