What did you do at times when you were dead broke?

I lived as a very young girl, already at 17, in a commune in Florence, Italy. We all almost never had money.

 

I lived as a very young girl, already at 17, in a commune in Florence, Italy.

We all almost never had money.

What usually happened anyway was that there was no toilet paper, but we "recycled" newspapers.

These were , ifs went well, even cut into rectangles , punched , with a thread through and hung on a hook.

Mostly the most important was read again before.

At that time, newspapers were still good for something.

Sometimes we didn't know in the morning what we would eat in the evening. We didn't eat anything in the morning anyway.

Then one of the men went into a bookstore and stole a book. There was another bookseller who bought these books for then for little money.

For a good book there were 5000 lire. That would be 2 Dollars fifty today.

For that I bought food for everyone. That was always pasta. I remember one day it was noodles with rape, which is a green vegetable.

Eight of us sat at our big kitchen table and each had a not very big plate of noodles.

The doorbell rang. We didn't have a phone and anyway, we always had visitors.

So two more people. Sigh.

It was normal then to take so much from each of our plates that the two visitors also got a portion each. And no one let on.

It was so long ago, but I remember going to bed very hungry that night.

In the picture, that's me, at 17 years old, in this very kitchen:

 


Roger Baguma

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