Finally, as the days start to get longer, our moods start to lighten. The spring days hold warm promises of summer. Then we hear news that in the town of Sicilia, at the bottom of the boot of Italy, American soldiers are landing daily and chasing away the Germans. Everyone is saying that the war is over. Our daily prayers become even more impassioned, as we wish with all our hearts that this is truly a sign that the end of the war is near. ‘Is it true, Mamma?’ I ask when she gets home from work that night. ‘They have been talking about it out in the street. Graziella said her mamma told her so. Is the war really over?’
‘It seems that is what they are saying, cara.’
‘So where are these Americani then?’ Nonna’s voice is like a dose of cold water. ‘Those German soldiers are still strutting around out there, filled with their own self-importance! I certainly am not going to tell them the war is over.’
‘Aah, Mamma, don’t be so cynical.’ Looking at me, Mamma smiles. ‘Don’t listen to Nonna. In her heart of hearts, she is also hopeful but she doesn’t want to get disappointed.’ Some sort of hrrumff is emitted from Nonna but Mamma continues. ‘We just need to have patience, Mariolina. They are coming. Graziella’s mamma is quite right.’ Mamma pats me on the cheek for good measure.
Then, one glorious day in April, 1945, it happens. The American soldiers arrive in Torino. The sun is shining and the roaring of jeeps fills the air.
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