Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don't AIR Your Dirty Laundry In Italy

After one of my daughters became engaged to an Italian AF pilot during his training in the U.S., she and I traveled to Italy for an extended stay. My husband and I wanted to get a comfort level for the lifestyle change our daughter was about to experience in Italy. Italian homemaking would mean living a culture that was less dependent on household conveniences such as a dishwasher, microwave or a clothes dryer. We found an apartment to rent in a small town close to her fiancĂ©’s base. Learning to use the wash machine to do our laundry was easy enough but drying our clothes meant hanging our wet garments on a drying-rack on the balcony. We didn’t like the idea of our new Italian neighbors seeing our “unmentionables” so we hung them to the back of the drying-rack. On one of our morning strolls to the open market, as we got to the main street we both gasped at the sight that blocked our path. There in the middle of the sidewalk, framed by her doorway was an old woman, seated in a dining room chair. Above her hung a clothes-pinned line with big white GRANNY UNDERWEAR waving like a billowing banner in the breeze! We had to assume that MODESTY had been thrown out like dirty wash water and that the saying, “don’t air your dirty, or CLEAN laundry in public,” was not relevant in Italy!

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