Broken Threads, tells the story of the Author's family.
Her mother was Italian, and the daughter of a wealthy fascist merchant who, brainwashed by the doctrines of Hitler and Mussolini, aspired to be the next great dictator, while his wife and daughter were Partisans, secretly helping Italian Jews escape. Ingrid's father was an American secret service agent, who helped them, but later vanished. More
In 1946 my father, Richard Hamilton, was a US secret service agent in Italy, assigned to infiltrate the Sironi family, by any means possible, and to eradicate the local wave of Neo-Fascism led by my grandfather, Carlo Sironi. My young, beautiful mother, Carlo’s daughter, became the means and later the victim.
Richard infiltrated the family by marrying her.
Decades went by before I became aware of all my family’s secrets. Secrets and events that seemed so far-fetched, I often questioned their validity. However as the same stories were told to me by different people at separate times during my life, their authenticity was confirmed.
My mother, father, and grandmother belonged to a legion of unknown heroes. Yet I can’t help but wonder, did my parents truly fall in love or was their union just a political plan?
Was I just an accident of war? Was I born out of love or was I simply the result of an Allied maneuver? Was my whole life a lie? A lie bigger than life, bigger than love, which could only be justified by those who believed in the end of prejudice.
Maybe in view of the final result, the triumph of equality and humanity, the love of just two people does not matter. Only family, values, responsibilities do. I have lived my life painfully reminding myself of these priorities, never letting them go.
I was very young when I began to realize the cocoon that sheltered me was made of lies, my grandfather’s evil lies and my mother’s protective lies.
And as I grew, nothing ever seemed real, just chapters of a fable.
As a young girl I was often referred to as “the child of the Italian butterfly,” a larva from which a colorful butterfly would one day take flight. The butterfly they referred to was Puccini’s Opera, Madame Butterfly, whose main character was a geisha abandoned with child by an American officer.
My grandfather succeeded in sending my father away, by telling him my mother had died, and he let my mother believe her spouse had abandoned her. Throughout my childhood, my mother and grandmother lied to spare me from the painful truth of abandonment and deceit.
For the first ten years of my life, I was told my father was a soldier fighting wars in other parts of the world, and that he would one day return.
As time passed, I realized that was not true. I was shrouded by sins committed in the name of the ideology of the times, and the never ending mystery that had haunted me for a lifetime.
My grandfather’s plan was simple and a fire at his factory, was an opportunity that fell into his hands. If Maria were dead, surely Richard would go back to the States. Many American G.I.s had left young Italian women with babies in their arms or bellies. He expertly played the cards life dealt him. My parents would never see each other again.
As for me? I would not know who I was for a very, very long time. A product of "broken threads."
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