by Daniela A.
Lina was born on April 28, 1933 in Seui, a small mountain village in the historic region of Barbagia di Seulo. She spent her childhood and adolescence in her hometown together with her parents and younger brother (she also had 3 other siblings, who unfortunately died at a very early age).
She tells me that she often went to visit her grandparents who lived not far from her home and above all she reveals the dishes that her grandmother prepared only for her, being her favourite granddaughter. The grandmother died at the age of 85 and remembers that it was one of the first recognized cases of stomach cancer.
She reports that her father, a mine keeper, behaved towards her as if he were the male son who would have liked to take her wherever he went in the countryside of the village: he had even built her a tailor-made shovel to make "the pits in the vineyard", took her to collect bundles of wood in the evening, etc.. She told me amused about how she liked to catch grasshoppers and pull their legs off, jokingly calling herself a bit sadistic!
He attended school until the fifth grade, but unfortunately he could not continue studying because, like many boys at that time, he had to help his family in the countryside and in the vegetable gardens.
She remembers many things about the war period, in particular the misery, the displaced people, Mussolini's fascist procession, the Americans who gave chocolates as gifts, the bombing of Perdasdefogu: she still remembers vividly the flames caused by the bombs and how she and her family had hidden themselves in a cellar for a long time.
At the end of the war the crisis spread more and more and with it the black market: it was there that Lina and her mother Luigina learned to make soap to sell it in the markets of Sardinia. Aunt Luigina passed away at the age of 103 and Lina brings back her mother's memory with joy: she had organized great celebrations for her 100 years by inviting the whole village to the Seui retirement home where her mother lived.
At the age of 19 she met her future husband: she remembers meeting him for the first time in Loceri, at a relative's house. She claimed that they were in love, but in that period people got married more for other reasons than for true love.
They had nine children together, they moved to Turin because her husband worked at Fiat and later they decided to open a farm so that they could also give work to their children.
Lina, however, was not satisfied with this marriage so much so that she was ready to separate after years of endurance, but in order not to make her children suffer, she preferred to resist and chose to move back to Sardinia, to Samassi (her husband's village), with the whole family.
She stayed here for 15 years and to earn bread for a living she began to do some cleaning work, while her husband sold fruit and vegetables in the markets; she gradually managed to settle down economically thanks to the offer of the council house.
Lina says she has never been lucky in love, but after years she understood that it is better to live alone than poorly accompanied. A few years before her mother's death she discovered that at the age of 17 some man had asked for her hand in marriage and she never forgave her mother for not telling her: "who knows maybe it would have been better" she says.
I ask her about the relationship she had with her parents, if she agreed with the kind of upbringing she had. She tells me that she was taught first of all respect for others and in general she is quite satisfied with the education she received.
I also ask, how the elderly were considered in those days, what role they played within the family and what role they play today. Lina says that, before, reaching the age of 60 was considered a fortune, now, at 60 you still have a lot of life ahead of you.
According to her, the greatest duty of the elderly today is to transmit traditions and values; in this regard she tells me about the phone calls with her children to hand down recipes and shows me her specialties: culurgiones, gnocchetti, fregola.
I ask her how she expected her life as an old woman: she answers me that she absolutely did not expect to return to her hometown and explains to me why she came back: "in 97 I had to have thyroid surgery and the doctors told me absolutely to avoid sources of heat and humidity: that same year I came to Seui for Palm Sunday with my brother. I realized that I was fine there and so I thought that if I found a house in the center of the village I would move immediately, and I did!
She had also opened a bed and breakfast that she managed until she was 80 years old: she liked to pamper her customers with typical sweets and then she also says that thanks to that income she could afford what she wanted to live quiet and serene.
Lina lives alone in Seui, all her children are back in Turin but she is happy like that: she wakes up at 10 a.m., she does the cleaning, she prepares typical Sardinian dishes. Her greatest passions and pastimes are photography and sewing/ crochet: she shows me boxes of photographs from the 40s, 50s, 60s all carefully and lovingly preserved, divided between colour and black and white. Sewing is a passion she has cultivated since she was a little girl: she shows me her handmade works that she gives to her grandchildren when they come to visit her.
That's how she spends the day, a chat with friends, a phone call with relatives through Whatsapp, she listens to the radio and always keeps herself informed with newspapers and TV. She doesn't have any special wishes, she is fine like that and wishes other people to live life the way she did, because even having experienced some dark moments, she got up and came out stronger and more determined than before.
Lina is a woman full of life and also a bit vain as she likes to say: she likes to take care of herself, she never lacks nail polish and the jewels she loves to wear.
Thank you so much for telling her story, "a sa prossima"( See you next time!)!