Saturday, February 20, 2010



What ever possessed my parents to send a 12-year-old girl (alone) up a winding, narrow and sometimes icy mountain road, leading two oxen attached to a big carriage to load firewood?

The round trip was about 40 miles and many times I had to make the trip in the snow and rain with temperatures sometimes hitting 20 and 40 below zero . During my childhood in Friuli this type of work was common and I didn’t mind the work, but I did mind very much the responsibility that they placed on my shoulders. Thinking about it today, I still can’t forgive my parents for putting me in such a dangerous situation. The carriage itself was unstable and the old brakes kept failing as it moved down the mountain side. On top of that, the road was so narrow that you could look over the side, 40 to 50 feet below to where a river ran through the rocks. A little mistake on my part guiding the animals would have sent the carriage and all of us with it over the side to our doom. To this day, I can not forgive my parents for putting me in such a dangerous situation. Was this not a form of child abuse? Read on.

The fear of falling has stayed with me all my life. I still dream of falling off a cliff into a deep hole. In my dreams I’m on top of a mountain, either leading that old Ox cart, or driving a car. The ending is always the same – off the side I go and down into the abyss below. The only thing that saves me is that I wake up shaking with fright.

I have many fond memories about growing up in Friuli, but this is not one of them.

Anon Furlana


RENO said...

Thanks (Anon) for that great article , on the child abuse . In the old days in the old world , this kind of abuse was very common as you well know. I have heard many similar stories (from the old folk). Reno

Canadian Furlan said...

That was a very good summary of how life was in the Friuli of the past. Good account of your feelings Anon, and how your feelings have not changed after all these years. The life in rural Friuli was basically hard work, especially in the pre-Alps such as Nimis and going further north into Carnia, which is considered the true Friuli. Lets face it the only source of work was farming in many cases you lived off the land, basically growing the crops a family would consume and feed to animals that would be slaughtered for consumption. All this work was conducted on steep mountain and rolling slopes a very difficult daily job. Many people would start work early in the morning going out at 4am and working till late in the evening. The source of labor was immediate family, thus the results of large families. As soon as the children were old enough 8 - 12 years old off to work they went no matter the gender. My grandfather born in 1888 in a small town near Udine, was sent out at 8 years old, going to work in Austria bringing the miners water. Not the best of experiences at an early age. These individuals, as Anon has expressed have great resentment and their character is very hardened due to these experiences.
But as Ivano states "SEMPRE AVANTI"

Ciao e Mandi


I like the picture and my story on your blog Ivano. You can tell Rino and Doriano that it is true that back in those times kids were given difficults task helping families making a living, but I did not see anybody like me up in the Bernadia mountain!