Saturday, August 12, 2006


ASHES

The house smelled like granny smith apples:
Nonno at the woodstove downstairs
throwing in more birch, searing
the cast iron top.

Upstairs, Nonna showed us
their first son's headstone, cut
in 1999:
Giovanni Bozzer
Gianni
1954

The plan had his name on a sash
held up by doves
shimmering under murkey red and green
Christmas lights. The stone was drawn to
scale, vast compared to
Uncle Gianni, cremated
3 days old.

Artist Statement:

Mail is a form of travel. Contributing to this call, is the same as my being there. The dark side of some fairytales is clear to us. But I took this opportunity to recall the stories passed down to me, or learned through artifacts. My artwork is meant to capture the spirit which exists in correspondence mail: time travel, earth travel and emotional travel. Much of my family continues to reside in Trail, and though I grew up in larger cities, the concept of Trail was close by. It was the perfect fairytale place, a place we wished was closer by. It represented what Italy could no longer provide for my Grandfather after World War II when many thought Canada would be the best place to raise families. Trail was perfect, yet there was always going to be problems: English as a second language, occupational hazards for hard labourers, fear of poverty and disgrace to family, to name a few.

Another problem was the road. I was told of school kids, right out of Grade 12 who drove off a cliff coming into town. Then I found a memo, tucked into my Grandfather's brake technician manual. The memo was dated February 20th, 1978 when 3 men were trapped in an old wooden bridge. My Grandfather drove down and dug them out at 4:30 a.m. before taking his shift. He saved their lives.

Grandmother, who had been reluctant to come to Canada, had their firstborn child, a son, within the year. The baby died after three days and was my Grandparent's only child to have been given an Italian name. Grandmother used to take me and my younger sister and a bucket of flowers to the cemetery. There was no headstone back then, but Grandmother called the place under a tree "my baby". In 1999, (45 years later), she was ready to finish grieving and had a headstone drawn up.

There isn't much written correspondence between my relatives in Trail and Italy but there are many photographs which I use along with poetry to illustrate the good superimposed on the bad.

Danielle Walker, Canada

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay! Thanks for sending me the link! I already posted the original link you sent me a few emails back in my livejournal account. Feel free to browse around! My user id is "umbrella_term".

Danielle

6:47 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your statement. Nice to know your personal connection to Trail.

7:47 PM PDT  

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