I usually feel my parents who have passed, my father in 1969 and my mother in 2005, around me, but I felt it especially strongly in Italy. Perhaps because one is so aware of history there, one is more aware of their own history. Memories flood. I felt my parents walking with us through the streets, watching in the clouds above, sharing in the joy, expansion, observation, intake, and detail.
My uncle knew stone, limestone, marble, and granite, and one time walked with me around SF and explained about the marble and granite in the buildings we passed. About thirty-seven years ago, he took a trip to Italy and came back inspired not just about the stone but about the wine, and the new information that you could enjoy red wine with turkey and white with beef. There are no rules in Italy about what wine to drink. That was when most Americans were less secure in their choices of wine and awareness of their own taste. I wanted him to be with me on this trip to explain more about the stone, to enjoy the wine.
On the plane on the way home, I watched the movie Kit Kittredge. I first learned about the American Girl dolls through my neighbor and her daughter Jill. Her mother and I drooled over the catalog. It was too expensive for us as young parents at the time. Now, I have my niece Katy so I was delighted to go to the huge store in NY city and see floors and floors of American Girl dolls. I was a child who loved dolls, so I was enchanted with the Native American doll and her horse and tent. I helped my mother choose gifts for Katy, and we decided that the accessories of Kit Kittredge were perfect for her to give. She is the Depression era doll. My mother loved the little radio that played songs from her time, the old-fashioned desk.
I was deeply touched by the movie Kit Kittredge, perhaps even more so because I worry about how far this "recession" may go. My mother's father was a banker. He was a Republican. He thought that Roosevelt was the end of the world, and we see what happened there. He took my mother with him sometimes when he had to foreclose a home. She only told me that in her last years. I realize how deeply buried that experience must have been within her. She and her father were sensitive people. Imagine it on every side.
Her generation is called the greatest, and I think it is because of what they endured. Brothers, sons, sisters, daughters went overseas and there was no instant information system. Therapy is relatively new, the work with post-traumatic syndrome also new. I was reminded also in watching this movie of my mother saying their home was marked as a place for hoboes to get food. It was a given they were fed, and they had the food to do it.
I then watched Il Postino, The Postman. If you have not seen it, it is a must-see. If you have, you know what I mean. I had seen it before but it was interesting to see that I actually had picked up some language skills in this trip, and to take more deeply take in the scenery having seen it personally. I cried through this movie too.
Then, I watched the movie on Dylan Thomas, The Edge of Love. It is a pretty dark movie, and has an edge odder perhaps than just the one on love, but what came across most strongly for me is what it must be like to live with knowing at any moment a bomb could drop, literally. It shows so clearly how one cannot judge another or another time period, and how we are changed by what happens around us, which brings me back to Marcus Aurelius, Barack Obama, and the importance each day of connecting to our own source.
Connection to source, our source, and the universal source is key, each moment, each day!!