Monday, November 5, 2012

The Rainy Day that Didn’t Materialize

A rainy day was forecast. Instead what materialized was a beautiful day for walking the Ghetto in Venice.  With our umbrella’s under our arms, Margaret and I headed to a lovely residential district which houses the ancient ghetto, which she was telling me was the first ghetto, -- the word itself coming from the word foundry. 

In Venice, everything seems to be an island, but this island was corridoned off at nights.  Margaret is reading The Midwife of Venice, so that walk through the old ghetto really worked for her.  I loved the walk through this territory as well.  The passageways between the houses are tight corridors, cool.  Then they break out into sunny squares where there are still the ancient wells, now with iron covers on them.  I wanted to capture the image of the Jewish wash over the canal, the robes with their characteristic patterns flapping on the clothes lines.  I didn’t take out my camera, though the wash is always a focal point for me.  I can still remember holding the clothes pins from Wyora’s wash in my mouth as I hung out the diapers on the line, or how happy I was when we finally got a apron bag to tie at the waist so that I could dip my hands into it and pull out the pins, relieving my mouth of having four pins in it at once.  The diapers had to have the corner of the last diaper pinned to the corner of the next diaper, a method of using only one pin per diaper once I got going.  Obviously, the clothes pins were in short supply. There must have been two little boys in diapers when I remember this, for in the winter, when the diapers would only freeze dry in the 30 below weather, we pulled them in, starched with the frost and laid them over doors to finish drying.  I suppose it is still fine to have an interest in what is on a clothes line.

This was the first time in Venice that I had been in a neighbourhood, as opposed to being on the canal and riding from one church to the next, or from dropping in on old Venice palaces to now see art hanging on their second and third floors, and the main floors with the double high ceilings, now filled with sculptures.  The Jewish Ghetto, a good choice for a sunny day.

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