“Mamma Maria, forced to leave school, was considered a rebel because she was unwilling to serve the men of the house”

diary of Franchina Tresoldi, artist, Lodi (Italy)

“Maria, my mother,  was born in Abruzzo in 1908, the last of 5 brothers. The first, enlisted during World War I, did not return from Russia.
The family, as Maria recalls, suffers greatly from this absence that means awaits a solution forever, above all for the perennial sadness of the mother and for paternal rigidity. The father is an employee of the state and therefore moves with his family to different places in Italy.
It’s a wealthy family. The children study; one graduates as a surveyor, the other graduates in law and the third in letters.
In the mid-twenties, Maria is a lively girl, awake, attending high school, she also wants to graduate like her brothers. Her friends are her schoolmates with whom she studies and goes out for a walk when her homework is over. She is good, she has good report cards.
It was perhaps the last year of gymnasium when her mother Sofia, a Calabrian woman with 4 sisters, descendant of a noble family fallen because of the absolutely anomalous way of life of her father, a baron (she threw coins from the window to the peasants and he cross-stitched magnificent tapestries), died.
Following this mourning, his father, hardened by so many pains, forced his daughter Maria to leave school. Why? Because she is a woman and even if she is  just a girl, she has to take care of the house and of all the males. None of her brothers, not even the one closest to her in age and education, takes her part.
This brings great suffering to the adolescent Maria in the following life, even if she then married my father who, a genius at work, provided by himself for the maintenance of our family of 6 people.
But Maria would have liked to have a profession that put her on a par with my father. And, although we were in the 50s, he had no doubt for us, her 3 daughters, to built our own profession.
When two of our uncles, who liked us very much, came to visit us, my mother Maria did not fail to start a discussion about the life of sacrifice she had to make as the only daughter. As a result I have always envied boys of my age, because they seemed freer to me; in fact when some of my brother’s friends told him that I was pretty, I got angry, because I would prefer they tell him that I was intelligent.
Only time and personal growth, deepening the great feminine potential and the experience of generating a daughter, made me happy to be a woman.
I am Franchina Tresoldi, daughter of the 40s, who has spent many different periods in studies, politics, religious research and feminism, always with a certain individualistic vision even in a positive sense because I have not renounced my artistic craft qualities with which I maintained myself and practiced my profession, which still continues with suffering and great joy. “

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