The Boy in the War Zone

Later on, Menotti got together with a Communist woman from Ancona, and he embraced her politics as well. My uncle Umberto had continued to work as a radio technical manager for Italcable, a communication company, a position that forced him to belong to the Fascist party. He too, however, was no Fascist and connected right away with the American Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB) to establish another communication company that worked for the Allies. From PWB he received the equipment that in January 1945 launched the Italian news agency ANSA. His sister Lina had gone through a difficult time because her husband Archimede Bozzo, an army major, had defected early on owing to his strong anti-Fascist beliefs. He had spent the occupation time in a monastery near Rome in
the company of several Jews whom the blessed monks had hidden inside. He too had survived.

At long last, I started my school year at the Torquato Tasso, one the premier lyceums in Italy. But I still had a few arrows in my irresponsible quiver. I had hidden and brought with me from Viserba a last clip of bullets. I decided to commit one last crazy act. I took the powder out of the bullets and laid the cartridge cases on the rails of the Circolare Rossa, the Red Circular tramway that traversed Piazza Fiume, close to my school. The wheels of the tram caused the cartridge cases to go off. My friends and I listened to the detonations from a safe distance. The visibly alarmed conductor got off the tram and furiously looked around for the culprits. I had escaped death several times and this time I had escaped punishment.

All in all, I had an incredible childhood. Upon mature reflection, I daresay that the danger I sustained made me a better man and imbued me with deep respect for all the survivors in the world.  This, not vanity, is what made me write this story at the sunset of my life.  

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