Gisella’s Garden

When I was a little girl in Italy, I could often be found in my neighbor’s garden uncurling the spindly limbs of the cucumber vines and gathering flowers for my mother. I usually did this without my neighbor’s permission.  She yelled at me on a number of occasions for being such a garden pest before deciding I was awfully cute and inviting me inside for a Coca-Cola (my very first).

Brian and me wth Gisella

Brian and me with Gisella and her garden

Gisella’s garden was one of my favorite places to be.  In fact, Gisella was one of my favorite people to be with. She had a cat that could jump through hula hoops on cue and a barn loft filled with deliciously sweet smelling hay. She also appreciated my snail-hunting skills and would often send me on missions to scour the nearby fields and come back with as many snails as possible.

I thought she was keeping them as pets. Aaah, the innocence of childhood.

Our families became good friends during those years we lived in Italy. And Gisella is the first person I think of when I see the curling tendrils of a cucumber vine. I’m still tempted to uncurl them.










About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
This entry was posted in childhood, community, food, gardening, happiness, Italy, life, nature, neighbors, outdoors, people, photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gisella’s Garden

  1. Dena – I just hollered at the snails/pets.

    • Dena says:

      Thankfully, she never invited me in to have dinner. Only Coca-Cola. I don’t know how I would have reacted knowing I was eating my snail friends.

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