Back in Italy: postcard from Salerno

We arrived in Rome on Sunday and immediately headed south by train to Salerno, a working port city at the bottom of the Amalfi Coast. We had visited over night, in 2010 on our way south to Sicily, to break the trip down the length of the peninsula. This visit gave us another chance to explore the old centre, the centro storico.

Here are a few of my favourite snaps.

Centro storico laneways
The poetry of locally-born Alfonso Gatto adorns the walls of Salerno.
Sweet ride
The decoration at the top of the tower of San Matteo looks decidedly Byzantine.
I’ve got a thing for old signs and fonts.
Detail of mosaic work above the altar of San Matteo.
Beccheria is another word for macelleria, butcher shop. Learning new words every day.
No post is complete without food. This was a little complimentary appetiser with our beer. Pizza fritta.

Emerging stronger – my mother, time and love

Everyone loved my mother, Louise Pergolini. She smiled quickly, listened completely and cared deeply.

The 10 of April 2017 marks ten years since Louise passed away. I think about her daily and have written about her in the past on my blog Heart in Abruzzo (here and here)  and on this blog (here)

LJP OJ Louise Kiss
Smoochers – Owen and Louise were always up for a kiss.

She could be the life of a party, but if she was hosting she would make sure everyone had a drink, something to eat and a comfortable place to sit.

Louise loved nursing and was respected by patients and doctors alike. If a friend or neighbour was suffering from some pain or anxiety, she discreetly helped find the right professional care.

LJP Nurse Lou
Louise Pergolini, Registred Nurse

When we were young, she ferried us and our friends from after-school sport to part-time jobs to play practice and always managed a meal on the table for us six kids plus anyone we brought home with us.

Louise loved to dance and I can only imagine her, in the 1940s, cutting the rug to a Glen Miller riff. Our dad, Owen, had two left feet. Still, she would get out on the dance floor with anyone who offered their hand.

Tucker Louise and Owen Beth's wedding 0020 – Version 3
Getting dad on the dance floor at sister Beth’s wedding in 1989

Her musical taste ranged widely. She loved everything from the Big Band sound to crooners like Tony Bennett, Mario Lanzo’s operatic works, Broadway musicals, and even Julio Iglesias.

Louise didn’t cry easily. She was strong and unsentimental.  Though, she certainly had her share of sadness and loss: beloved cousin Angelo during the war, multiple miscarried pregnancies, her parents, her husband and her adult son.

LJP Mom with pop pop
Louise with her father Giovanni Pergolini circa 1985

Our Anglo-Saxon dad, Owen, was more visibly emotional and welled up easily with tears. We said he should have been the impassioned Italian and Mamma Louise the stoic northerner. But her love of linguine and mussels or the famous Abruzzo dish scripelle ‘mbusse gave her away as the Italian in the family. And her looks….what a stunner.

LJP LouiseOwenRobert
Louise seated with her husband Owen Tucker and her brother Robert Pergolini

Looking back and remembering my mother ten years after her death, I see not just my mother, but Louise the person. The loving, fun, intelligent and determined woman I will never be.

We miss you enormously, big Lou.

LJP MLT communion with Louise
Little Lou and Big Lou

Looks like a monthly update is all I can handle…

There seems to be a lot going on, and little time to blog about it.  I’m thinking that perhaps I am too connected and a bit disjointed in my approach to social networking and blogging.  I have been considering only updating my Tumblr blog MLTuckerAtLarge, which feeds to my Twitter and my Facebook and just leave it at that.  More photos taken on the run, less writing.  But the whole idea of this blog was to write more. Easier said than done.

The day job at the documentation factory and my ongoing love affair with studying Italian seem to be getting in the way. Maybe it’s just that I have been busy with summer (now more or less gone) and blogging will be easier to do over the colder months (from the cozy couch). So, I am not giving up yet. This year will be the test.

But right now, I have Italian homework to do…i compiti.

Mi piace i compiti!