Cultural Institution Blesok • Established 1998
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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 55 | volume X | July-August, 2007



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 55July-August, 2007

The Gorge

p. 1
Umberto Eco

    My memory is proglottidean, like the tapeworm, but unlike the tapeworm it has no head, it wanders in a maze, and any point may be the beginning or the end of its journey. I must wait for the memories to come of their own accord, following their own logic. That is how it is in the fog. In the sunlight, you see things from a distance and you can change directions purposefully in order to meet up with something particular. In the fog, something or someone approaches you, but you do not know what or who until it is near.
    But when I think of my life at the Oratorio I can see it all, like a film. No longer proglottidean but, rather, a logical sequence …
    Life changed when I was eleven years old, with my evacuation, in 1943, to Solara. In the city, I had been a melancholy boy who played with his schoolmates for a few hours a day. The rest of the time, I was curled up with a book. In Solara, where I could walk to the town school by myself and romp through the fields and vineyards, I was free, and uncharted territory opened up before me. And I had many friends to roam with.
    When the Allies were bombing the city, we could see the distant flashes from our windows in Solara, hear the rumbling of something like thunder. The war had made us fatalists, a bombing was like a storm. We kids kept playing calmly through Tuesday evening, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. But were we really calm? Were we not beginning to be marked by anxiety, by the stunned and relieved melancholy that grips anyone who passes alive through a field strewn with corpses?
    At the Oratorio, where we spent our afternoons after school, we were basically free, rounded up only at six, for catechism and benediction; otherwise we did as we pleased. There was a rudimentary merry-go-round, a few swings, and a small theatre, where I trod the boards for the first time, in “The Little Parisian Girl.” Older boys also came to the Oratorio, and even young men – ancient to us – who played Ping-Pong or cards, though not for money. That good man Don Cognasso, the Oratorio’s director, required of them no profession of faith; it was enough that they came there instead of caravanning toward the city on bicycles, even at

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