THE GODMOTHER of Sicily, and how to message her on the Auntienet

I’m excited to find, in mid-2013, that my blog is approaching 1,000 subscribers. I do hope you’re all enjoying it!

My readers come from exciting places all over the world. Their blogs are in many language and scripts, some of which I don’t recognise. I even have a subscriber called जागरण मिडिया सेन्टर, and I would love to know what this language is! Every time I get a new subscriber, I look at their blog, even if I cannot understand it. I wish I had time to properly follow all the blogs, but at least I feel we’re connecting into a friendly community, which I find very exciting.

I realise that I need to introduce my new friends to my mother-in-law, The Godmother, who features regularly in this blog. If I’m honest, she’s actually the star of this blog. She is also a major hub of the Auntienet. Old women in Sicily don’t need Internet connections like Twitter or Facebook or any of that nonsense. They have had the Auntienet for generations.

The Auntienet is a network of elderly female relatives and godmothers, which can convey interesting or scandalous information in “real time”. Sicilian children dare not swear in public or pat dirty stray dogs, as The Godmothers Are Watching and their parents will already have devised a punishment before they can get home. The Auntienet is social networking with spanking power.

CIMG4193

Anyway, without further ado, let me present my mother-in-law and some of the other main routers and switches of the Auntienet.

THE GODMOTHER

Likes: Making children eat more than their body weight in food before she lets them leave the table

Dislikes: Priests who make mass last less than three hours

Special skill: Stuffing a chicken inside a turkey inside a lamb and roasting it on a spit

My mother-in-law is a fairly typical Sicilian woman of the older generation. She goes to church twice on Sundays and is godmother to seven children: The Godmother. Her mansize nose is usually poked deeply into other people’s busines whilst her mansize hands are usually busy flaying and massacring vegetables, scrubbing household objects to the brink of oblivion, or twirling rosary beads. They can also spank naughty children, or even a fully grown man, into geostationary orbit when necessary.

(Please note, to avoid risk of divorce I hired a model to pose for this photograph. I think I am safe because my husband only speaks broken English mixed with German, French and Expletive, and the only English word that The Godmother knows is “cuppatino”, which is a cappucino made using a teabag instead of coffee.)

SIGNORA ANNA

Likes: Scrubbing children’s faces clean with a technique called “dermabrasion”

Dislikes: People who say “hello” to her when she is studying them from behind her net curtains

Special skill: Hanging her laundry up from a washing line strung between her window shutters and a nearby lamppost

Signora Anna lives in the flat downstairs from the Godmother’s, and they have some special means of communication so rapid it probably relies on telepathy.

SIGNORA MARIA

Likes: Indoctrinating children in the ways of the Lord

Dislikes: People who say they are on a diet

Special skill: Hoisting loaves of bread up three storeys using a basket tied to twenty metres of rope dangling from her kitchen balcony

By the way, please note that Signora Maria just put on fancy dress to pose for the photo. She normally wears cerise, sequinned velour tracksuits and golden trainers, like Britney Spears when she was fat. It’s a total myth that old Sicilian women wear black all the time. They only wear it when they’re trying to look sexy.

Well, there you have it, a sampling of the good Godmothers of Sicily! God bless them, and long may they live to make sure the kids are brought up properly!

I SCHEDULED PUBLICATION OF THIS POST IN ADVANCE, AS I AM ON HOLIDAY IN ENGLAND TILL THE END OF AUGUST. MY MUM NEEDS AN OPERATION AND MY SISTER HAS JUST HAD A LOVELY BABY GIRL, SO I DON’T KNOW HOW OFTEN I’LL BE ONLINE.

I LOOK FORWARD TO READING ALL YOUR COMMENTS AS SOON AS I CAN!

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “THE GODMOTHER of Sicily, and how to message her on the Auntienet

  1. Auguri on the baby & good thoughts for your mom!
    The network exists… As an adult I walked to the edge of town to buy an Italian playboy magazine for my american husband. As I walked into the house my aunt wanted to know how I could shame them so…. Sigh
    The hoisting bread in a basket is a special skill & should not be attempted by foreigners

    Like

    1. And you’ll probably be reminded of your infraction for the rest of your life. After 46 years my mom is still grousing about my having brought shame to her by riding public transportation in Palermo. It was the late 1960’s and I was in my early twenties and had no idea that I needed a chaperon to ride a bus. Holy hell broke loose and I was not without an entourage wherever I went.

      Like

  2. Congrats on getting 1000 followers! Exciting! They have a similar thing to the Auntienet in rural Ireland. You could call it the curtain-twitcher network I guess 😉

    Like

    1. Thank you!
      Looking forward to seeing the photos of Italy on your blog soon….and I hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip. Can you drop me an email when they’re up? Or maybe a link here so others can find them too?

      Like

      1. the Italy trip was almost a dream trip..thank you so very much, again, for all your recommendations and specific inputs that helped with planning !

        I haven’t got a chance to run through the photos as we are still on vacation, enjoying the heat, the monsoon and power cuts in India, with very and flimsy and medieval net connectivity. I will definitely share the pics as soon as I get a chance to upload them.

        Like

  3. Perfecto – except the bit about back dresses….
    When I have more time i’ll tell you the rules of The Sicilian Code, for how long you have to wear it, dependent on who has died, and the exceptional circumstanes when you can return to normal dress out of respect on who who has deceased, and your relationship connection to them – sometimes very special events allow a quickchange of colour, but some have to return to black until they die- obviously this is a different generation, but respected throughout Sicily, of the generations and offspring, who remember Sicily became independent before Italy, after WW2… You are lucky to be on hol, I’m nearly there…
    best wishes

    Like

    1. That’s interesting about the wearing black – another east-west divide I suppose. In Palermo I’ve (unfortunately) been to a lot of funerals, and even the immediate family were not wearing black. I was very surprised about that!
      Though there are still just a few old women who wear black for the rest of their lives once widowed. It seems to have become a question of personal choice.
      I am enjoying England! Lovely weather!

      Like

  4. Enjoy your much-deserved time in the UK. Hope all goes very well with your Mom’s surgery. We all look forward to your return to Sicily, however, because that is where the real fun lies!

    And kudos to the meddlesome, village aunties who won’t let sleeping dogs lie or lying children sleep! It does “take a village to raise a child” (African proverb?), and now we know those villages are still quite active – in Sicily! I know some kids who could use more scrutiny. Hmm.

    Like

  5. LOVE your blog…love this post! I have a French Auntie network…utterly ferocious! My French grandmother-in-law and French mother-in-law know more about my life than I do…luckily, I now live in Iowa, with only the occasional visit to make it through. There’s nothing more entertaining…and disturbing, than the matinal ritual cafe meeting among the retired “commeres” of the village. The favorite topic; one’s daughter-in-law and her failings. I do not even dare wonder what they talk about when I’m not there!!!

    Like

  6. Hey, I at first thought जागरण मिडिया was in Bengali but looked a bit closer and thought it seemed more like Hindi. So when I was in Queens (NYC) I asked this woman I know from India, and apparently it’s pronounced “jagran media”. So now you know!

    Like

  7. Hi I was just wondering what the Godmother uses for warding off illness? I read your post about the evil eye and it took me back to my childhood at my nonna’s house in Australia and all her superstitions.
    I have a very ill friend and wondering what I can take into the hospital to help her like the pendants and things for the evil eye. Please if you could email me liliy.bray@gmail.com I would be forever grateful as all of that generation of my family (nonna, nonno, biz zia and zio’s) have all past on so I have noone left to ask.

    Like

So, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s