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Anna G.

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by Assuntina Z.

 

 

Name: Anna G.
Gender: F
Place of birth: Naples
Place of residence: Carbonia (SU)
Nationality: Italian

 

 

Back then

 

What year were you born?

I was born in 1941


Describe briefly the living conditions in your childhood (socio-economic status of the family, did you grow up in a nuclear family (how many children) or in an extended family (did you live with paternal or maternal grandparents, uncles and their families, did you go to school?).
I was born in 1941, so in wartime. My father was embarked and, to escape the bombardments, we were displaced in a country of Benevento, also because food was scarce in the city. There was always the constant presence of the mother's family, grandmother and two aunts. Back in the city, when I was five years old, I started school, starting from kindergarten.


Describe briefly the circumstances of your life from adolescence to retirement (higher education, falling in love, marriage, career, children, holidays and travel, visions of society, environment, role of mobility) Was everything satisfactory, difficult, eventful?

The school career was quiet, I liked studying and I always read a lot. At the classical high school, after a family struggle, I preferred not to enroll at the University and to work in the biggest bookshop in Naples, where we also organized conferences of great interest and exhibitions of contemporary art. These were very rewarding years, which also allowed me to travel alone. It was working in contact with the public that I discovered that society is not the muffled and protected world in which I lived. In the bookstore I met my future husband, whom I married in 1968, in full student protest. Those were the years of my growing up. We made a somewhat eventful life choice, moving to live in Sardinia, a choice we could make if we didn't have children and my husband had a free profession, while I was giving up my job. Now I am retired. I lost my husband eight years ago and I decided to stay in Sardinia.

What was the position of older people when you were young (how were the most important decisions such as choices for education, profession, retirement planning. Please share a story that illustrates the intergenerational relationships in the society in which you grew up.

There was absolute respect for older people, but decisions were made at home by my parents. At that time, a glance was enough for children to obey, and they were not allowed to participate in the speeches of grown-ups. The difference between generations was evident from the way people addressed their maternal grandmother: we grandchildren called her "you", while my mother and her sisters, and therefore her daughters, called her "you.

 

Describe the intergenerational relationships in your family (Did your parents or your spouse/partner's parents take care of their parents and help you with your children and run the house? Did you live with your parents or spouse/partner? Did you take care of them when they were very old?)

The paternal grandparents died quite young, but I remember grandfather, who came every Sunday in the morning to say goodbye to us, while we all often went to their house to visit them. And the parties, whatever they were, with everyone in our house. I didn't know the maternal grandfather, but the grandmother, "Grandma" for all the grandchildren, spent long periods in the house with us. As a married woman I lived alone with my husband, both in Naples, where I often returned to my family of origin, and in Sardinia. My mother-in-law lived with us for a few years after her husband's death. During the summer it was my parents who spent long periods with us. With the death of my father and the many years of my mother it was tiring and sometimes painful to manage the distance.

 

Nowadays


Please compare what you thought about old age when you were young, your expectations about your retired life and what it is really like now (it is your golden age when you realize all the desires of the past; it is time to enjoy moments of leisure with your grandchildren and family sharing your knowledge and experience; it is a time of loneliness without friends and being marginalized)? What does retirement mean to you?

As a girl, living in a family that was always solicitous with older people, I sometimes thought that it would be nice to grow old and sometimes I looked sadly at losing my independence. I am lucky because, being an old person by now, I am still healthy, I live alone with a cat and I look after myself, I enjoy retirement and continue to have many interests, being very intellectually curious. I can travel and I dedicate myself to volunteering: I am vice president of an association that deals with cancer patients and I am a facilitator of the Auto Mutual Aid Group of Cagliari. The headquarters of the Association is in Cagliari and therefore I am often in that city that I love and where I have also lived for thirteen years.


Describe briefly the living conditions in your current life (living alone or with your spouse/partner or children or in the retirement home, your pension is sufficient for a dignified life, for health, for communication with children and friends in the country or abroad).
I currently live in Carbonia and when I can follow the various cultural activities on site: conferences, cinema, theatre, music and cultivating friendships. I go to Naples for my family of origin: sister, cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, and friends even from high school. In Cagliari I have friends from the years I lived there, and also many of the members of the Association.


Please describe your daily habits in the present (taking care of grandchildren, socializing with friends, neighbors, extended family members, health care) Activities such as art, playing music, going to concerts, cinema, theatres, gardening, hobbies, being active in tenants' advice, volunteering in community centers, environmental organizations, pets and other animal organizations, etc. should be suggested only if the person interviewed does not mention any of them when describing his/her daily habits!)
I have already answered these.

 

What media do you use in your everyday life (TV, radio, newspapers); what new technologies do you use (Internet, computers, smartphones) and have you noticed that your generation uses them and how?
For many years I have been using the computer, which at the beginning I lived like a magic box out of pure curiosity, but now I use it for the Association, to shorten distances, to communicate, to consult, to manage the house. I turn on the TV very little, I don't read the official newspapers anymore, the radio keeps me company with the music. My mother graduated from the Conservatory of Naples, she played the piano and instilled in me the love for this instrument and for all music. Outside the house I use a smartphone. I always push everyone to use at least the smartphone because the internet opens up the world, and there is still a lot of reticence on the part of the elderly towards this new technology.

 

What motivates you or can motivate you? (Keep in touch with your children, grandchildren, family, friends, the world in general; Maintain physical and mental activity; Transmit knowledge, experience, a certain vision of life and the world).
I am still alive and therefore I try to live these last few years in the way that best suits my way of being. We are social animals and we live in society with all its ugliness, but also among the many beautiful things. After all, it depends on the choices we make within the limits of our possibilities.

 

The roles of pensioners / In your opinion, what are the main roles of pensioners (Transmission of tradition, knowledge and history, help in the education of grandchildren / the younger generation in the family and/or in the neighborhood) Solicit comments and reflections on ageing, on the difficulties and ways to improve life, on the role of seniors in the economy, on the transmission to the next generations, on notions of values (try to have them defined), on the creative aspect.
The most rewarding role for those who have children in the family is to be grandparents. Although I do not have children, I am fortunate to have been adopted years ago as a grandmother by the children (now 18 and 12 years old) of my dearest friend in Cagliari, as well as President of the Association. But I was welcomed by all of her large family, which in turn I feel like "my Sardinian family".

 

Having in mind the representations of the elderly in the media, what would be your message for the younger generations?
Above all, by one's own behavior, by example, to teach respect for oneself and for others, with special attention to the elderly, to the weak, to the less fortunate, to nature. It is love that moves the world positively, if you live with love and respect everything around you and what you do you have no room or time for wickedness, envy, jealousy, meaningless blah blah blah blah and you will be an active member of this beautiful universe.