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.