On Memorial Day we want to remember those "everyday" Italians who with simple and natural gestures, without wanting to be heroes, helped save the lives of men, women and children. Because, even in that dark period of our past, the light of humanity has never completely gone out. This is Bianca's story
My father has always told me that my grandmother was a great woman, and certainly not because of her height, given that she was barely five feet tall. When I was in middle school, I had already gotten over it.
Her name was Bianca Manera and she was a small, old woman, but with steel hands. I always went to visit her in via dei Fabbri, in Milan, where she lived in a railing house with her two dogs, a little ugly, peeled, but adored by her. She had been a mother girl and had raised my father with what little she had and what my grandfather, an industrialist from Genoa, was going through. And it was good.
When I went to see her, she always made me a savory pie with cheese, a simple thing, perhaps not so excellent from a gastronomic point of view, but I always ate it with enthusiasm because it was cooked by her. She always spoke well of everyone and was loved by her neighbors and my mother (although they weren't even related since dad and mom had separated when I was still a child). He spread a lot of light and spoke mainly by silences, because he always spoke few words. He stroked my head and whispered: "You are my joy."
One day he left us forever. And it was then that my father told me things about her that I didn't know. We were emptying his small apartment when we found some letters in a drawer. They were from a Jewish lady who had managed to escape to America with her husband and two children. During the fascist racial laws, little Bianca, who at that time lived in the countryside, had hidden the woman's family in the barn of the farmhouse where she lived. Little food, little space, so much fear. Yet my grandmother prepared her savory pie with what she found, with that nothing she had.
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