Susan P. Blevins was born in England, lived 26 years in Italy, and has now resided in the USA for the past 24 years, first in Taos, NM, and currently in Houston, TX. While living in Rome she had a weekly column in an international, English-language newspaper, writing about food and restaurant reviews primarily, though not exclusively. Since living in the USA she has written pieces on gardens and gardening for N. American and European publications (Sunset Magazine, Garten Praxis), and she is now writing stories of her life, travels and philosophy and is gaining traction in various literary publications (including Negative Capability, Kind of a Hurricane, New Verse News, When Women Waken, Chicago Literati, Mused BellaOnline, Feminine Collective, Scarlet Leaf, and many others). She loves reading, writing, cats, classical music, and stimulating conversation, and believes that the purpose of life is love and service.
THE YELLOW HOUSE
I fell in love with you the first time I saw you, ten years ago. Your golden ochre walls smiled at me through the wrought-iron gate, your warm, buttery glow reaching beyond the bars and over the high wall along the street, to stream out and bathe me in your sunshine. This has to be a happy house, I thought to myself. Well, happy to my mind anyway, for one very simple reason. This little two story house shouts out to me of Italy, inviting me to enter. Ciao bella! Benvenuta! I owned a golden colored house once, hunkered into the fecund countryside around Rome. I loved that house, with its vines stretching up behind it, and the big vegetable garden I planted, and my wine cellar, dug out of the living tufa rock, holding never less than 5,000 liters of wine, from my land, my labor, not to mention the two gnarled fig trees laden with fruit twice a year. Hard work living there, yes, but happy times shared with various cats, and Mommo, the contadino who lived close by and taught me how to tend my vines. So although we are inTexas, dear little yellow house, you have become Italy for me. I drive past you slowly, first one way and then the other, and sometimes I even stop and peer in, and wonder. Wonder if one day I will ever live in you. The front steps leading up to the bright front door beckon me, and in my fantasy I go up them and slip through the door into my Italian reality. I hear strains of opera, and sometimes the sounds of Neapolitan music, see the folk dancers clad in white, red and green, the colors of the Italian flag, merrily laughing as they grab my hands and whirl me into the rhythm of their tarantella. I inhale the nostalgic aromas I smelled only in Italy, of fresh, home-grown, home-made tomato sauce, of basil pulled in bunches from the garden, branches of fragrant rosmarino stuffed into roasting chicken, and parsley, or erbetta, meaning little grass, as the Romans fondly call parsley, that goes well with everything. They even liken a person to prezzemolo if that person fits in well in multiple circumstances. She’s like prezzemolo, they say. So many food expressions, so much earthy celebration of life. All this I feel wash over me every time I look at you, dear little yellow house of my dreams. What was, what might still be.