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I remember the oven of Annita in via Forno. What originality!

It was mostly a dark hovel, blackened by thick layers of soot accumulated on the walls over years and years of activity handed down for generations.

The Irpinia earthquake of 1980 made it an indistinguishable rubble.

It was not the only oven in Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, but it was certainly the oldest. It had not been shut down even during the war years.

Nobody ever knew how she did it, but the baker had managed to survive even only with the ration cards and the quota of flour that had affected every family in the town.

The baker’s oven was also the place where the women of the neighbourhood, and not only those, met not only to bake but also to have a chat between females.

And for this, in addition to bread, confessions, rumours and chatter among themselves were also baked. In short, it was the shop of gossip among wives!

And yes, because all the women in town among them were called commara. That they really weren’t, it mattered little.

Annita always knew how to feed gossip, while rekindling the flame by adding twigs and beech logs.

She tried to be careful, however, that the chatter did not slip (which is easy enough, actually) to malignancy, slander, insinuations, defamations, machinations.

She did not always succeed, however, so that talking about the expenses while waiting for the bread to bake to perfection often led to more or less truthful, more or less lawful rumours and suspicions.

Like that time when it was whispered that the daughter of the friend Gina had arrived at the altar a few months pregnant, muddying the white virtue of the wedding dress. In short, an authentic mortal sin!

Certainly the mid-wife will be able to say that it will be a 7 month birth ...” Carmela said, promptly picked up by midwife Memena who added piously: “She is not the first and she will not be the last to be taken before going to church! ».

The dress, however, was just fine … She looked like a princess“,

added the baker, to lighten the conversation and hoping to save her soul.

“Yes, Princess Taitù!” Said Peppinella the sarcastic woman, whose relations with the bride’s mother were notoriously worn due to previous misunderstandings.

The illusion, however, on that occasion did not pass without consequences.

Upon hearing that there had been gossip about her daughter, the next day the bride’s mother broke into Annita’s oven and, with her hands on her hips and a firm attitude, said she was ready to tell life, works and miracles about all those loquacious wives.

And if that wasn’t enough, even about their daughters, daughters-in-law and mothers of mothers up to the seventh generation.

Jesus, Jesus … as if we knew her now Peppinella!” Finally exploded, before slamming the half door that separated the oven from the alley behind her.

This was Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi. And this in a different way is still life in our town.