Living through this strange time of Covid, border closures and lockdowns, I have been contemplating and drawing on the many happy memories in my ‘memory bank.’ It entices me away from the sadness of the many families struggling to survive, torn apart and facing mental anguish, thanks to heartless political decisions. I look back on the good times and know how lucky I am to be able to call on my memories.
Recently I made a comment to Rick ,which I may regret!
‘I’m very fortunate to have enjoyed many overseas trips. I don’t need to go again.’…………..then, I watch ‘Getaway” on TV and find myself wailing that my memories are NOT enough. I DO want to go again! So many places to visit, especially in this twilight stage of life. I must accept that this may not happen and hope that I can, at least, visit places in my own beautiful country in the near future.
In the meantime, I glance through photo books and return to favourite places in my mind.
I have published two memoirs;
“Innocent Nurses Abroad’ recounts the time of my initial overseas journey sharing adventures with close nursing friends in the 1960’s. ‘Back of Beyond’ is a memoir of my first eighteen years of marriage on a cattle property in North Queensland. Both books tell of these very happy and special times in my life.
When you look back, think about the special times in your life. Which ones were your favourites? Then I suggest you write them down or record them. This can be your memory bank to return to when things are tough
One of my favourite memories takes me back to Italy.
Having experienced two months in a remote Italian village in 2011, I was fortunate to return to a second village in 2014. I was determined to find a village which had a larger population than Luscignano (57 residents). I found my happy place in the small, vibrant village of Corfinio in Abbruzzo which had a population of one thousand, three restaurants, three bars and a large Piazza.
I have a clear memory of the day we arrived in our car from Pescara. I was excited when our GPS delivered us safely to our home for the next two months. It was a narrow ,semi detached villa with three levels. The stairs leading to the top floor were marble and very steep. We almost had to crawl on all fours to make it to our bedroom and bathroom at the top. The middle level had a small , cosy sitting room, the ground floor housed the kitchen, dining and thankfully, a toilet! It was situated five doors from the main Piazza and café and directly across the narrow street from a Marcelleria (Butcher shop), and an Alimentari (food store). It was perfect and I was in heaven.
We settled in very easily and I was delighted that the locals only spoke Italian. Thankfully I was more eloquent with the language this visit, and our neighbours were happy to help.
Our days would start with a leisurely coffee in the piazza with our map, deciding which roads we would explore for the day. There was always advice and conversation with our fellow villagers. On our return from our adventures, we would wander up to the Piazza for a wine and chat which could be prolonged as with each glass of wine consumed, a plate of olives and cheese or garlic bread or pizza slices would appear. This saved cooking a meal. Oh, how I love the Italians and their joy of life and casual way of living.
Having no internet in our house we would sit in the café in the Piazza every day while Rick religiously wrote a daily blog. This was my time to indulge in conversation with the local men who were clamouring for my attention. I enquired the whereabouts of their wives, only to be told that they were at home doing their domestic chores and especially preparing the delicious lunch for these lazy blokes. It was uncommon for them to have a female with them in the morning. I reminded them often, how lucky they were to have such dedicated wives. They laughed in response to my admonition. The men were all retired on a generous pension.
My memories of the way the locals embraced these two Aussies into their community will never be forgotten and I often wish I could replicate their attitude and outlook into my more regimented world, but that is the joy of travelling and experiencing other cultures. I look back on these memories often and feel deep gratitude that I was able to embrace and enjoy this experience.
Memories are precious. I always feel invigorated after looking at photos of family, grandchildren, friends, of travel both overseas and within Australia.
May you find some comfort and relief as you look back in time and enjoy some armchair travel until we can enjoy our freedom once again.
Take care and stay safe. My thoughts are with so many who are suffering during these tough times. I am lucky and grateful for my situation, but recognise so many are not so lucky.
Until next time
Jenny Old AUTHOR
‘Innocent Nurses Abroad’
‘Back of Beyond’ Facebook