My brother Mariberto died a long time ago. Before Facebook and Twitter, heck, before e-mail came around. We knew it was coming, death, I mean, but he chose to live his days with joy and he often was the one who cheered me up when I phoned him from Arizona. An avid rock climber, he dreamed of someday visit the United States and make it to the top of the legendary El Capitan at Yosemite National Park. I was able to get him a t-shirt that said he did.
With his sunny attitude in mind, I would like to share some of our stories.
In our younger years, we always looked out for each other. My father was very strict when it came to daughters. I wasn’t allowed to wear pants or make up, and if a boy wanted to take me out he had to ask my father. At some point I met a young man (a few years older than me), and I decided I wouldn’t mind going out with him. My brother liked him too. The young man had a job, and a car, and he was a good dancer. However…he was NOT from Northern Italy. I know, I know, you’re asking yourself, so what? Well, to this day there is tension between North and South, with Northern Italians claiming to be better than the Southern Italians and vice versa. By the way, Rome is the imaginary dividing line. And while it’s true there is a lot more wealth to the North, do you think I cared?
My brother, who was the same age as our so-called Southerner, also had a job, a girlfriend and a Vespa. And he came up with a plan. His girlfriend lived in a different small town, and by the way, we didn’t have mobile phones. Actually, we didn’t have any phone. Sooo, on weekends I would get on the back seat of my brother’s Vespa, we would wave goodbye to our parents and head for an out of town movie or dance, whatever story we could come up with without making my father suspicious. We would ride the Vespa to Mariberto’s girlfriend’s house, there, I would get in the car of the handsome Southerner and go on my date. At the time agreed upon we would reconnect, I would get back on the Vespa and home we went. This went on for a while until my father relented and decided it was okay for me to date the young man. Alas, by then he had lost all sex appeal, I mean what’s hotter than someone you are forbidden to date?