We now found that the town as very small, with very narrow streets that wound up and down hill over very rough cobble stones. We were surprised to find, too, that the goats lived right in the houses with the people - not a very nice sort of thing, do you think?
There’s a very old church in the town, built nearly a thousand years ago and a very funny old priest in a funny black cap and none too clean cassock showed us all the treasures in the church. There is some very beautiful carving and inlay work which you wouldn’t expect to find in a place so remote. The biggest attraction in the town, however, was the costumes worn by the women of the town.
You see, many, many years ago the Greeks conquered Italy, and lived here for quite a number of years before they were sent packing back to their own country. But they didn’t all go home then, some of them had settled in this little valley hidden away back in the mountains, and the people who are living there now are all descendents of those early Greeks. They don’t look like Italians even, and on Sunday all the women dress up in their costumes that have been worn for ages. They are very bright colors, with a wide red shawl with fancy border, and the married women wear bright red or brown skirts while the unmarried ones wear green skirts and they have a very fancy head dress all covered with colored embroidery and silver thread. They are very lovely things and I’m going back this next Saturday which is a special holiday or fiesta with them and they’ll all be out dressed in their “best” and I’m going to try and get one to bring home to you. They also wear very fancy belts and I’ll try and get one of those too.
Its very interesting to get away back in there out of the way places, don’t you think? Of course, the people here don’t see much of the outside world, and none of them own motor cars - in fact, the only way they can get about is to wither walk or ride a mule, and the little boys were very interested in our Jeep and had soon climbed all over it and wanted to go for a ride. So you see, the kids here aren’t very different from some I know back in Toronto who were always asking to be taken for a ride, too!
I’ve just received about a dozen grand letters from your schoolmates, and it certainly gave us great pleasure to get them too. Of course I won’t be able to answer them all, as will you just please say “thank you” to all the kiddies who wrote those letters, and also thank your teachers for letting them do it? You might just tell them, too, that we’ve got the Germans on the run now, and we’re going to keep them running until they turn right home. Then we’re going to fix it as they won’t be able to start fighting ever again! Well, my dear, its now my bed time again, so, as they say here in Italy - “Buona Notte” which means “good night”.
I hope you all enjoy your holiday this year, but I’m sure that you will, and maybe next year I shall be home again to go with you and you can then show me what a good swimmer you are now and row me all around the lake like you used to do, eh?
My very best love to Mummy, Freddie and to you, of course.
Do take good care of Mummy for me, and see that she gets plenty of rest this summer.