The next 18 years Cesarina would spend her time at the Villa of the Ferrari Family. She once told me the time she spent there was better than going to any college. It was a finishing school of sorts for her. By the time she was a teenager, she was sent to the Ferrari Family Villa. She started off as a maid, the one scrubbing the floors, and waxing the floors. After she would wax the floor, and sigh in relief of being finished for the day…Sergio would slide down the entire corridor, and ruin the fresh wax. She would then run after him, and catch him by the ear. Taking him to Maria, (his mother), where he would have to explain what he had done.
The villa was a big place, after coming from a one room stone house. Cesarina had her own quarters at the Villa. Soon, after all her hard work, Maria promoted her to the head Housekepper. She was very close to Maria, and even after Cesarina came to the United States the two of them regularly wrote long letters to each other.
Maria was quoted often, even though the family had money, once a week Cesarina had to plan a meal that was not decadent. Sometimes, they even had a salad, with a boiled egg. Maria reminded Cesarina that being humble and never forgetting where one comes from is an education in itself.
Utilize what you have on hand. There is no need to go to the store constantly, if there is proper planning…everything has a substitute, so learn how to substitute one item for another.
Cabinets that are open should be as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Keep all the linens with colored bows for each member of the family.
Clean the house by starting with the ceiling, and then the tops of the furniture, and work your way down to the floor.
Always keep fresh flowers in the house.
Warm lemon water with a teaspoon of honey is a cure all for everything.
Always put things back where they were found.
The place should look better, upon leaving.
When attending a crowded venue, know an escape route or don’t stop.
Save your money, save your money, save your money.
Buy one fine thing for yourself every now, and again, this makes the item more precious, and more worthwhile.
Bella figura…leave the house presentable, always look your best, and present yourself with dignity, grace and beauty.
When going to visit, go with something in your hands. My grandmother used to tell us…”if you are not knocking with your feet, you are doing something wrong.” Which means…Your hands should be full, your hostess worked hard to put something together for a visit. Pay some respect by showing her how much it is appreciated.
Cesarina in the garden.
A more personal photo of Cesarina.
Here she is having some fun in a Fiat 500.
In front of the Villa with the dog she loved. I know she loved the dog, someone wrote on the back that she loved the dog and the dog loved her. Once she lived in the United States, she did not want another animal. This is Stephanie and Maria. Cesarina never called her “Maria” to me. She always called her “Senora Ferrari”, and I am guessing, that the flowers are pre wedding flowers. Is Maria trying to console Stephanie?
Stephanie, is getting married. With all the stories that Cesarina told me, I never heard about Stephanie. These photos were taken in the early 60’s, and Ceasrina did not stay at the Ferrari Villa much longer.
Here is a photo of the two of them after Stephanie was married. Even though there are several years of letters from Maria, there are no letters from Stephanie. I will have to read the letters to find out what happened to her. Since they were close in age, maybe it was a little jealously between the two of them. Maria acted as a mother that taught her so much, it was her advice that stayed with Cesarina all those years. She was a constant in her life.
I will add more next week…