San Lorenzo Portal 4
Week 13 - 'San Lorenzo Portal 4’
Although the space was small for three families to share this courtyard, every square inch was functional. The water pump and the outdoor bathroom were located at the back of the house, and a barn was built to house the cows. According to my mother-in-law, “The barn was small. It could hold three cows; two went in straight, but one had to go in sideways.” Then, because there was no room left in the barn, they built a small shed, which served double duty as a shelter for the donkey and for tool storage.
During the war, bombs fell in this area, destroying many of the buildings that were centuries old. Thankfully, this building still stands, even if it is showing its age. One of the memories my mother-in-law recounted was of walking to school from the countryside, and diving into the closest ditch anytime airplanes were heard flying overhead. In the ditches grew tender white asparagus stalks; a delicacy to eat now, but back then they grew weary of eating so much of what they had gathered from the ditches. It was a hard place to grow up in. During her Grade 3 year, all the school children were held back a year because soldiers had taken over the school house. “Anyway,” she said, “the school only had one book – a very worn and well-read copy of ‘Pinnochio.’