Dangers of Italian wind

It always struck me as strange that for a coastal city,  wind was considered such a mortal risk in Naples. I’m not talking about howling winds, tornado winds or hurricane winds. I mean breezes that might just flutter summer leaves. Careful mothers in the south would not bring out a bundled baby in such conditions. What would people say?

Such wind could give a healthy child bronchitis or pneumonia in a flash, I heard over and over. God forbid wind on the stomach. No end of the trouble. I woke up once with one eye bright red from a burst blood vessel. The doctor’s first question: “Were you in wind?”

On boiling hot nights when a fan (I thought) would be so nice, maybe an overhead fan, my neighbors recoiled in horror. Wind on your face at night? Wind on the stomach? Don’t risk it. Wind when you’re sweating? That leads straight to chills and their natural sequelae: bronchitis, pneumonia and early death. Thus the oft-heard admonition to children running about in parks in the summer: “Don’t run. Don’t sweat.” You wonder how so many boys survived to be superb soccer players.

All this wind phobia reminded me of The Secret Garden. Remember Mary Lennox at the start of that wonderful book? Thin, sallow, unpleasant, contrary, selfish. What fixed her right up, brought color to her face, gave her appetite, improved her mind and disposition, even thickened her hair? Brisk Yorkshire wind and plenty of it. Globalization might bring depressing similarity to grocery stores of Yorkshire and Naples, but living with wind is quite a local matter.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

Tagged with:
Posted in WWWS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Sunday, May 6, 2pm reading from latest work at Hexagon Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN.

Thursday, May 10, 6-8 pm presentation on research on the historical novel, Blount County Library, Maryville, TN.

When We Were Strangers, Italian translation, to be presented in Pescasseroli, Italy, August 2018.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 2,017 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: