KEEP CALM WE HAVE HEART

KEEP CALM WE HAVE HEART

Keep calm we have heart is the title of a solo exhibition at the municipality of San Severo by the artist Gianni Pitta

San Severo is a place that has impressed me reading Giovanni Rinaldi‘s books, in which certainly the heart is not lacking.

In this case, however, it is about the heart understood in an artistic sense, I quote verbatim: Keep calm we have heart, wants to re-propose the central theme of the heart as a symbol, but also as a language, as a thought whose purpose is mainly to be of hope, of love and not only an amplifier of torment, a consequence of this human malaise.

We undoubtedly need a lot of heart and hope, particularly in this period.

And I found myself thinking about the times when I happened to draw a heart: my hearts were always imperfect, asymmetrical, sometimes just unbalanced.

Yet perhaps they were truer, like this: crooked and squashed.

And if we also try to write heart in a different way, we get for example heArt which is a social platform dedicated to art, born in 2021 with the intention of giving visibility and sharing to artists. .

Did you already know it?

Remaining in the artistic field, HOW MANY times could we quote heart?

What is the first heart that comes to your mind?

C’ERO ANCH’IO SU QUEL TRENO – THERE WAS ME ON THAT TRAIN TOO

C’ERO ANCH’IO SU QUEL TRENO – THERE WAS ME ON THAT TRAIN TOO

In thanking Giovanni Rinaldi once again, I am happy to tell you about his new book There was me on that train too  The true story of the children who united Italy published by Solferino.

There was me on that train too is published exactly twelve years after Happiness trains, years during which Giovanni Rinaldi never interrupted his historical research which, with his tireless human commitment, has turned into a real mission to bring together the protagonists of a chain of wonderful solidarity.

In the post-war years, thousands of children were hosted by generous families who pledged to offer them what they had been deprived of for various reasons, welcoming them and treating them as their own children.

Giovanni Rinaldi’s essay starts from the tragic consequences of a strike in San Severo in 1950 following which more than a hundred people were arrested: mothers, fathers, leaving many children in the middle of a street.

A song recorded by Giovanni begins like this

The venditré of March

Succèsse ‘na rruìna …

I know, I have already written it, but for me the dialect, as well as the oral tradition, are an absolute heritage that, if it were not for people like Giovanni, we would lose.

And instead with his persevering efforts, Giovanni continues in the collection of testimonies that extends to children forced to work in Naples, to children who survived the bombing of Cassino, and to many other cases in which conditions of extreme difficulty have made the help to parents providential, since they were unable to support them.

The organization, transfers, communications between families of origin and host families took place at the initiative of the Communist Party but in particular by the UDI: Unione Donne Italiane.

In this regard, with my love for Christmas, I read with particular emotion the part in which Ida tells of her commitment to collect from various shopkeepers, the necessary to make a Tree set up with candies, biscuits and gifts.

The magic, however, breaks to the point where Ida remembers how the secretary, annoyed at this initiative of hers, even scolded her with a slap …

Women.

Women and Mothers who weave their lives in function of the good for the children, managing to put themselves in each other’s shoes, understanding, working, sacrificing.

I particularly want to remember with affection Americo to which I am grateful for the great teaching on maternal love that he has given me.

The letter from Umberto’s mother is also enchanting:

The hearts of us mothers of the tormented Frosinone greet all of you who come to meet us, and we greet this beautiful work organized by our Communist Party.

I hope to receive more news, and if the Lord will provide me before Umberto returns I will come to see you.

Not that words to thank her for what you are doing for my son, but may the Lord give you back all the good you deserve …

She thanks the party and hopes in the Lord and yet I find no contradiction, on the contrary I admire the wonderful coexistence of thoughts that have the heart as a common denominator.

Heart that I found on every page.

Among the chapters of There was me on that train too, dedicated to each of the children he managed to track down, Giovanni Rinaldi tells us how he managed to trace the families who offered generous hospitality, starting from fragments of memories, names often lacking of references, photographs of a very distant time.

A meticulous work but above all a strong sensitivity combined with the noble intent to realize the desire for reunification of these people who life has inevitably led to distance themselves.

I don’t know if you were able to follow the interview on Rai Uno, otherwise you can retrieve it here at approximately 1 hour and 1 minute.

I advise you to see him to realize how Giovanni’s attitude towards the people he met is: while Severino and Diego tell their experience, he observes them with a smile that says more than any word.

And this is the feeling of extreme respect that runs throughout the book. Giovanni himself tells us that “these elderly gentlemen, when they speak, are the children of the time who tell … and it is also a therapy: going back to those moments means bringing out both the traumas and the joys.”

On tiptoe listening first.

And as much as Giovanni acts as a channel that allows memories and stories to flow that are faithfully reported, he also gives us descriptions of the context so precise as to make us feel transported to the same place, enveloped by the suggestion that the scope of enormous loads of emotions encloses.

I conclude by leaving you this beautiful metaphor about Benedict:

opens the door: a beam of light illuminates the darkness. Outside and inside, as on a border, they all remain still, suspended ...

MOTHERS

MOTHERS

Americo wrote the story of his memories in the comments: so beautiful that it can’t just stay there with the risk that someone will lose him.

I report verbatim:

With pleasure I bring back my childhood memories.

In addition to my biological mother, I have had other mothers like Derna and her cousin who welcomed me in Ancona and raised me as their son, surrounded by all the attention.

In particular I want to remember Derna Scandali, the well-known trade unionist, who at era worked hard to organize the arrival and entrust it to the families of us little southerners in the smallest details.

She set in motion an exceptional organizational machine for the time that, despite the post-war poverty, solidarity with us was not lacking.

Derna and her cousin lived close by, she had an independent life and every day we found ourselves at the table all together, day and evening.

She also organized the colonies, she took us to the sea and we children had fun.

Thus the summer days passed.

But I also want to remember my mother.

I did everything to avoid staying in my country because I knew the poverty of the South well.

Seeing me sad and no longer eating for the regret of having left Ancona, she reluctantly let me go in order to know that I was happy and to have joy in my eyes, since she knew I was in good hands, even if she was pleased (rightly) to have me with her and to see me grow.

Today I feel guilty for this, just for not having given her the joy of seeing me grow up, at the same time, however, I think back to that child who in Ancona had everything, for me it was a world that I have always defined “with colors”.

I understood that only a mother’s great love for her child can make this happen.

I often wonder what I would have done in her place: probably the same, I would have let my son go too.

Unfortunately, these great women have all disappeared, but I cannot forget all the positive things they have done. Their memory is always alive in me.

And if today I am what I am, I owe it to them.

I would say that Americo’s words paint exactly the very essence of being a Mother.

Who knows how many times you too will have faced the consideration of how it is not so obvious that mother understood as the one who gives birth, coincides with mother understood as the one who has the ability to dispense love beyond herself.

There are too many stories of children abandoned or abused by their biological mothers. There are too many stories of children forced to grow up without receiving affection.

Americo, on the other hand, tells us about the demonstration of immense love from his true Mother, who accepted his “world of colors.”

And at the same time, simply showing himself for the person he is, testifies that those who welcomed him made it possible for him to continue growing in the best possible way.

The strong sense of family is therefore, if possible, even more enhanced for Americo, who is very fond of the memory of his parents.

For this, I can understand the bitterness in seeing one’s story told in some parts and then transposed into a completely different context, especially with very distant family references.

To recap: I became fond of the character described in the book by Viola Ardone thinking that it was fictional, only to discover instead that he really exists, that he really traveled on the train and which was truly welcomed and hosted by Derna.

And not only: thanks to Giovanni Rinaldi we got in touch and I had the opportunity to know the reality and to understand that one feels cheated knowing that starting from a basis of real facts, and in the absence of specifics or disclaimers, most people would think that everything else is true as well.

This is why I take the liberty of giving voice to the child Americo who has never cut off the tails of mice or picked up rags, and who as a child, as well as when he grows up, teaches us to want a colorful world made up of good people like them.

I TRENI DELLA FELICITÀ – HAPPINESS TRAINS

I TRENI DELLA FELICITÀ – HAPPINESS TRAINS

First of all, thank you very much Giovanni Rinaldi and Americo Marino for their great friendship: I am extremely honored.

For once I can truly say that the BEAUTIFUL stories continue.

It all started with an exchange of views, or perhaps I should say with an “exchange” that diverted the right train onto a different railway.

And the journey I made while reading the book Happiness trains was different because if “the outward journey” takes you back in time, the return is definitely directed to the future.

The future of children who have lived through a very painful historical moment, but who more than others teach us the true essence of life.

I suggest you to discover this story which I find absolutely essential due to the example it represents, so that we never forget that helping each other is the secret of happiness.

The misery that helps the other misery” this are words that contain exactly the spirit that animated the UDI, Women who have worked to ensure that children left alone following a mass arrest in retaliation for a strike, could find the affection and care that their parents were unable to give.

The key episode unfolds from Puglia but the significant scope has meant that the help was extended to children from other areas as well.
The book also mentions Pavia, and in fact I wonder if you have ever heard perhaps your grandparents telling about episodes of hospitality towards children from other areas.

I know for sure that in more recent times “in our place” we hosted children from Chernobyl, so who knows.

In fact, I was enchanted first of all because it is an oral tradition in the purest sense. The meticulous descriptions literally transport you to listen, as well as to read, just as I have always listened to the stories of my grandmothers.

There is a whole heritage of lives contained in the hearts of people that it would be wonderful to know, to witness, to spread, learning from the hands-on voice of those who have the great value of their experience to share.

Like Irma: I fell in love with her when I read her idea of “catasthematic” pleasure.

Or like Americo: her story of mothers in the plural sense was moving and enlightening to me at the same time.

In the month of May is Mother’s Day and I would say that my dedication will go to her MOMS.

It is understood that if Americo wants to tell something about them or add any other thoughts, he is welcome here.

Obviously the same is for Giovanni.

This time I struggle to stay in the time for a coffee, because the reflections that arise are many: only the memory of Mimì seeing the sea for the first time would be enough for a further parallel journey.

Then I simply let the train take off slowly hoping that the next destination will be a pleasant surprise, like the one that brought me to know Happiness trains.

THANK YOU!

DO NOT MISS THE RIGHT TRAIN

DO NOT MISS THE RIGHT TRAIN

In December I had written about the book Il treno dei bambini – The Children’s Train, also recommending it as a gift, since I myself had received it the previous Christmas and had enjoyed it very much.

A few days ago, reading Matavitatau‘s opinion, which I thank and which I recommend you to read, I finally found two Addendas that were a great surprise for me.

There is already a previous book: I treni della felicità – The Trains of Happiness which is precisely about the journeys of less fortunate children, and which is based on the meticulous research and reconstruction of the real stories of these children divided between “two Italies” but also separated on that double speed track. that’s life.

In Viola Ardone’s book, the part concerning the train journey, in particular the protagonist, plays a key role in the narration and I was personally fascinated by it, so much so that I tried to deepen the knowledge of the author who I then discovered a little. as a very operative mom.

I believed that her novel was simply inspired by historical events and, in my boundless ignorance, I assumed that the characters were fictional.

Instead, always on the Matavitatau blog in the comments, Giovanni Rinaldi, author of The Trains of Happiness, left this link: where almost identical phrases between his book and Viola Ardone’s book are listed step by step, as well as contradictions during the interviews for the presentation and launch of the book published by Einaudi.

Further, in the above mentioned comments, Giovanni Rinaldi writes “a letter of formal notice from me was enough to bring up two full pages of sources and indications of specific authors from the ninth (Italian) edition onwards“.

Therefore it is certainly necessary to update, and, as promised to Giovanni Rinaldi, I quote his words verbatim:
Moreover, the citation of the specific sources from which not only the information of the historical context are drawn, but also characters, anecdotes, characters and entire sentences, had to be done honestly, writing “I wrote this story freely inspired by … instead, yes it is preferred, first to hide and deny, then in the face of legal letters and the underground controversy among the experts, to publish a “bibliography” (from the ninth ed. onwards). This is only in Italy, because in the rest of the world and in ebooks, there is nothing and there are many, especially abroad, who wonder why there is not a minimum of historical information that is more attentive to the context and sources.
But they sell, a lot, and this is what interests them. We are here to paint hamsters!

Here, with hamsters I have not had a good experience I have to say … joking aside, I who am NOBODY, about work I often repeat this concept: since the gain is lost hope … at least the “glory” … at least being told THANK YOU, would be appreciated.
Basically it’s not asking much.

Giovanni Rinaldi nevertheless required to further specify:
There are no real authors. The collective story can be told by everyone. Before me others have done it (which I quote dutifully). Everyone adds a bit of their curiosity, their passion and imagination (if they write fiction). The ethical side of the question remains: in a book that, paradoxically, speaks of the solidarity between the most defenseless and poor people, the author ‘, with the backs covered by the important publishing house that proposes it, pretends that everything he writes and invents be the flour of one’s own sack I repeat: a thank you was enough for me (which was extended to my witnesses, some of them living, Americo in the first place). Perhaps the Einaudi opera would have gained, not lost. But they preferred to lose on one side to gain more on the other (in the wake of the “unknown” and “discovery” history).

So Americo (who I have known as Amerigo) is not only a real character but he is alive!

It would be really wonderful if he could receive my and yours (I think you agree) virtual hug, with so many compliments that maybe Giovanni Rinaldi will want to extend him from us.

Thanks!

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