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Laura Lipari, Author Part XVI : Tortorici


A fellow who worked on the ranch came to me once and I asked him for his name. He said that he didn’t know his name, but he was from Tortorici. He asked if I knew anything about Tortorici, which I didn’t. So he thought to let me know a little about this town; after all, many of those who worked for my husband were from there. He told me that in Tortorici you don’t know who is who and when you want to find someone, it would take a whole day to find them because nobody knew everyone’s names. When a baby is born there, they don’t go to city hall and register so the Italian government can’t find them. Imagine that, not documenting the births. He said especially the boys too, so they wouldn’t be drafted; this was especially the case after Garibaldi, previous general of Italian military. He said that they learned that all the people in the government from a neighboring town treated those in Tortorici worse than a Spanish landlord. So they created the order that all men at age 18 must report when the time comes to the military. Street in Sicilia So these officials would come looking for the men in the plaza of the town, but none would be there. So they asked where the men were and the women said “We don’t know, we have been working.” They had said they were working in the fields doing their own harvest! The officers searched the town and couldn’t come up with one man. They came up with kids and old people, but no young men. They had hidden throughout the mountains and in the caves. They said they would not work for the Italian government. The Sicilians have their own code: God first, family second, and to hell with the Roman government; but really it was God First, family second, and the country third. This man said that if our country is called to go to war, we will serve our country; but we will not go and serve them before that moment.