Biography of the last puparo (=puppeteer)
I also was in Africa as a military worker in 1936. I also fought in the war. The farmers went to work in the fields with day's wages, to work in the vineyards, to clean the corn. Families were poor. They bought a quarter meat and had it "noted" in the shopkeeper's book. When labour was necessary for the wheat harvest, the butcher took the peasants so that they paid with their day's work the debt accumulated. Meat was taken throughout the winter, then the peasant was called to work in the fields to pay for his debt. Who had sheep was better off. There was one who had many children; we gave him some work and my father paid his day. They had so poor they did not have a house, they slept in a cave. In 1915, after the earthquake, barracks were built because the town were destroyed and in one room even seven people slept.
Then you made pizza, always with corn, under the fireplace cover. Corn leaves were used to bake the potatoes and corn plant cuttings were used to make the fire. There was little fire. If the landowners who had given their land in rental to you bought you sheep to take to the fields, when the wool was made you had to sell them the lambs. If it rained, you were forbidden to go to the fields, not to ruin them, "the soil got sick"; so they asked you to do other things just like slaves. The soil got sick. When the land is dry and a shower comes, if you go to work the fields, the soil makes "chetigli", that is, it is"disrupted", the "restupponni" come out, and not even the sheep can go there. You call it "green and dry", the soil sticks to the shoes, and the soil underneath is dry.