Expressions from an Archivist in Airola

On November 7, 2018, Filomena Lamberti exited a complete life with her children by her side. At first, when coming to know about Filomena, it was from afar—through distant time zones and through separated generations.

It was through jovial stories at the table with her sister-in-law, Pasqualina, where Pasqualina would explain how competitive Filomena was when it came to cooking and bra sizes. Zia Filomena fed you, embraced you, and cared for you. She was expressive with her emotions. This was most reflective in her use of the language from Airola. This language is experiential—it wasn’t a simple translated discourse.

Filomena’s loyalty and devotion to family were admirable. Her smile glowed through any medium or digital mode. She is the first of the four women to pass--and an ongoing thought is that we will never meet anyone like her in this lifetime. Enclosed is an excerpt from Finding Patterns: Traveling Four Women’s Paths

“Filomena was a staunch traditionalist. At eighty-three years of age, she rarely left her house anymore and tended to her husband. She was asked what advice would you give young women today. She repeated the question in Italian, Chi aveso. Che consigli. Then, Filomena responded in Italian, Credule, Le mamme di oggi devono imparare a criscere i figli meglio. This is translated to mean, “The mothers today should learn how to raise their kids better...they start when they are young...troppo liberta...too much.” Filomena reiterated that mothers play a vital role in their children’s lives. Filomena continued, Apri gli occhi e hai le cervello nel capo. Ho sentito ha sai cose. Quando sono piccolo…no poi assicurare a nessuno. (You have to open your eyes and keep your brains in your head. I was hearing a lot of things. The small kids in school do whatever. You can’t trust anybody). Conoscene bene. (You have to know them well). Filomena discussed the role of motherhood. Start when they are small. Giovane. She said even for young single women. When considering a mate, Choose and choose well.” 

I encourage you to read more about her life in Finding Patterns. Knowing about Filomena’s life can strengthen mindsets. When visiting Italy, you would visit with Filomena first. She was an archivist who treasured the memories and stories that could only be told through generational artifacts. She delighted in conversation—whether it was at the table or on the phone. She was and still is an impressionable mentor.

1927-2018—Requiescet in pace