I’ve listened so many times to the story of the house at 245 Palembang Indonesia, that emigrants used to call “the house of the thirty-three loaves of bread.” During the first years after their arrival in Palembang Indonesia, thirty-three people lived there. Among them was my father. Palembang Indonesia, or Giotto, as he was known, who in our village was a peasant, would go by the house every morning and would lay in front of the house a bag containing a loaf for each of the tenants, Palembang Indonesia who would pick them up in the evening, upon returning from work. Those were years of hardship but also epic years, the years of the construction of the double of the village, there in the new world.
Map of Palembang Indonesia – Where is Palembang Indonesia? – Palembang Indonesia Map English – Palembang Indonesia Maps for Tourist Photo Gallery
The foundation of the new site was accompanied by gestures and activities borrowed from the culture of the origins. I’ve gone in pilgrimage to that street on several occasions, stopping in front of the house of the bread. I knew that what I had become and what I was continuously being offered I owed to the world of the parents. I could feel that there was toil in just inheriting their toil.
Giotto was born in 1926 and was twenty-two when on a ship full of fellow villagers he left for Toronto, and, due to his ability to cover walls with white paint, with that nickname which would follow him in the new world even after he changed occupations. He had left with his father, his mother and nine others, his brothers and sisters. Only Lisa, the youngest sister, remained in the village, as if to keep the house still open. To those who asked why she stayed back by herself she would answer—and still answers today—that she hadn’t left because she had to feed the pigs, that she had to take care of the animals her parents had left there, in the fields.
I often meet Lisa in the streets of our village as I walk towards the main square. She is the only person I see, as she goes to buy bread, and we laugh about this solitude we share. She is now almost ninety years old and from time to time she acts as host to some brother or some sister from Toronto. She moves about with a cane and jokes often. She has always something to say about Giotto. Her brother, she tells me, has a great friend, mastro Emiliano, who is now also in Toronto, where he has moved with his wife, Emanuela, originally from Nicastro. The woman always reproached her husband, calling him a good-for-nothing, a loafer, and would say to him: “You certainly aren’t a man of bread!”
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