Life is an Italian Beach
When I was three years old our family started the tradition of vacationing in a little town called Ca’Ballarin, northeast of Venice, Italy. We would stay at a little pension, with the sweetest and most caring Italian mama taking care of us. Depending on the weather, we would either go to the beach, or visit the surrounding towns such as Venice, Murano and Jesolo.
These memories are a collection of things I was told, and others I remember myself. One of those memories is when I went into the ocean for the very first time in my life. At the beach, my parents would put up a shade sail, get out the towels, sunscreen, fruits and some rolls, lots of water, and my water wings. Now covered in sunscreen and the water wings strapped on my little arms, I was determined to take a “swim.” Mind you, all my life I had a love for water and salt if you must know. I jumped into the water and opened my mouth, took a swig, turned around all smiles and, full of conviction, said “Hmmh, yummy!” It still makes me and my family laugh when we once again tell this story at any family event. Well, as I’ve said, I loved both water and salt all my life!
During one of our days at the beach, when I was older, I asked my Dad where my Mom had gone. Pointing in the direction of the next pier he said, “Out there somewhere.” So off I went, into the ocean, swimming towards where he had pointed. I had been swimming for a few minutes, still unable to see my mother, when the waves became higher and higher, definitely high for a child my age. I didn’t turn around, but kept swimming. I remember I was without fear; I rather used the high point of the waves trying to spot my mother. Looking back I am surprised by my fearlessness. I simply trusted my mother was out there somewhere, and that I could reach her. It’s interesting to see my own courage at such a young age.
There are other tidbits I remember. For example, on the way to the beach we would always walk past a drive-in cinema. When we would walk there after dark I could see the top part of the screen, but of course the fence surrounding the property was so high I could never see the people sitting in their cars. To this day, I have this romantic idea of going to a drive-in cinema on a hot summer night with drinks and food, and all that in a red convertible, of course!
I remember the food, oh, the food! It was delicious, whether it was gelato, pizza, baked goods, fruits such as fresh delicious juicy figs, or mussels in tomato sauce with spaghetti. What a life giving force! One time in Venice, we went to a bakery and everyone got a treat. My brother and I did not enjoy what we had chosen, and since it was the holidays we were given some more money to go choose something different. Guess what! When we got out, my brother had chosen what I had before and vice versa. Another one of those stories that to this day makes us shake our heads and smile! It was also fun that people on the street would always start speaking Italian to me. As I was a dark-haired little girl with a golden tan they just assumed I was Italian. In fact, I still take pride in that and wish I would still get that tan!
To this day I can spent four days in Italy and feel like I had a two week vacation, it’s that relaxing and life giving!