Per leggere l'intero articolo cliccare qui


ROOM:A Sketchbook for Analytic Action|6.22

Memories of My Vanished Birthplace

by Cosimo Schinaia

“The fireflies first began to disappear in the early sixties because of air and water pollution. Mostly this was just in the countryside. The rivers stopped being blue; the canals were no longer clear. And then, in a flash, the fireflies were no more. Now they are a memory, a deeply painful memory of the past.”
—Pier Paolo Pasolini, Disappearance of the Fireflies, 1975

I was born in Taranto, the Apulian city of the two seas, which had been the wonderful capital of Magna Graecia. Among the many memories of my childhood and adolescence, the seafood of Taranto has certainly a central place. In fact, it occurs in several episodes of my life, which my memory has indelibly fixed. When I was a child, after school ended each year, I spent my summer with my mother and brothers at Lido Venere (Venus Beach), on the Ionian coast, north of Calabria. We took the bus, then continued by foot and crossed a small wooden bridge at the mouth of the small river Tara, whose name probably comes from Taras, the mythological founder of Taranto. Tara’s cold waters separated the baths of Lido Venere from that of another beach called Pino Solitario (Lonely Pine), located on the opposite bank.

We saw the beach starting from the top, with golden dunes covered by white wild lilies, and then going down, after the rows of wooden cabins and the mills with roofs of reed, in a large shoreline ending in the transparent seawater.

We as children used to stay in the water until our lips turned purple. But when the adults called for us to get out, before leaving the sea, we dug our hands in the sand and, with no effort, collected handfuls of cockles. After purging them of sand, my mother cooked them for dinner with tomato sauce to season spaghetti. When I got older, cockles were replaced by clams, which I went to collect where the sea was deepest, repeatedly diving underwater.

For a few years I lived in the old town of Taranto. My grandmother ran a fishing shop near the seashore. The shop’s walls emitted a characteristic scent of sea and rope. I used the little money she gave me to buy myself a handful of scallops instead of candies. A street vendor opened them in front of me while I waited.

Every Sunday my father brought home a basket filled with oysters, which he skillfully opened for the whole family as a starter to lunch. When I turned fourteen, he announced with much seriousness that I was growing up and this meant that I should learn how to shuck oysters myself: the shucking of oysters was going to be a rite of passage in my family narrative.

Per leggere l'intero articolo cliccare qui