22/3 2020, Gärdesta. Sörmland, Sweden
Today it is the last day in quarantine for me, going back to Stockholm tomorrow, home. It is the last post of this blog, that I really don’t know if it has been for better or worst. And I wish I can conclude with some hope.
In the family we have decided to hold a kind of “distanced socialization”, where our encounters will be either on the internet (thank you God we have the web today!) or mostly outdoor. Even Easter celebration is planned that way: in the woods, with a thermos and a sandwich each. Could be cool!
Yesterday I got this incredible picture from Sil Meux on FB, thank you for this! It is a picture taken around 1965 in my beloved Champoluc. We were Milanese tourists there, spending the whole summer in the village, three months of life so different from the city life of Milan. We were not so many tourists in the village of Champoluc in these years, and we knew each other. Freedom and nature all around us. Only ten years after the II World War.
In these old days, there were very few hotels and restaurants in Champoluc. There was a very small lift with small coloured eggs going up to Crest, where people still lived year round. A short walk from the top of the lift there was a restaurant and pension, that we all called La Nina, from the name of the great woman who was doing most of the job there, especially the delicious cooking. La Nina never married and worked with her brother and her mother at the small pension all her life. Later in the Seventies and Eighties, at the end of the season, she always travelled to Africa, to the deserts, to the savanna, to see the world. To be more secure in the African continent, she always brought a manly companion from Champoluc with her: a worker from the lift station or the snow cats. Then she went back to her kitchen and became La Nina again for the next season. Her food then! You know, before we invented "local and km 0", the chicken, the cows breading on the fields outside. The milk and the cheese we ate in the Sixties in Champoluc! Polenta, spezzatino, carbonade, chicken, peperonata.
In the picture, we are in the kitchen of La Nina. Everyone went to the kitchen to pick up our food from big casseroles on the open fire. Nothing strange with that, not being in a time of Covid 19. This particular day, Nina served Bagna Cauda, which is a Piemontese food, based on olive oil, sardellas and garlic, that you eat with bread and vegetables - mostly cabbage.
It is ten years after the war, and I see the eyes of everybody there (perhaps with the exception of my beautiful mother’s distanced dreaming) full of expectation. For the delicious food. And for a good life in the present. There is a hope in their eyes that I remember and I recognise even when I have the chance of seeing some old Super 8 movie my father produced in these same years. I see people laughing and playing with childish and true joy.
I know that my grandchildren today are joyous because they have a great lot of love from their parents and family. And I wish them, as well as all other kids, that the world of today and of tomorrow, once we pass through the moment of Covid 19, could remember what is really important for us all. I wish that we together could be more hopeful and joyous, that we could appreciate small simple things again. I wish we could together go back to places and people who love what they do and share it with all around. I wish soon to be back home here in Sweden and in Italy, feeling safe again.