Page 20 - Trapped in a Diamond

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Trapped in a Diamond
Italy. He came from a good family, but life in a small Italian town in the
1940s was far from what she had imagined. In Italy, the south was very
different from any other place in Italy, especially if you resided in a small
town where everybody knows everybody. Every move you made or any
dress you wore was news that would spread throughout the whole town
within minutes.
I was seven or eight years old when my grandfather passed away. It was
customary for close members of the family to wear black for a year.
Men wore a black armband; women wore black from head to toe. My
mother would not comply. The etiquette book said that one could wear
grey, so for one year, she wore every shade of grey that existed, from
almost white in the summer to almost charcoal in the winter. People in
the town gossiped about this for many years, but she felt she had won a
battle. She wanted to change all the old southern Italian customs, and
she tried to change them one at the time. I am curious why my father al-
lowed her to do this. He had lived outside the town to study, and maybe
he was also tired of the old traditions. Nevertheless, this illustrates the
rebellious actions of my mother. She could not win the war, but she was
happy to win some battles.
My father was very much in love with my mother and knew that her life
with him fell short of her expectations. He worked very hard to get out
of the little town and move to the big city of Rome. My mother knew
that if she did not obey my father and satisfy his need to be the priority
in her life, she would not be treated well. He had made it clear, in that
small community, that even though she worked and earned the same
amount of money he did, he was the head of the family. It was very im-
portant for him to have his wife always next to him and always available,
with no interferences. And we, their children, were interferences.