In grandmothers’ tales childhood means chimneyless huts, threshing houses, endless walks back from school in dark winter, lantern doused so that the beasts and monsters of the forest would not be able to see and attack a wary child. Grandmothers’ summer vacations were long but were spent in haymaking, serving, baby-sitting, cleaning, picking, pealing, and baking. The days last long into the night. The grandest moments are when you get to go to a wedding, when the American cousin has sent you real nylon stockings (which are picked full of runs out of sheer amazement) and real coffee (which also the children get to taste). In our tales the ship is churning, engines roaring. Intoxicated by the dozens of flavours of chocolate we move slowly amidst the shelves of the tax-free shop, like somnambulists. The bottles clinking against each other produce soothing music.
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