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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:09 pm 
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I'll still take the washer/dryer over the rock! I know this is a generalization but I think women will find a way to communicate with each other as their times and situations change. :lol: Sadly, I don't think Maria had many options in her life other than to struggle on.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:44 pm 
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Maybe it was just Maria's personality. Some people are just loners. My mom was. I can see her doing the same thing.....keeping to herself in her house, seeking only the company of her children.....catering to her husband....because that is what women were expected to do--serve their husbands. I think Maria was a product of her time and her heritage.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:04 pm 
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Friends, friends, violence is not the answer! Put away the rolling pins!:lol:

Has anyone read Angela's Ashes? I read it years ago, when it first came out, but I remember being aghast at the family's relationship with the Catholic church (and the priests' attitudes toward the family), and this book reminded me of that. I wonder if Maria didn't socialize at church because she felt everyone there was looking down at her, as in Angela.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:07 pm 
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I agree Maria was a product of her time and culture. I wished she had stood up for herself more, but as has been said women accepted their lot in life. Maria was very much in love with her husband and married him despite her mother's disapproval which also could have something to do with the way she behaved.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:16 pm 
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I read the question this morning, groaned deeply inside, and went on my merry way to the local harvest festival to spend the day ....... but I still don't have much better idea how to respond about Maria than I did before I left home this morning. :dunce:

I will first say I agree with Liz. Some of the ways Maria coped with her life might have had to do with her individual personality. Although both women lived in the same town in the same time, Mrs. Hildegarde faced her problems in a much different way.

And once again, a reminder that we don't know all the backstory so we don't know what lead up to this situation. And I heartily agree that being raised by a mother like hers could have done some real damage.

Where was Maria to go with no education, no skills, no visible system of support, and three children to feed, clothe and house? If she needed to stay in her circumstances, then it made sense to create the least unpleasantness with Svevo that she could manage. Some men do not respond well to a rolling pin on the noggin! I think she did what she thought she had to do. Yes, there were times I wanted to shake some "sense" into her........but then what? It would have been so hard for Maria to leave or to throw Svevo out of the house because there were have been a horrific religious and social stigma placed on her for not staying true to her marriage vows.

Personally, I loved being a SAHM. I looked forward to the day when I could be a SAHGM, gardening, sewing for my grandchildren, embroidering things for the church bazaar, doing the things I watched my mother and grandmother do before me. My husband's dream for my life is that I have a payroll job, and so I go to work everyday. I don't think that makes me "liberated", either!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:40 pm 
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fansmom wrote:
Friends, friends, violence is not the answer! Put away the rolling pins!:lol:

Has anyone read Angela's Ashes? I read it years ago, when it first came out, but I remember being aghast at the family's relationship with the Catholic church (and the priests' attitudes toward the family), and this book reminded me of that. I wonder if Maria didn't socialize at church because she felt everyone there was looking down at her, as in Angela.
I had completely forgotten about Angela's Ashes, which I read with sympathy and interest. But the narrator son was a very different person than Arturo (and was he much older as the narrator? I've forgotten.) Is that what allows me to cut Angela some slack and not Maria. I don't know, but it is a good comparison.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:43 pm 
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I have heard of the book but not read it. Another one to add to the list?



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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:47 pm 
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nebraska wrote:
I read the question this morning, groaned deeply inside, and went on my merry way to the local harvest festival to spend the day ....... but I still don't have much better idea how to respond about Maria than I did before I left home this morning. :dunce:

I will first say I agree with Liz. Some of the ways Maria coped with her life might have had to do with her individual personality. Although both women lived in the same town in the same time, Mrs. Hildegarde faced her problems in a much different way.

And once again, a reminder that we don't know all the backstory so we don't know what lead up to this situation. And I heartily agree that being raised by a mother like hers could have done some real damage.

Where was Maria to go with no education, no skills, no visible system of support, and three children to feed, clothe and house? If she needed to stay in her circumstances, then it made sense to create the least unpleasantness with Svevo that she could manage. Some men do not respond well to a rolling pin on the noggin! I think she did what she thought she had to do. Yes, there were times I wanted to shake some "sense" into her........but then what? It would have been so hard for Maria to leave or to throw Svevo out of the house because there were have been a horrific religious and social stigma placed on her for not staying true to her marriage vows.

Personally, I loved being a SAHM. I looked forward to the day when I could be a SAHGM, gardening, sewing for my grandchildren, embroidering things for the church bazaar, doing the things I watched my mother and grandmother do before me. My husband's dream for my life is that I have a payroll job, and so I go to work everyday. I don't think that makes me "liberated", either!


Hi Nebraska, For not knowing how you wanted to answer about Maria you have summed it up pretty well. I think all of us rolling pin gals agree with you that it was never an option for Maria and definitely not her way. She really thought Stevo would be faithful to her and in her time that was a good life. She really had no control over their financial situation, she was dependent on her husband. We just happened in on her lowest point, when she realized that loving Stevo was not enough to keep him faithful. Up to that time she believed she had that even if they weren't rich.

I have been a working gal all my life. I would rather have been a SAHM but life doesn't work out like we dream it will when we're young. My cousin has been a SAHM and never worked a day in her life. We are both retired now and I really don't know if either of us are liberated.

Fansmom I added Angela's Ashes to my reading list. Between you zone ladies and Johnny, my to read list will never be empty.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:57 pm 
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We just happened in on her lowest point, when she realized that loving Stevo was not enough to keep him faithful. Up to that time she believed she had that even if they weren't rich.


That is a good point, gemini. I think the one thing, other than the church, that she counted on in her life was gone. She must have felt so helpless and alone. I have to keep reminding myself not to see her through modern eyes.



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Wow! What a ride!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:58 pm 
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nebraska wrote:
Personally, I loved being a SAHM. I looked forward to the day when I could be a SAHGM, gardening, sewing for my grandchildren, embroidering things for the church bazaar, doing the things I watched my mother and grandmother do before me. My husband's dream for my life is that I have a payroll job, and so I go to work everyday. I don't think that makes me "liberated", either!


You struck a chord there with me, Nebraska. I am a SAHM because I choose to be. I have always resented those who looked down on me for that. For the last 18 years I have been more liberated than I was when I was working. But that is today…..in today’s society. Now, I’m itching to go back to work BECAUSE I WANT TO. That is the key. We are very lucky that we, as women, have these options in today’s world. Actually, probably more are FORCED to work because of today's economy. I just hope someone will hire me now.

I never read Angela’s Ashes, but I did read it’s sequel, 'Tis. It was a good book in it's own right.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:30 pm 
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I also wondered why Maria didn't have a small garden? She could have grown some vegetables and canned them. Tomato plants =tomato sauce. (zucchini, peppers, eggplant, carrots, green beans!) It sounded like the Bandini family must have had a small area to grow something. Didn't they have to walk down to the coal shed? Most Italian families survived on chickens/eggs, homeade bread and homeade pasta, and their vegetable gardens during the Depression. My father's family certainly did. They didn't have much meat, but my Grandmother sure knew how to stretch the food! (They lived in the city too, but still had a small area to grow a few things in the small backyard.)
P.S. How about fish? Wasn't there anywhere to catch fish?

These are just some of the things I pondered while reading the book.



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:38 am 
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Good questions, Bermuda. If they had a place for chickens they should have had a place for a garden. Maybe Maria's thumb wasn't so green. :eyebrow:



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Wow! What a ride!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:07 pm 
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Like I said before, I don't think Maria was very resourceful. She couldn't think out of the box. I know women were supposed to be dependent back then, but she was sooo dependent that when push came to shove she was incapable of helping herself or her family. I saw her as being hopelessly needy. It seemed like both Svevo and Maria were locked in a self-limiting mindset that didn't let them consider any alternatives, even one as simple and basic as planting a garden for food.



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:30 pm 
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I think one thing that makes Maria difficult for me to sympathize with is that I've known women of that generation (my grandma) who had families in similarly difficult circumstances who were not as dependent and passive as Maria. My grandma didn't even start high school, much less finish it, and neither did my grandpa. They lived pretty much hand-to-mouth, but worked very hard, and made some good choices, and all of their eight children who lived to adulthood were solidly middle class. (An example of their hard work and good choices? They moved from Chicago to a college town in Iowa, where she managed the college bookstore and he worked as a janitor and the college gave them free tuition for all of their kids. All eight ended up with graduate degrees as well.)

Many of you probably have similar stories. I know my husband's family does.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:31 am 
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Maria was small-minded, fearful and repeated the same destructive relationship with her mother in her marriage. I think this was who she was, and although conditions of Depression era America may have amplified her weaknesses, she would be essentially the same person had she lived today.

Whereas Svevo blamed everyone else for his shortcomings, Maria martyred herself using God, her children and even her wayward husband as an excuse for doing nothing to change her circumstances. She certainly didn’t deserve Svevo’s callous and brutish treatment, but her choices left the ground fertile for it to take root.



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