The flue pandemic
12 March 2020 | In Taravai
This Virus situation is new and scary for everybody. If you don't worry, then you are either stupid or naive or both.
Only the drastic Chinese system of locking down has worked so far. They fucked up early, when local officials tried to hide it. But once it looked serious, they did
what had to be done. Fired those officials and locked everybody up. That's the only system that works nothing else.
In the early 1900 hundreds my grandpa lost his wife to the Spanish Flue. From one day to the next he was alone with 4 small children and a 12 h work schedule. He
carried a big box around his neck. That was his hearing aid connected to a big earpiece. Grandma always worried that he would lose his job to somebody without a
disability. The Swiss Army made him shoot a rifle without any ear protection. If you lost your hearing you where a whimp. Tuff tits. No money.
So from one day to the next around 1920 he had to find new woman that could help him with the kids. All healthy Christian women were already taken or surely not
interested in a hard of hearing widower with 4 hungry kids. So he found a �"second hand woman�", one that nobody wanted. She was young, single and beautiful but
already had a son without ever being married. Shame on her. In those days it was a disaster! You where a slut! On top of that, her son was not even pure Swiss. No,
he was half ITALIEN for heaven's sake. This woman that I loved forever, was my grandmother. Her heart was golden and I still miss her badly.
She had 4 more kids with Grandpa, one of them was my dear Mom. She raised 4 kids that were not hers, then 4 of her own and �"Otto�" the �"Italian�". It must have been
hell to be branded as �"easy�" or whatever they said in those days. In my family everybody talked about the Italian incident, but not in front or Grandma. After all the
kids left her house my Moms sister dropped her kid at Grandma's �"for a few days�". These few days lasted for 20 years as she raised my cousin as well. His own Mom
was not interested. It was this cousin that had the guts to tease my Grandmother often about the unholy Italian adventure. By that time she was well in her 70s and I
remember clearly how she turned all red in her face, like a ripe tomato. All he had to do was mentioning his name: �"Giancarlo Nicolussi�" and she flushed like a
teenage girl. I was touched a bid to see how my cousin exposed her. She giggled and held a handkerchief over her mouth and begged him to stop.
Otto's life ended sad. He was taken to the hospital with a broken leg and died shortly after they fixed it .It was a nasty flue again, that came into the city and took him
with only 17 years of age. Hard to believe but that's how it went in the 1940s or so.
She put a notice in the newspaper, as Otto Nicolussi. She was devastated. According to all brothers and sisters he was everybody's darling, had a lot of charm and
they all went to the funeral off course.
At the funeral was a woman that my Grandmother never saw before. She had with her a young boy that looked very much like Otto's twin brother. This woman gave
her condolences and asked her why the name Nicolussi ? Grandma was trembling, but took the time to tell her about this incidence with Giancarlo. The other woman
was relieved and told her that she also had a child from Giancarlo and pointed at Max her boy. It wasn't the time to explain it all at this funeral. They met later and
both confessed that they were always reading the obituaries, hoping to see if Giancarlo died in Switzerland. But he never came to Basel again. He left those two
women after this short interlude, never to be seen again. But they both were still madly in love and never found out what happened to him.
Both women kept on seeing each other, sharing this very similar story, and became friends. Max soon had a �"legitimate�" brother since his Mom had married. Often
all kids from both families played together and this is how my parents met�....playing as kids in the sandbox. Lotti my mother was Otto's half sister and Hans my dad,
was Max's half brother. And both my Grandmothers had a one night stand with an Italian lover. I think it's great hi hi hi . Today you wouldn't lose much thought about
such trivial encounters. But then it was a sin and it lasted 9 months for everybody to see it later!!!
So the flue makes stories �...sad and happy ones. I for one would not be here, if not for Mr. Nicolussi. My parents would have never met.
It was cool for me as a kid to meet Max, my dad's older half brother. He impressed me. He was charming, flamboyant and often did business that my dad was
My Mom told me that Max invited both my parents to a dancing club in Basel. The �" Singerhaus�" had life bands and my parents could never afford the cover charge.
No problem for Max, he didn't dance like my parents but loved to watch the hot women in their 1950 outfits. To spice up the mood, he pulled out a handful of 5 Franc
notes and threw them into the dancing crowd. Laughing as they stopped dancing, scrambling for the bills. You earned maybe 100 Francs a month. My parents were
ashamed of his attitude, but always admired him for his success and money. And my Mom loved his way of playing with life; he was not scared of anything or
anybody. My dad had no Italian blood and his big brother made millions, laughing at everybody and not taking the law too serious. My dad had to visit him in jail
often and was ashamed. Max just laughed at Hansli. He belittled my dad by calling him Hansli in front of me. But then again, out of jail he called my parents and flew
them to Paris for breakfast. In 1946 just after WW2 ended. My parents, honest and obedient workers were mesmerized by Max and so was I. Too bad I don't have
Italian blood in me. Swiss are dry and often boring. Viva Italia..I feel for you Italians as you struggle to save your country today. You will make it, be patient be strong.
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