Friday, June 7, 2013

Greece - walk to a small village

It was a long and hot walk but I only remember bits and pieces about it.  Athens 1940/1941?

I see this young girl dressed in layers of long skirts.  She was employed in our  home but I have no idea in what capacity - cooking, cleaning, babysitting - who to ask now?
What was her name, did we like her, my brother and I?
I see her hiding cognac colored glass plates under her apron and off we go to see her family in a nearby village. The plates were small and I usually saw them appear besides a tall glass of water and a jar of vanilla paste, holding a spoon.  One filled the spoon with this thick sticky paste, placed it in one's glass filled with water and then licked the paste and had a sip of water, put spoon back into glass till next 'lick & sip'.

We are walking along on top of a steep knoll.  We stop to look down.  My brother discovers a dead black dog down there, points it out to the long skirts girl and starts gathering stones. "No, no, no, you can't do that.  If a stone hits the dog a piece of his dead body will fly up and hit you".

A cemetery.  Long line of people walking behind men carrying something on which a female body was lying.  Flowers placed on each side of her head.  Wailing cries frightening me.

A field with grazing sheep and a ram chasing my brother and the long skirts girl waving her arms and making noise.

Plates falling out from under the skirt and braking.

This memory is filed in my auto-analyzation folder.  Why did I not tell mother about the girl stealing? 



Tom said...

If not violently shocking, this is nevertheless a dark and shocking story. Looked at from the vantage point of 21st. century, those times back then seem strangely alien.

Halle said...

Not telling might say something about how you knew your mother would react. I remember keeping quiet to avoid violent reactions, even those directed at others.

Your story has reminded me of a day walking along a dusty road with a friend and seeing men standing by a pig carcass that was hanging. One of them grabbed some part of the 'guts', yelled some obscenity, then threw it at us for no reason other than to scare us I guess.

A strange and alien world for sure Tom.

Rouchswalwe said...

I tend to think that young children notice everything, yet keep secrets better than adults do. This can be a helpful thing sometimes.

The photo of you with your windswept hair and your sweet brother is very precious! A light in the dark story.

Ellena said...

Yes. It's the dog event that affected me most - revolting.
I think you nailed it. Why did I not think of that angle?
Another 'why' to analyze.
I wish I could flick this same light
back on.

Roderick Robinson said...

Cognac-coloured plates - there's precision for you: not armagnac-coloured, or cheap supermarket brandy-coloured, or eau-de-vie - coloured, or Fernet Branca-coloured. Old beyond her years.

Ellena said...

Would you have understood had I named it 'the colour of Snowfox Ale'?

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

A dark memory, perhaps, but also innocent. Little brother wants to throw stones at dead dog, long-skirted girl worries about being hit by dead dog bits whilst hiding stolen plates under her skirts, little Ellena protects long-skirted girl and doesn't report the theft. Magical innocence of childhood and memory.
I remember cognac-coloured plates! they were made of glass.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, the colour of Snowfox Ale!