Conserved by the Ficara

It was September of 1943. Thirty-two year old Maria Caterina was a single female assisting to look after her more youthful sibling and her papa. Her four bothers were somewhere out in the war theater of World War 2. No news has been received from them for rather a long time currently. Rumours distributed the village that at least two had been taken prisoner, however no-one recognized for certain.

She took the usual stroll down right into the gully where her family members veggie yard lay on the steps dug out from the side of the hill.

She climbed the ancient ‘ficara’, which meant fig tree in their local language. The base of the tree was so huge that two people embracing it on opposite sides would not be able to join hands. She very carefully made her method up a thick branch, gradually inching her method in the direction of components greatly loaded with ripe figs.

She was wearing a ‘fardale’, language for an apron, and also maintained stuffing the pockets with fresh chosen figs. She consumed one, after that another. They were so sweet. She extended to get one specific fat juicy fruit when she thought she listened to males’s voices. They were shouting. She quit to pay attention. Unexpectedly, something exploded near the base of the tree. Dust rose all over and also she heard little things whistling passed her ear, chopping down fallen leaves and fruit as they flew by. She shut her eyes, and then all heck broke loose.

A team of soldiers entered into her sight, as well as they were running back in the direction of the town. They were using German uniforms. She understood that since they had actually been occupying the village for months now. Not far behind them were various other soldiers. They looked various and both groups were contending each other. One German obtained shot in the leg and two of his countrymen ordered him leaving the male’s rifle behind. She cursed as she understood she was in the center of some battle … stuck, high on the ficara.

She closed her eyes and also hung on to the thick branch for her dear life. There was a lot shouting, screaming as well as weapons standing out off all over the place. No-one had actually identified her perched there, high up on the tree, but surges continued. She felt the figs turn out of her pockets and also drop to the ground underneath her. She was too hectic hanging on. It lasted just a few minutes but to Maria Caterina it felt an eternity.

This story was relayed to me directly by Maria Caterina, my auntie. It was remarkable to hear her recount this event, more than when. She died in 2006 only two months shy of her ninety-sixth birthday. This was her account of the Allied pressures liberating her village of Santa Caterina dello Ionio situated in the highlands of Calabria, province of Catanzaro. That fig tree was absolutely ruined in the fires that experienced that area, I believe around 1987.