School and Work {Tuesdays with Tina, part 8}

This entry is part 8 of 22 in the series Tuesdays With Tina

If you are new to this series, catch up first and then come back and read.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Me: How old were you when you went to school?

Tina: I went to the Kindergarten of the French nuns. They had the big hats that look like wings! I remember there was sister Cecilia. Rosalba would bring me my panino (sandwich) in a little straw basket. Back then there was no such thing as Nutella, but there were little triangle cheeses (similar to Laughing Cow) made of chocolate. Mamma would buy me the regular cheeses and I wasn’t very happy about those. I always wanted the chocolate ones!

Me: Nothing’s changed then!

Tina: {guilty laughter} I remember that cute little white basket…It was so cute…

Me: How old were you?

Tina: Four or five years old.

Me: So if you were five then Rosalba was 15?

Tina: Yes, she was a young lady. It’s true that she was born in ’33 and I was born in ’43 but really it’s only 9 years difference. I was born at the beginning of ’43 and she was born at the end of ’33. But she raised me and my brother. It used to make me so mad…I used to tell her, “I don’t have to listen to you…you aren’t my mother!”

Me: Classic.

Tina: “You wanna be a mommy…”

Me: So if she brought you lunch then that means she wasn’t in school herself?

Tina: No. She had already stopped going to school.

Me: She worked with Nonna?

Tina: Yes, she worked with Nonna because Nonna always had clients. She earned good money. Sometimes, with pride, she wanted to show Papa’, “Vincent, look at how much I earned this week!” And his manly pride would be hurt because many times she would make more money than he did. “Letizia, good for you. Yeah, yeah…fine…” Not only could mamma sew but she could do many things…embroidery… I was 4 years old when I started learning the hemstitch. I would sit on my little stool, the one that you have now at your house, sitting out on the balcony in the summertime and I would sew. I had tiny, little thimble!

Me: Didn’t you say that Nonno made it for you?

Tina: No, he didn’t make that. At nine years old I would go to school and then to a store where they made buttons and they would repair nylon hose. There was a cylinder that you would use with an electric needle to make the repairs and my father made one for my little hand.

Me: So this was before you went to work for the tailor shop?

Tina: Yes. In this shop, I learned how they make pleats. It was so interesting…beautiful! Then I learned to embroider with sequins. The design was on the back side of the fabric but it was on top and you worked on the bottom which was the front side of the fabric. The needle would go in the top, kinda like a crochet hook, and the sequin, one-by-one, would be caught on the bottom and that’s how you created the design! Such craftsmanship! Mr. Abate, who ran the shop, passed away recently but he did this work which was carried on from his father. Bernardina (mom’s friend) used to go to him until recently. He was well-known throughout Naples. He employed ladies to embroider for him.

Me: So you went to Kindergarten, then you went to school…

Tina: Yes, kindergarten, then school, and then at the age of nine years, I went to school a half day and then I went to learn my craft. School was in the morning. It was a public school in the zone of Monte Calvario.

Me: You’ve never told me about school. What was it like? Did you have books? Paper? A slate?

Tina: We had notebooks and we had to buy our schoolbooks, just like they do today. They don’t give them to you like they do here. And then you had a book bag. The notebooks were two kinds: with lines and with squares (graph paper). They assigned homework. I was very good at singing so they would have me sing Italian songs like “Vola Colomba” and I would sing in various classes.

Me: Then Timothy takes after you! (Not me.) So you went to school and you learned the usual stuff you learn at school. At what point then did you quit school and go to work? 

Tina: When I was about 12 years old. I didn’t want to go to school so my father said, “Fine. You don’t want to go to school, then you have to pick what you want to do. You have to know how to do something. Hairdresser? Seamstress?

Me: Even if you were already working in this shop since you were 9 years old…?

Tina: Yes. I had to learn a craft. I could have continued on in this shop but…I didn’t like it there. This Mr. Abate said a word and I repeated it at home. My father came down to talk to him, asking him how he dared to talk this way. So we didn’t have good relations with them. I was always a very shy, timid little girl. For one year I went to work at the home of the Signora Lucia who was a cobbler. (She made the leather upper part of the shoe). I worked with her for a while but I didn’t like it so I agreed to go work in the tailor shop of the Signora Aprile. 

 

Series Navigation<< Anna’s story {Tuesdays with Tina, part 7}Life in the Tailor Shop {Tuesdays with Tina, part 9} >>

About Sheila @ Making the Most of Every Day

I'm a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher. I'm always behind on housework and paper pile sorting. I'm fond of this crazy life but not of melted cheese. I want to follow hard after God, making each day really count. I like to run, read, cook (and eat!). Thanks for joining along on my journey!

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