Yesterday in Genova there was a transports strike, so we couldn’t reach the centre of the city and decided to go for a walk to Pegli, not so far from where I live.
Going there I decided to pass by the place I grew up. When I say that I grew up by the sea, probably many people think I mean “in a city by the sea”; actually I mean truly by the sea, passing every day my hours on the shore playing with sand and sea. My grandfather was a fisherman and he built by himself kinda a hut on the beach (as you could see there a lot of them in the past) and he was keeping around there his boats, that had names of members of the family: it was a great joy and honour when he was deciding to go out in the sea with the boat with your name. He was going to fish in the middle of the night and when I was waking up and couldn’t sleep, my grandmother was taking me at the window and showing me a little light far, far away, lost in the black sea, telling that was my grandfather.
My parents were working both when I was little and, from when I was 5 years old, me and my little brother were staying most of our time at the grandparents, and so to the beach. There we were playing free: I was mostly building big cities in the sand, using all kind of things I was finding on the shore to decorate them; with plastic bags covered in sand I was creating lakes and seas where I imagined were living sirens and fishes, and on the water were sailing ships made of squid bones. My grandfather built us a swing on the sea and I was passing hours on that too, up and down between water and sky until I was dizzy. In summer we had a little pool also where to play, and we were having all together big dinners under the stars. Our toilet was a broken bathing hut – red and white striped, with the number on it – that my grandfather found somewhere on the beach, carried there probably from the sea in winter, and he restored it for that purpose: I always loved it 🙂
So yesterday I went there after a lot of years; my grandfather died when I was 15, so 17 years ago, and after that no one was going there anymore, so we gave away his property. That was very sad to me, I felt I lost a big part not only of my life, but of myself, and, in a manner, that we betrayed him. Nonetheless I felt I wanted finally to return there, where I passed so much of my time as a child. Everything was gone and changed, different from what was my memory. All other fishermen huts were gone, with the death of friends and enemies of my grandfather (he had a very particular and strong character, so no surprise he had a lot of enemies too 😉 ). But a piece of my grandfather’s hut was still there, with the structure of the swing reminding me good times. It’s no more fishermen’s territory, the boats are inside enclosures and the beach is dirty since no one is cleaning it anymore. But the sea is still there and I think I saw an old eccentric friend of my grandmother sitting almost in the same place she used to, drawing with watercolours under the sun.
Memories are sometimes all is remaining to us, and I’ll deal with it. Ciao Nonno ♥
17th September 2013
Spiaggia di Multedo – Genova, Italy