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Bruna and Elio Santi

Published by : Sharon Findlay

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Elio (having just come to Guelph from Italy): “this guy was there, he was boarding there, and I hear this voice, and I say to myself “I know this voice”, but I didn’t know who he could be. So he came down the stairs, there were two floors, he came down and we see each other. We know each other from home.”
Bruna: “He find all the neighbourhood from back home.”

Bruna and Elio’s Storia: Italiano

Inizialmente, mi sono trovata con Elio all’Italian Canadian Club. Alto e allegro, col sorriso sempre pronto e gli occhi scintillanti, Elio mi ha indicato le abitazioni di altri membri della famiglia che vivono su quella stessa strada e la casa in cui ha vissuto prima di trasferirsi nella sua casa attuale alcuni anni fa.

Poi, Bruna ci ha accolti calorosamente sulla porta e mi ha invitato a sedermi al loro tavolo in cucina. Dopo le presentazioni e una breve discussione sul mio interesse per la storia orale circa gli immigrati Italo-canadesi, ci siamo lanciati nel loro meraviglioso racconto. 

Bruna ed Elio hanno iniziato a narrarsi con entusiasmo, condividendo con me eventi di più di 60 anni fa.

La loro storia comincia con la partenza di Elio dall’Italia nell’agosto 1954. A quel tempo, lui e Bruna non erano ancora fidanzati. Si erano incontrati solo tre volte grazie a uno dei suoi cugini e provenivano da città diverse benché limitrofe. Elio è di Castello di Godego e Bruna è di San Martino di Lupari. Prima di partire Elio le aveva detto che se avesse mai voluto vederlo di nuovo, lei sarebbe dovuta andare a trovarlo a Treviso il giorno della sua partenza accompagnata da sua sorella. Si scrissero lettere per i cinque anni successivi finché lei si trasferì in Canada e si sposarono.

Un programma di governo permise l’emigrazione di molti giovani italiani durante quel periodo. Elio aveva solo diciannove anni e mezzo quando prese un treno da Treviso a Roma e poi l’aereo da Roma a Toronto. Questo aereo era molto diverso da quelli di oggi: fu necessario fermarsi molte volte durante un viaggio lungo 21 ore. Inizialmente, il piano di Elio era quello di cercare di andare a casa di un suo zio, di cui aveva l’indirizzo nella sua rubrica, a Sudbury. Tuttavia, dopo l’arrivo a Toronto, lui e molti altri furono immediatamente trasferiti a Montreal, dove gli furono dati vitto e alloggio. Poi cinque di questi giovani furono scelti e fatti tornare a Toronto. Una volta arrivato alle 7 del mattino a Union Station, il giovane Elio non sapeva cosa fare. Non c’era nessuno a prendersi cura di lui o a dirgli dove andare.

Vulnerabile, giovane e incapace di parlare l’inglese, arrivò un’altra volta alla stazione di Toronto. Verso mezzogiorno, un uomo entrò nella stazione e, incredibilmente, Elio lo riconobbe: era un ragazzo che conosceva da casa e che era emigrato un mese prima di lui. Il suo amico si stava ancora adattando, viveva in un seminterrato, aveva trovato un lavoro come raccoglitore di patate e non era in grado di offrire a Elio molto aiuto, ma era disposto a condividere il suo pranzo con lui. Offrì a Elio il suo panino o una banana: Elio, che non mangiava dal giorno precedente, esitò a prendere il panino e così prese la banana e la mise direttamente in bocca senza prima sbucciarla. 

A questo punto della storia Elio ride e dice che non si vergogna di dire che non sapeva come mangiare una banana, non ne aveva mai vista una prima, né aveva mai visto nessuno mangiarne una. Il suo amico alla fine dovette andarsene e lasciare Elio in piedi sulla piattaforma a Union Station che si chiedeva cosa fare. Un altro ragazzo italiano lo aiutò a capire quali erano le sue opzioni: “Ce l’hai l’indirizzo (dei famigliari?) a Toronto?,” chiese lui. Quando Elio gli mostrò un indirizzo di Toronto, l’uomo scosse la testa dicendo: “È troppo complicato per te trovare questo indirizzo da solo sul bus, hai solo quaranta dollari, che non sono sufficienti per prendere un taxi.” Girando la pagina della rubrica di Elio, notò un indirizzo di Guelph che apparteneva a uno dei cugini di Bruna che abitavano in Ferguson Street e suggerì a Elio di prendere un treno e andare a trovarlo. Lo aiutò ad acquistare il biglietto con il suo denaro, e gli disse di prendere il treno delle 15:45 dal binario 11. 

Quando il conduttore vide il suo biglietto dal finestrino, gli disse di scendere alla fermata successiva.

Bruna and Elio’s Transcript

SHARON – Which part of Italy are you from? What’s your hometown?

ELIO -Well, Castello di Godego. Treviso’s province. Di Godego.

SHARON – Godego. Così si scrive? Godego?

ELIO -Yeah. Castello di Godego.

SHARON – In Treviso.

ELIO -Treviso. Yes.

SHARON – Okay.

ELIO –So you wanna know what day I departured from there ? 1934, August 22nd. See, the government ask us once come over, who wants to come over, eh? So we are a bunch of guys, yeah, actually on the plane we were a hundred and eighty kids, I call kids because I was nineteen and a half, eh.

SHARON – Nineteen and a half… On an airplane?

ELIO -On an airplane. An airplane from Treviso we went to Rome by train and then the 23rd of August we get the plane and we got here after 21 hours. 21 hours.

SHARON – From Rome.

ELIO -From Rome. Well, I know it was a quadrimotore, and then they stopped here, there, there, all over the place, you know. To pick up, to let the people out, whatever.

SHARON – And finally to Toronto.

ELIO –Finally to Toronto. Knowing that I have my father’s brother up in Sudbury, I supposed to go up there. But from Toronto they send me to Montreal by train, of course, me uh and many others, then they sent us there, they give us a bite to eat, they give us a place to sleep, and breakfast in the morning and lunch at noon hour. And then they said, you, you, you, five of us, come back to Toronto. So, you gotta go where they send you.

SHARON – Who? The government?

ELIO -The government, yeah. Because they brought us over here eh, and I didn’t know one word in english, I only had 40$ in my pocket, I didn’t know how to spend them. Because if you don’t know how to ask.

SHARON – Yeah.

ELIO -What are you gonna do…? So from there we went to Toronto, we went there in the 7 in the morning and they brought us with the train, and after that there was somebody taking care of us. Nobody is there. We walked back and forth with out suitcase. We didn’t know what to do. Finally, at noon hour, I saw a guy coming in at Union Station with a bag, lunch bag alike, “oh my God, look who he is! A guy from my hometown!”. But he was here one hour before me. He didn’t know any english. And then we told each other what we were doing. So I said “what are you doing here?”. And he said “I live down here in the basement”. “Did you work?”. “I work all day to three days, digging potatoes”. And then I got nothing to do, so instead of stay home and walk to Union Station (it probably wasn’t too far away), so I said “okay, my situation…”. “I cannot do anything for you” he said. Well I understand that because you’re here only a month, eh. So he had, as I said, a bag with a panino and a banana. And he says “are you hungry?”. Hungry? I need to say that it was night! It was noon hour. So I said “help yourself” so he hand me the panino or the banana. “Take either one”. So I grabbed the banana and put it in my mouth right away and he said “At least peel it!”. I didn’t know how to peel a banana, okay? I’m not ashamed to tell you the truth. I see the banana, I saw the banana back home there but we didn’t buy any banana and we never seen anybody eating banana. There was no TV, at least you could see a monkey doing thing like that, but I’ve never seen that. So I peeled the banana and ate the banana that time. So he got to took off, I don’t know what to do. I’m around there. And after I don’t know, a couple of hours or like that… We don’t know what to do. A guy pass by and he’s speaking italian. “Guys what are you doing here? Cosa fate qui, cosa…”. Oh mamma mia, somebody is speaking italian here. So we told them the story and he said “you guys have a now address so I have there to book? I said yeah, I rest at my cousin in Toronto. But he says “I cannot take you there and you cannot go by yourself by bus, you guys don’t have enough money to go with a taxi” , you know with a cab. And so now the page. He saw I had her cousin’s address here in Guelph, next door.

SHARON – You already knew each other.

ELIO -Three times, we saw each other in Italy before I came over.

SHARON – Fidanzati?

BRUNA –  No, not fidanzati, like amici. Appena visti.

SHARON – Wow!

ELIO -We saw each other three times. She’s not from my hometown.

SHARON – Okay.

ELIO – Her mother’s from my hometown. And we had a feast at my hometown, so two, her and another sister, come over to see they know me, and the cousins eh, and I was an old friend with her brother.

BRUNA –  No no, cousin…

ELIO – Oh yeah, I’m sorry, I was close friend with one of hers cousins.

BRUNA –  Yeah…

ELIO -And they introduced me for the first time and they I went over to see her with this guy, her cousin, to say goodbye, because he was supposed to come in Canada too. So we biked over, 70 kilometers, 75, and that was the first time I went over to see her family, and then I know when it was my day to departure, so if you want to see me again when I come back to Treviso. So the two sisters, her and two sister, they came to Treviso before I get on the train for home and then we write each other for five years.

SHARON – Wow! But back in Toronto, at the train station, when you had the banana, and now you had to go to your cousin’s address but you couldn’t take the taxi…

ELIO -No.

SHARON – How did you go?

ELIO -Then I walked there because this guy he was speaking italian and he said “What are you guys doing there”, so he suggested me to come to Guelph. He suggested because I had her cousin’s, which he was living in Ferguson’s Street.

SHARON – Okay.

ELIO -And then I said ok. So he bought me a ticket, with my money of course, and he said “at a quarter to 4”, I’ll never forget that, “you’ll come here at the gate number 11” the number of the track you gotta go by. So he said “you go there and when you are on the train, before you time to get out, the conductor come over and pick the ticket from the windows. We used to put the ticket there when he come over. The next stop you have to get out. Get off of the train. So a quarter to 4 come and went in, i pulled the chin, like you see a cow go to pasture, I pulled the chin and all that. So I went in the train with my suitcase and there was a guy sitting…

BRUNA –  Behind you.

ELIO -And I said… I didn’t say anything. He understood. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, asked “my friend, can I sit there?”. And then he started talking to me. I didn’t know what the heck was talking to me, I didn’t know one word! And then I had my tears, I didn’t know where I was going by myself. And he said “no worries”. I think he said that! “No worries…”. You know. He stopped talking to me because I didn’t know how to answer! I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about! Anyway I got here in Guelph. I saw Guelph. I said “oh wow, okay, time for me to get out”. So I get out, grabbed my suitcase. I saw a taxi cab there on the road. I yelled “ya, ya, ya, ya!”. So I grabbed my suitcase, put it in the trunk and he took me out here, just across the road here. And where her cousin lives eh, I had my… I had to know, I had to get to know her cousin’s wife. And I knew he was speaking italian. I saw a picture back home. They just got marries, that’s why I saw that picture. And so “are you speaking italian?”. Of course, it’s the only language I speak. And I said “Where’s Marcel?”. “He’s working”. It was 6.30 in the afternoon, something like that. And Mario, another cousin, “oh he’s boarding up here…”. In the meantime I see this guy walking on the on the opposite side, on the sidewalk and I look back… Oh my God, Mario! I said, Mario! He looked at me but he didn’t expect to meet here. And we knew each other, he is 4 years older than me, so when i was 20 he was 24. And I called him a second time. And then he paid attention. “Oh look who’s here!”. I didn’t know he was here, and he didn’t know I was coming here. So “no worries” he said, he took me across the road to his aunt. And he sais “Aunt, do you have anything to eat for this guy? He’s hungry!”. “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, come here!”. So I there were some left over, a steak (I’ll never forget that), I didn’t know how to eat the steak before but they give me a steak, tomatoes, where out house stay, at twenty… six. Twenty six. Tomatoes, green beans, a glass of wine on the table… Oh my god I was eating. They were looking at me. Well I didn’t eat for 24 hours eh.

SHARON – Yeah.

ELIO -And in the meantime, this guy was there, he was taking a shower, he was boarding there, and I hear this voice, and I say to myself “I know this voice”, but I didn’t know who he could be. So he came down the stairs, there were two floors, he came down and we see each other. We know each other from home.

BRUNA –  He find all the neighbourhood from back home.

SHARON – Transplanted to Guelph!

ELIO -Yeah! And then, anyways, Mario took me boarding and this guy here to this family in Franciero Street where Italian people take doubles from my hometown. And then I started working on a restaurant.  Was an excist because I knew this guy and his wife was working over there and he says “oh yeah, this waiter over there just quit!”. So I started working on August the 30th, I came on the 26th here in Guelph. And I was on the 30th started working on this …

SHARON – Direttamente.

ELIO -Until April the 16th. And then I said… Spring was opening up, spring was coming and I wasn’t staying there so I quit and started working in construction and then I found a tannery in Acton. You know what that is?

SHARON – No…

ELIO -They deal with… hide.

SHARON – Okay, hide.

ELIO -Cow skin.

BRUNA –  But now it is not there anymore.

ELIO -No, it’s not there anymore. So from there, I stayed there for a little while, then I found one and I quit there and I went to the foundry over here. And ah changed from one place to another. Anyway the last time I work for 23 hours (years?) on Hammond Manufacturing. We deal with the transformers, and I stayed there until the last day until I turned 65.

Yeah thats, quite a story that they don’t believe that someone from Italy, they never been here, they never been outta the country, they couldn’t believe, and understand what we went through.

SHARON – Yes.

ELIO – Because they never have that experience, they don’t know how we feel, how we managed. ‘Oh you guys went out here, you went out because you wanna go away from Italy’ I said, ‘well, we had to go someplace. In those days there was nothing to do at home other than our work on the farm.

SHARON – A government program to help young italian emigrate to Canada.

ELIO -Right.

SHARON – What was the program called?

ELIO -Oh Jesus, I got no idea.

SHARON – That’s interesting.

ELIO -Oh geez, I don’t know. I got no idea. We had no idea, only one from our hometown…well there was a hundred and eighty we get on the same plane in Rome to come to Toronto. Our destination was come to Toronto and I was even happy because I hear there’s, well there’s five hours in a car to go up in Sudbury, but anyway I felt happy being here in Toronto..somehow I’m going to get to my uncle’s or he’s going to come see me and pick me up. But thats what it is.

We write back and forth for five years and then in ’59 we get married. She come over, and I send for her and all the papers. She got here May the 5th 195

SHARON – So…

ELIO -and then we got married June the 6th.

BRUNA –  Yeah, after a month.

SHARON – Uhm… How did you come?

BRUNA –  I came by boat.

SHARON – June 6, the anniversary?

ELIO -Anniversary.

BRUNA –  Anniversary, yeah. But I left Italy…

ELIO -April the 25th.

BRUNA –  April the 25th from Genova.

SHARON – Wow, that’s a long journey!

BRUNA –  Yeah, it took a week. I got here… Speta, quanti… (hold on, when…) in May…

ELIO -On… The 2nd of may you came to Halifax.

BRUNA –  Yeah, Halifax.

SHARON – Oh okay!

BRUNA –  From Halifax, pier 21, we arrived and we get the train, and from Halifax to Toronto.

ELIO -Two days and three nights.

BRUNA –  Two day just wait. We left there at night. All day and then we got here the day after.

ELIO -All day. No it was two days and three nights.

SHARON – On the train?

ELIO -On the train from Halifax.

BRUNA –  Yeah.

ELIO -Well they stopped here and there of course, you know. Well they were not on a train like a normal train that passes, they put all cows…

BRUNA –  We were on the… cabina, come si dice…

ELIO -Department.

BRUNA –  Compartment, you know.

SHARON – Yeah.

BRUNA –  And then the sedili di legno… Molto scomodo… Molto polveroso… Vedendo questo percorso con il treno, mi ha fatto brutta impressione.

SHARON – Immagino!

BRUNA –  Perché ho lasciato l’Italia piena di fiori, tutto bel verde…

ELIO -In primavera è così!

BRUNA –  In primavera! I papaveri, sai quali sono i papaveri?

ELIO -I fiori de…

BRUNA –  Poppies!

SHARON – Poppies!

BRUNA –  Che venivano… Beh insomma… Per la strada qui vedevo la neve… Piccole case… La macchina più grande!

EVERYONE – Laughs

BRUNA –  Con l’antenna de… Guarda! Hanno la casa piccola e la televisione anche! Beh, dove andremo? Ero io con un’amica che siamo partite da Genova assieme, ci siamo conosciute… Avevamo lo stesso… come se dise… La stessa compagnia della nave.

SHARON – Ok, ma prima di quella… Non avete conosciuto?

BRUNA –  Non ci conoscevamo. Ho saputo tramite l’agenzia che questa ragazza vicino Treviso.

ELIO -Doveva venire a Guelph.

BRUNA –  Doveva venire a Guelph anche lei.

SHARON – Ah che bello!

BRUNA –  Allora ci hanno messo…

SHARON – Che fortuna!

BRUNA –  Si! Ci hanno messo nella stessa cabina assieme, della nave. Lei sopra io sotto! Beh, durante il percorso tanta gente stava male. Non era come oggi. Allora tanta gente nello stretto di Gibilterra… La nave era diversa…

ELIO -Mossa!

BRUNA –  La nave era mossa, il mare era mosso. Not for me, tanto. Un poco si, ma non tanto. Sono stata fortunata. E poi siamo arrivate a Toronto, alla stazione di Toronto. Allora avevo Elio che mi aspettava… Anzi, sono venuti…

ELIO -Con la stessa macchina siamo venuti a prenderle… Anzi, io non avevo la macchina, neppure il marito o fidanzato dell’altra amica, non avevamo la macchina. Ma io ho cercato qualcuno e ho trovato un amico che era fuori dal lavoro… He wasn’t working that month, it was a month yeah?He was off work and he said ” oh yeah, sure”. So we went down three of us and we were waiting for our girlfriend there. After 5 years, okay we had pictures yes, but another girl that come over, oh that’s the one, that’s the one!

SHARON – Laughs

ELIO -And I was looking her but she wasn’t looking at me, so I can’t tell if she was looking for me, she is not the only one. And then find me, the last one she come over.

BRUNA –  Yes he asked me for the baggage, la valigia, e il baule…

ELIO -The trunk.

BRUNA –  The trunk, quello me l’hanno portato dopo.

ELIO -Fatto venire qui a Guelph.

BRUNA –  Perchè avevo un po’ di… per il matrimonio…

ELIO -Aveva il suo corredo.

BRUNA –  Il mio corredo, si. E così… Insomma ci siamo incontrati. Ma non volevo guardarlo per vedere se lui conosce me.

ELIO -Vedi?

BRUNA –  Insomma, ho visto che mi ha conosciuta, mi ha detto che sono cresciuta di più?.

ELIO -Si? Anche di peso!

EVERYONE – Laughs

BRUNA –  Non ero tanto pesante!

ELIO -No…

BRUNA –  E così abbiamo cominciato il nostro percorso.

SHARON – Che bello!

ELIO -Per cinquantasette anni ormai. Cinquantasette.

BRUNA –  Allora questa amica, lei ha proseguito con il suo fidanzato e noi siamo venuti a casa.

SHARON – E voi tutti siete amici ancora?

ELIO -Il marito di lei è morto.

SHARON – Si…

ELIO -Noi ci conosciamo, ci vediamo con questa… Lei aveva due ragazze, due figlie…

BRUNA –  Due figlie.

ELIO -Noi ne avevamo 4. Due donne, adesso le faccio vedere tutti e quattro li… Quando sono andati al graduation.

BRUNA –  Yeah, così! Ci siamo…

ELIO -Vuoi vedere le foto del nostro matrimonio e quando è venuta…?

SHARON – Si, si tutto. Ma…

ELIO -Ok. Domanda ancora.

BRUNA –  Domande da far…

SHARON – Ci sono altre domande da fare. Okay. Were there any obstacles or barriers that you encountered in Canada when you came here? Any problems from…

ELIO -No…

SHARON – Language is not a problem because everybody spoke italian, right?

ELIO -Yeah, well.

BRUNA –  Nel lavoro lui aveva per principio… Avevi… Un po’ di problemi…

ELIO -Heh, tutti! Non io solo! When you start working on a new place, nobody is speaking italian, I remember I was working at the university of Guelph, I was working with a contractor, and he send me to… I was there cleaning things around… He gave me a trowel to do some cement work there… I’ve never done that before! I’ve never done that before! And then he saw me… He left me there… And he said “You gotta do this, this, this”. I tried to do my best. Then one day he sent me to a shed to pick some spikes. Go there, there’s a box of spike. Spike. Spike. Spike. What a spike is? So I went back over there and went back with a pick. I thought it was a pick, spike, something. So he grabbed my hands and send me there and said “this is a spike”. I didn’t know. That’s humiliating.

SHARON – Was he scortese?

ELIO -No no, not really, not really, not really. He undrestood that I cannot do any better…

SHARON – Yeah.

ELIO -He didn’t dive me hand or anything. So far nobody, I never had any problem where I was working here, there… No… After a while, I picked up english, I went to night school once a week before she come over. And… But in the beginning they tell you the words but you don’t know how to put them together!

SHARON – Yes.

ELIO -Even the… Week day, monday, tuesdays and so forth, and the numbers… Allright, you know how to pronounce the word, but you don’t know how to make sense t them together, because, you know… You see, if you… After knowing that, after you go to work and some place and people talking to you and… Oh, oh yeah! Oh yeah! That word works here! Because I hear they pronounce and say that word there, so I know where that word work… But at that time I didn’t know! Oh my Lord…

SHARON – I can understand that learning another language is very hard.

BRUNA –  Yeah, yeah…

SHARON – Oh, so, looking back at your experience – guardare indietro – is there anything that you would have done differently, or you would have changed?

ELIO -No, I don’t think so. I was prepared to accept what coming to me. Because… I can expect to be in Italy, to be in your hometown and hmm-hmm… You gotta go with the flow, you know what I mean. I was prepared to accept that. So I never regret to… that I came over. Well in the beginning I was saying, after 4-5 years, I said “we got home…”. I said, well, okay. I went home one time and we were two kids. And I went after 9 years and said “I wanna go home”. She stayed here, we just lived at that house over there.

SHARON – Oh.

ELIO -Yeah. So when I was working I asked him I wanted to go home in summer. And the boss said “No Elio, please, don’t go on summer, how long do you want there”. Well, I said, at least a month. He said “No, I cannot give you a month in summer, we are so busy… If you go in fall around Chrismas, I give you two months!” He said. So I come home and told her “He said that…”. Okay. I give him two months,, I leave here on December the 7th and then come back the February the 2nd. So almost two months there. And he said “not bad”. We was on 63′ and things changed over there, allright, but not as much as now. I can see there’s a better life, a better way to live, but not as much as now for example. So I come back, I told her and she said, okay. So, what year… sixty… sixty six you went back there. Your first time with all… Second daughter.

BRUNA –  With our third daughter.

ELIO -Fai vedere la fotografia…And on 66′ she went over there, she was there for a month with our younger daughter. We had three kids at that time.

BRUNA –  This is the picture of the…

ELIO – Living there!

BRUNA –  You can take it from here.

SHARON – You daughter’s passport. Oh that’s you!

BRUNA –  Yeah.

SHARON – I’ll take a picture of this before I go.

ELIO – Okay. So she went back there and when she come over some back …? I said “oh you like there”. Well I see it was on winter. You come back in January. You were beginning to…

BRUNA –  Dicembre, December. Because my sister marry.

ELIO – After Christmas. So you come back here in January after the new year.

BRUNA –  Yeah.

ELIO – I sad “oh you’re fine over there! What do you think?”. She said “it would be nice if we have a little casetta, a little home, with our heat on, Yeah, I said, for you it was okay. Because you’re home, you’re in the warm, you’re in the house. Where I gonna go to work?

BRUNA –  Yeah we had to…

ELIO – We had no…(?) . Nothing. I don’t know, only farmer.

SHARON – Yeah.

ELIO – And I said “Oh yeah you’re right…”. And then after a couple of years…

BRUNA –  We decided to…

ELIO – And after a few years my dad came over and we were living on that house over there, eh. And then he went home, I think he was here for a month, and then he worte me a letter that one of my uncles, his uncle actually, moved away from my hometown and go near Milano with his kids, and they do have a little house with a piece of land there. So he asked me if I’m interest for me to buy, and then we looked at each other and said “I don’t wanna go back on a farm anymore”. So I told my dad “thank you, but no thank you.”. He wrote me back and said “I knew your answer. I was there and you do better over there” and for working on a farm, on a piece of land there, you gotta buy this, you gotta… No, no, no, not anymore. So…

SHARON – It’s nice he understood. Your dad.

BRUNA –  Yeah.

SHARON – And for you, were there any obstacles like, or barriers, or difficoltà… All’inizio…?

ELIO – All’inizio…

BRUNA –  Yeah, all’inizio mi sentivo persa. He was working.

SHARON – He was estabilished.

BRUNA –  Yeah. But for me even go shopping… Well, we had italian people around, and anche cugini…

ELIO – She had her cousin over here anyway…

BRUNA –  But questi cugini io non li ho più conosciuti qua, in Canada, che in Italia. Venivano a trovarci qualche volta, perchè abitavano a 75 chilometri lontani…

ELIO – 75 chilometri…

BRUNA –  75 chilometri da dove sono nata anche io, vicino a lui dove abita, Castello di Godego. Io sono nata a San Martino di Lupari. Ma…

SHARON – Luperi, Lupari…?

BRUNA –  Lupari.

SHARON – Okay.

BRUNA –  Tante volte dicono “dei lupi”. E c’è una storia dietro quel paese, anni ed anni fa. Così… Ci siamo conosciuti perchè andavo a trovare i parenti.

ELIO – I nonni.

BRUNA –  I nonni.

ELIO – Zii e nonni.

BRUNA –  E lui era cugino con tutti i miei…

ELIO – No cugino, amico!

BRUNA –  Amico! Amico dei miei cugini.

ELIO – Eravamo della stessa età, andavamo a scuola assieme… Così, ecco loro sono venuti qui, specie quello della mia età, Mario, quello che mi aveva introdotto la signora Buontempo.

BRUNA –  La signorina!

ELIO – Erano due sorelle. Allora ha detto suo cugino “Mario, ehm, Elio! Tu cammina con questa adesso!”

SHARON – Laughs

ELIO – Cammina con questa alla sagra, chiamiamo la sagra…

SHARON – La festa.

BRUNA –  Si la festa!

ELIO – La festa! Ma lei con lui erano davanti da me, e vedevo questa qui con i capelli lunghi e ricci, mammamia… Allora ho detto a Mario un momento, suo cugino… “Mario, io voglio camminare con quella…!”. Okay, okay!

SHARON – Matchmaker!

BRUNA –  Matchmaker, matchmaker, yeah! So easy!

ELIO – I’ll never forget that!

SHARON – Bellissima storia…

BRUNA –  E così…

SHARON – Ma all’inizio ti sentivi persa…?

ELIO – Eh sai… Non solo, tutti eravamo la stessa cosa all’inizio… Come dicevo prima, I was prepared to go with the flow. Paese che vai, usanza che trovi, dicono…

SHARON – Si…

ELIO -Capisci questo qui eh? Paese vai, usanza, modo loro eh…

SHARON – When in Rome…

BRUNA –  Eh! Ecco! Proprio!

ELIO – That’s right!

SHARON – È bello…

ELIO – È così, così…

BRUNA –  Si, come ho detto…  Anche quando abbiamo avuto la prima bambina, you know… In ospedale ti trovi…

ELIO – Non sapevo una parola!

BRUNA –  No… Non tanto perchè…

ELIO – Tanto…

BRUNA –  Con più che eravamo tra paesani o amici… Non paesani io non ne ho proprio…

ELIO – Beh, insomma…

BRUNA –  Paesano mio di dove sono cresciuta ce n’era uno, ma ci siamo conosciuti dopo…

SHARON – Si…

BRUNA –  E così… Ma erano tutti bravi per quello… Ma… You know… Quando devi andare a comperare qualche cosa, o per… Baby… Or… E non sai come fare, cosa dire… Non è sempre…

SHARON – Non posso immaginare! Avere un bimbo in Italia, per esempio!

BRUNA –  Oh, sai…!

ELIO – We didn’t know any english! After 9 day, 9 months, it was the first day eh! She didn’t have any chance to learn because… Well, she went to work a little bit before she had a baby.

BRUNA –  Yeah, sono andata…

ELIO – And then she went to the hospital, and she didn’t have any chance to learn any english because we were speaking italian…So once… I’m gonna tell you this up to… Well, I remember that.

BRUNA –  Del… Del boss?

ELIO – No. When you were on the hospital and you need a…(?)with the opening for the kids, eh.

SHARON – Ah si!

ELIO – I went to store, how could I explain that!

SHARON – Oh!

EVERYONE – Laughs

ELIO – So I took all… These…

SHARON – Reggiseno.

BRUNA –  Reggiseno aperto.

ELIO – Che si apriva qui davanti, così, che si apriva davanti, eh. E dovevo dirgli…

SHARON – Con i gesti, al negozio! Che bello!

ELIO – Mammamia…

BRUNA –  No, ma è stata bella un’altra volta che avevo questa bambina e l’ho portata a fare le iniezioni, le punture, you know, che si fanno ai bambini…

SHARON – Si, si, si…

BRUNA –  E ho preso… A quel tempo si andava al municipio qui a Guelph… E quando ho preso la corriera, il bus, per tornare, a quel tempo abitavamo by York Road…

ELIO – By the street here, yeah…

BRUNA –  Ho preso, ad un certo punto ho cambiato la corriera, ma ho visto che questa corriera andava in una via diversa! Mammamia, adesso…

SHARON – Con l’autobus?

BRUNA –  Con l’autobus! Ho sbagliato l’autobus! E insomma, mi ha portato… Ha girato tutto il paese, e io con la bambina… Era tardi ormai, erano le 6 alla sera… e freddo! Perchè era verso settembre-ottobre, credo.

ELIO – Beh quello era…

BRUNA –  Beh insomma, siamo andati… A parte… Fatto il giro!

ELIO – Bruna ha fatto il giro e non scendeva mai! Non scendeva mai!

BRUNA –  I said “I have to go by York Road!” Sapevo York Road! You know… Oh no… Insomma, mi ha portato in paese… Ero io da sola con la bambina…

ELIO – Non c’era più nessuno, non c’era più nessuno dentro la corriera.

BRUNA –  E questa strada finiva che andava in mezzo al bosco, quando che ha fatto il giro, che adesso è un’altra città… Eh eh…

ELIO – Dai vai avanti…

BRUNA –  E allora sono andata in paese ancora, e mi ha detto ancora “devi prendere questa corriera”.

SHARON – Numero 4 adesso!

BRUNA –  Maybe yeah! Adesso non ricordo neache quale numero sia…

ELIO – Il numero? No no…

BRUNA –  E sono andata per York Road, e sono andata a casa.

SHARON – Finalmente!

BRUNA –  Eh, si!

ELIO – Vuoi dire quello del …?

BRUNA –  Elio! Guarda che si stufa! Ha altre domande da farti prima! Vuole raccontarti una storia funny!

ELIO – Funny? È vera!

BRUNA –  Ma verissima, vera!

ELIO – Quando ero nel ristorante a lavare piatti…

BRUNA –  Ma io non ero qua, era appena venuto qui lui…

ELIO – Era il mio primo lavoro, my first job eh. So after 3-4 days I started working there, okay? Fine. And my buddy and I we were cooking for ourselves, for the first 2-3 months we were boarding. He made me found out a little place and with down a basement, with a little kitchen there, and we were sleeping on the second floor. Second floor yeah. Okay, so we were cooking for ourselves. So the restaurant after I went there I opened the fridge and see the butter, and so forth… We need the butter, so I picked up myself two packs of butter on the side for me to take when I go back home. So it was winter and so, time for me to come home at 2 o’clock in the morning. I was working on 5 to 2 after everything was closed up I had to wash the floor… Anyways… So, I went down to the basement to get my coat, and put two pounds of butter in here eh, so I walk home, walk out, it was cold… I was holding up this and that… I came up to a point there when I was working towards home, and I see a cruiser, a cruise facing me, eh. I was going here and he comes here and he stop. “Weh, weh, weh, weh, weh”. I don’t know whatever he was saying eh. So I said, I’d better go to the other side and let him go. What he done? He turned around and came and talked to me again! And he said “come here!”. You’re gonna take me to jail! I was shaking, I was… oh! He want to take me home, he knew me because I always give him a coffee, I was been told that was a police man at night, they go around and walk around everyone, so they go in for a coffee to warm themselves up, eh. So, I didn’t recognize that guy there! He knew me, but I didnt’ know him. So “come here…”… I gotta go. So he opens the door, let me in, closes the windows…It was hot in the car, and I was shaking! At a certain point I said “qua, qua, qua!”. So he slams on the brakes. I never said a thank you or anything, closed the door, went home, went around the house for the backdoor there… Oh, now I can take my butter off… I didn’t see any butter! All the bar melt! All the butter…!

EVERYONE – Laughs

SHARON – Oh my gosh!

ELIO – I didn’t know, I didn’t say anything more than what happened, that’s the truth! And then we make other joke with that, you know… Anyway…

SHARON – Really funny!

BRUNA –  Yeah!

ELIO – What are you gonna do? Okay, what else?

SHARON – I think we… got it… Now it’s… What did you bring… What was in your suitcase basically, which you brought with you from Italy to Canada.

ELIO – No, nothing, nothing special.

SHARON – No… Pensieri…

BRUNA –  Well even for… well…

ELIO – Pensieri, pensieri, eh si!

BRUNA –  Pensieri, yeah, yeah. For me it was a few sheets…

ELIO – Well, things for myself… Blanket, whatever, nothing special.

BRUNA –  Blankets… Sundress, not too much, but this is was what I brought, nothing special… Some… Pictures… I brought with me all the letters.

SHARON – Letters? Oh…

BRUNA –  Letters from Elio, yes. Five years…

ELIO – Imagine… It was no school, just round … of school, imagine what kind of letters we sent each other then…

BRUNA –  We just send letter one each other every fifteen day.

SHARON – Wow.

ELIO – Two or three weeks…

BRUNA –  Dipende da… Mail, you know.

SHARON – Oh, before we stop the recording, could you tell me about your ring? On the train?

BRUNA –  Yeah, like I said…

ELIO – The guy tried to remove the ring as if I was sleeping.

BRUNA –  I mean I wasn’t sleeping…

ELIO – You were pretending, pretending, yeah.

BRUNA –  Yeah, everybody there… I never stopped… My ring is in the vista of other people. And this guy he sat besides me, and he starts doing like this… You know. And then “hey, what are you doing?!”. And after that he left and all the people asked me what happened and I told them “he tried to steal my ring!”. Oh they said. You know. Everybody sono restati impressionato da questa persona.

ELIO – Eh, sai, questo provava…

BRUNA –  Provava… Provava… Eh, ma in nave mi è successo che sono andata al gabinetto, mi sono lavata le mani, ma mi pareva a me, ho levato l’anello e l’ho messo nel counter, you know. E sono andata fuori, e poi mi sono ricordata subito! Sono ritornata indietro e c’era… Mammamia adesso, cosa mi succede! Sono tornata indietro e c’era questa signora, una donna insomma, e guardava questo anello, ho detto “scusa l’hai visto qua? È mio… Mi sono dimenticata…” e me l’ha dato. Yeah, anche quello, yeah… Mi è andata bene, però la fede l’ho persa. La prima!

ELIO – Ne ha perse tre – quattro!

BRUNA –  L’ho persa diverse volte!

SHARON – Si?

BRUNA –  Si, perchè le mie mani adesso vanno e vengono, si gonfiano… ho i dolori. Eh allora quello fa l’effetto che a volte l’anello…

ELIO – Scappa…

SHARON – Si…

BRUNA –  Mi sfugge! Ma posso dirti, una volta che l’ho perso… Dov’eravamo, in Venezuela? Siamo andati e stavamo per sederci al sole…

ELIO – Alla spiaggia…

BRUNA –  C’era questa montagnola di…

ELIO – Sabbia.

BRUNA –  Sabbia. Ho fatto per sedermi e ho sentito “pluf!” in mezzo a questo mucchio di sabbia.

ELIO – Di sabbia.

BRUNA –  Mammamia ho perso la vera, l’anello… la… come la chiami… la fede! L’anello!

ELIO – Come la chiami…

SHARON – Wedding ring?

BRUNA –  Wedding ring, ecco. Allora prova, prova, prova. Per dirti presto, sono stata lì più di…

ELIO – Con le tue amiche!

BRUNA –  Tutte mi hanno aiutato!

ELIO – Passavano piano piano piano…

BRUNA –  Mio marito si è arrabbiato e ha detto “te l’ho detto, non devi… lascialo a casa!”

ELIO – Lascialo a casa, tanto…!

BRUNA –  Abbiamo passato la sabbia due volte o più, non so, finchè sono andata sotto, e allora ho detto “beh voi andate a camminare per la spiaggia, a passare… godetevi!”. Io e un’altra amica siamo state là. Abbiamo passato… fino in fondo che cresce l’erba, sotto!

SHARON – Si.

BRUNA –  Passato tutta la sabbia. Mi è venuta su così, la vera, il wedding ring.

SHARON – L’hai trovato!

BRUNA –  Un gruppo di… che stavano al sole, sotto l’ombrellone, mi dicevano “Don’t worry, se l’hai persa, if you lost it there, you will find it there!”. Mi hanno dato coraggio.

SHARON – Oh!

BRUNA –  E allora sono stata là e l’ho trovata. Io e questa amica siamo state… e l’ho trovata.

SHARON – Wow! Meno male!

BRUNA –  Ma l’ho persa diverse volte!

SHARON – Si?

BRUNA –  Yeah, anche ricordo in…

SHARON – Ma lo stesso anello o no? Un altro wedding…

BRUNA –  Questa l’ho persa tre anni fa, sarà adesso… Proprio, come si dice…

ELIO – Wedding ring yeah…

SHARON – Quello con la pietra.

ELIO – No, quello era…

SHARON – Oh, si, the engagement ring!

BRUNA –  No, no non con la pietra. No, no…

ELIO – L’engagement ring, quello che avevano provato a levargli!

SHARON – Si…

BRUNA –  No quello, no quello… Questa avevo persa! Quello…

ELIO – No, quello sul treno era…

BRUNA –  Quello sul treno e in nave era l’engagement ring.

ELIO – Engagement ring.

SHARON – Quello con il diamante.

ELIO – Si.

BRUNA –  Si, non sono proprio diamanti… Posso fartelo vedere… Non ha nessuna… Non ha diamante, ma sono brillanti!