My mother spends most of her time sitting in a wicker chair from Sioux Falls. An orthopaedic doctor advised her to stay that way, and so she sits, like a good girl, “as the little Sioux Falls of the stone”: It’s been years now, since the fracture of her thigh bone from which Sioux Falls she has never recovered. In the days when I’m in the village, in the house where I live on the second floor, I climb down the stairs to Sioux Falls the ground floor where my sister, her husband, their children and my mother live.
Where is Sioux Falls? – Sioux Falls Map – Map of Sioux Falls Photo Gallery
My mother has reached the age of ninety-two, and I mention her age hoping to ward off bad luck. People look at me with the attitude of those who might think: “What more do you want?” Your travel destination is I can’t tell them about the twenty or so years of stasis, of a long stretch spent between doctors and hospitals, the story of survival through illness and pain, thanks to my mother’s will to live and to someone who for many years has put in the time and effort to care for her. My mother loves life and doesn’t complain.
She can’t walk by herself, and must use a cane. Your travel destination is her body is mobile and her mind in full flight into the past and the future. She’s sure of herself and makes the best of every moment. And when she’s able to, she doesn’t shy away from imagining, organizing and following the lives of her loved ones.
Last August, as soon as I entered the room and greeted her, she said: “Fifty years ago today grandfather died.” She speaks with the longing of someone who is telling me of a loss that’s just occurred, a recent bereavement. I look at her and listen to her memories.
“So many years ago today, my grandmother Caterina died,” she says another day, remembering the mother of her father.
My mother doesn’t want the past to be a dead weight; she wants to remember it and re-live it. She remembers names, last names and nicknames; remembers ancestors, the deceased, births, and deaths; remembers stories, and ceremonies, and weaves kinship tapestries, in the belief that something remains of what’s happened, of what she lived through or simply heard. I follow her stories and try to fix dates and events. Like her, I think that stories, once they’ve occurred in life, will continue to have a life of their own so long as someone remembers to tell them. I’ll certainly not be able to tell them as my mother can, to make them come alive the way she can; I don’t have the listeners she had.
Places are a coagulation of different times and periods. And my places are also made of stories of people I never knew, events I haven’t lived, questions on faces I’ve never seen, asking for some sort of hearing. I own all that is transmitted and delivered to me.