my daughter rosie is about to turn 14. she is lucky to be half italian so that about once a year she gets to live with us at her grandparents home and be part of the village of Gubbio --- where her family line runs deep. Sadly, the ancient Bebi name ends with my husband. Gastone was the only son born of an only son.
rosie's father and grandfather were born with the help of a midwife in the very same master bedroom in their house in the city. rosie experiences deeply the meaning of her family ties. sometimes, i have to admit, i m jealous of her linage.
so the teenage culture is interesting from an amercian standpoint. The main corso or street in the walled-in village has this guy (pictured here) at the end of the block. He is a patriot named Giovanni Girabaldi. he is a magnificent statue on a pedestal on a hilly part of the end of the street so that he is very, uhm, looming, let's just say. in the middle of the corso which runs nearly the full distance of the town, stands a big church (also situated on the highest part of the street, probably for emphasis) named after saint Giovanni. on this street, the weekend evenings belong to teenagers who go to hang out, meet each other, have giddy encounters and so on. this is where rosie likes to walk. (strut) as the rest look on.
can you imagine your town having a place like this for teens to meet----between a church and a patriot statue, walled into the town? i can think of no safer place for teens than here. and the atmosphere is electric with the energy of a high school dance, a couple of girls whispering about another group of girls. and boys, 4 astride, walking down the street looking confident -only its very transparent they aren't at all confident, a group hanging against a house here and there, some looking into the shop windows. there are little bars along the street selling drinks and ice cream that teenagers are allowed to have. no cars on the road, there is no room on the road for the cars to pass. occasionally a motor scooter moving slower than walking, creeps through he crowd, greeting, talking and laughing the whole way through because the motor scooter driver is a kid too. The age range i would say is middle school through high school. a true youth group.
Rosie got lots of looks. she is beautiful but i would say it was also due to the fact that she was walking with her mom , a plump figure clad in a pink sweatshirt, jeans and white sneakers waddling the cobblestone streets grumbling that the walk' s killing her freshly surgeried knee......rosie was holding on my arm to help steady me along. yeah, and the other kids did not have their moms with them.
my physical "cut" and outfit screams "i'm american" .
let's face it, women in italy don't wear sweatshirts or pink, sneakers or jeans, not do they fashion hairdos that haven't been coifed since 1964. in this village they wear more conservative colors like browns and grays, go to the beauty salon once a week, wear wool skirts with matching sweaters, waffled jackets and clunky, all-weather pumps. in general, they are not fat.
what's that you say? neither do women my age in america dress like me? oh well. poor rosie.
rosie didn't need me to be with her as i felt it was safe, but she didn't want to be alone.
one saturday gastone and i went with friends to another town and left rosie with her 17 year old "learning to speak english" cousin named Erik in Perugia. actually he understands english better than i do. anyway, they had a great teenage time, walking the town, (the chocolate festival was on), going to an arcade, reading and writing emails or facebook or myspace or whatever. she had a blast - seemed that all of her cousin's friends knew she was coming and wanted to know all about her.
it was nice that she didn't have to walk around with some old woman dressed in a pink sweatshirt on her arm all day.
Erick was sweet he bought her a soft teddybear filled with Perugian chocolate, a happy and nice surprise for rosie. her time with Erik put her in a happy mood for days.
well, today she is up already (5:45 a.m.) getting ready to go back to school after a 3 week break. she is eager to be back. she has a lot of makeup school work to do, poor thing.