There are memories that you never forget, which not even time can erase or take away. Recollections which for some reason remain there, etched in memory, despite the fact they’ve been encased in silence for years. Then, a spark is struck. All it takes is an opportunity for the idea of sharing to become an urgent, immediate, undeniable need.
All it takes is a Facebook post for fragments of your unforgotten past to remerge. Fun, dramatic, private stories. Stories of seemingly unimportant details and peculiarities, yet which render reality even more real. Vivid images that often remerge in the eyes and the mind of those who, in 1966, hadn’t yet reached double-digits in age. They all remember the great Florence Flood. And each one has their own memory.
“I was there,” many write. “A dramatic past,” others add. Yet for all of them it entails an “indelible memory”. Among the many, very many, citizens who rely on the page “Toscana Firenze 2016” for a memory to bloom as if out of a pressing need, there are those that claim a label. Just like Sonia Andrei who writes, “I, among the many angels…”
Of the hundreds of written messages, those that we publish are just a small portion. Defining them as comments is fitting but inappropriate. After all, the lingo of the web imposes new meanings to words, and so, we need to adapt. However, we still like to refer to them by their name: memories. Because after all, it is the sensation that has a bearing on the meaning. Without entering into semantic interpretations, lets allow the secondary details to keep memories and suggestions alive.
- “I too remember the mud mixed with oil. I dyed my white boots, which back then were very fashionable.”
- “I was fifteen, I worked in Esselunga. We weren’t aware of the flood, but people took everything we had in the store. The director told us to stay to restock the shelves. Then the water began to flow in and the lorry in the courtyard sank into an abyss which had opened because a nearby building was under construction. We lived in a basement apartment, and the water came out of the sewers in piazza Puccini. The tortoise was under the collapsed garden wall. When we found it, it continued to spew water and petrol for a long time. But in the end, it survived.”
- “I remember. We didn’t go to school and we collected water from the tanker.”
- “I worked in via Panzani but I lived in Coverciano. I arrived in piazza Santa Croce by boat. An emotion I won’t forget.”
- “I was two and a half, and I lived in via Santa Reparata. It seems impossible, yet even I have memories. I even remember my house, from which we relocated a couple of months later and of which I have no photos. I’m on piggyback on my dad’s shoulders and we are at the bottom end of via Santa Reparata, just arriving in via XXVII Aprile. I’m up high and I see my dad’s green boots walking in the muddy waters. Its all grey and the water forms whirlpools around his boots. They told me we were trying to get to piazza San Marco, but in the end, we turned back.”
- “At the time, I was 20 years old. At 7 in the morning on November 5th, I went on my Lambretta (mainly with my feet on the ground so as not to fall in) up to Ponte Vecchio and piazza del Duomo. It was a terrible sight. Aside everything, what was striking was the mud, the smell of oil and the bewildered faces of the few people that we came across. Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought to bring a camera, because I didn’t have any film, but mostly because I had no idea of what had happened. I turned back, I found two colour rolls in a shop in piazza Liberta and, armed with camera, this time I returned to take the photos I wanted. But in the meantime, they had closed the whole centre to curious passers-by, so I only took photos of my area (Campo di Marte and its surroundings). Even these, in colour, remained in the basement until two years ago, when I found them and shared them.”
edited by gianluca testa