Aunt Olga’s special birthday in Lamezia: she celebrates 100 years with her old playmate


By John

Mrs. Olga Dora Isabella (on the right in the photo) has crossed the threshold of the first hundred years of life. This exceptional event, after the greeting visit of the Mayor of the city to her home in the Rione Matacca di Gabella, was celebrated in a sober, but emotionally very intense way.

With his two daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, friends and dearest relatives, his playmate from the early thirties of the last century, Maria Isabella, could not be missing.which, in November of this year, will enter its 98th year of life, now projected into a secular orbit.

As children they had sung lullabies to rag dolls together, they had also danced, on the occasion of the remembered holidays, in the house of Olga’s cousin, Ninnello Isabella, where the only gramophone present, tirelessly played old tarantellas.

His family, besides his parents, consisted of only one male heir and five females. They made ends meet by plowing the land and planting wheat and corn. Harvest day was a celebration shared with neighbors, topped off with the usual four leaps of joy once the corn was husked.

The dreams of Aunt Olga, of her sisters who are no longer with us, and of her almost contemporary Maria, who was about to complete her century of presence in the world, were of a good harvest of corn to feed the animals, to produce good quantities of cob husks to fill the straw mattresses on which they pretended to sleep. They drew water from the municipal spring in the “Abbritti” district where they also did the laundry and washed clothes, soaked in earth and sweat.of immense effort. On the backs of the stones, inclined sufficiently, the wives rubbed their clothes trying to get rid of their husbands’ sweat and, at the same time, to save their backs from collapsing.

Olga and Maria also frequented that source with a barrel on their heads and a jug in their hands. Then they got married in Gabella living in pain, after a short time, the separation from their loved ones, forced by need to set sail from Naples, with the fateful cardboard suitcases, towards the Canadian port of Halifax or towards the Argentine coasts. Then, for them, the reason for living, fortunately, did not remain glued to “how to make ends meet” but how to live with dignity in this changed world, which has become too complicated.

Aunt Olga succeeded by gathering around her birthday generations of men and women who, from the exchange of smiles, not of circumstance, with the old playmate were able to understand that the passing of time is not a spite of fate but the gift of a story that with humility they were able to write and tell.