Grandpa Sergio remembers – part one

The years are 1947 to 1953.

There was no television: it didn’t arrive at our house until 1958, for the world football championships in Sweden. Didì, Pelè, Vavà, Dialma Santos, Nilton Santos … Final score: 5-3.

My first hazy memories are of when I was three or four years old: accompanied by mom and dad I roamed around the barrels in the wine cellar in Alba and on the farm in Sinio, where I played with the children of the tenant farmers amongst the roosters, hens, geese, sheep, pigs and in the stall with the “fasson” calves. Our favourite game was to attach two large hen feathers to a cork and watch it “helicopter” as it fell from the air.

An intoxicating and appetizing air enveloped the farmyard: it came from our oven, which served around 15-20 people who worked from dawn to dusk, May to November. Drinking water was drawn from an artesian well that exists still today.

In the evening I watched the workers coming from the vineyards or the fields, with sunken faces, sweaty and tired and wearing dirty shirts. They would remove their straw hats and wash in scant water that was not always clean. When asked “Who will take care of the stall” dissention erupted:  give hay and feed to the livestock, muck the stalls, give water to the calves. Everything was done manually, even on the farmland. The first caterpillar tractor didn’t appear until 1957, a 25 cv Fiat…one year before the television!  (…to be continued…)