A neighbor had a birthday party for his daughter in our parking niche. He didn’t ask to use it nor did he even bother to invite us. Initially it really irritated me. Then I watched the children playing and laughing and eating cake and singing Happy Birthday.
Some parents, hopefully, took fotos because it pleases me to think that years from now a grown up little girl will look at her childhood fotos and see those with our parking niche as the stage.
How lovely to be part of someone’s childhood memories.
That year they’d decided on fondue for Christmas lunch. But before dunking their forks into the bubbling hot cheese, they put their hats on and danced around the tulips. It made them feel silly and delightfully dizzy and like children again. Because Christmas is for kids, they decided to play.
Meanings are mobile and change when necessary. The meaning of Christmas is an example. It does not remain static but changes as we change. The meaning of Christmas for a child is not that of an adult.
Viktor Frankl spent three years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. Like Freud, he was from Vienna and had studied psychology. Frankl understood that to survive he needed to give his life meaning regardless as to the situation. Once freed, Frankl wrote a book Man’s Search for Meaning and how this meaning influences the way we live.
Three things, he wrote, were necessary to give meaning to one’s life even in a concentration camp. First of all it was important to give yourself a purpose such as having a project then give yourself pleasure by actualizing it. Appreciation and gratitude are also important in creating meaning as is the ability to adapt.
My friend Janet, artist, world traveller, and age defier was in Rome not long ago. We had coffee at a bar on Regina Margherita before heading towards the whimsical and esoteric neighbourhood of Coppedé. Mystical & magical it is often included in the Esoteric Tours of Rome. Known locally as Quartiere Coppedé, the architecture is a mixture of Assyrian Babylonian, Baroque,Tuscan medieval, Gothic, Art Nouveau and much more.
In the center of Coppedé is the recently restored Frog Fountain (Fontana delle Rane). Finalized in 1924, the fountain is a tiered basin. Frogs sit on the basin’s rim whereas four “mascheroni” (male figures) hold up four shell shaped basins while they simultaneously spit out water.
In 1965 the Frog Fountain gained recognition when the Beatles jumped into it after playing at the nearby Piper Club. In the same area lived Shelly Winters and her then husband Vittorio Gassman, Anita Eckberg, Dario Argento, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and many others.
Related: Janet Cooper Designs + Fontana delle Rane (Roma) + Quartiere Coppedè + The Significance of Neighbourhood + Shelley Winters, la diva inaspettata +
They knew that people are easily bored and constantly crave new stimulation. So they did their best to animate the world around them.
Since the eye likes to travel, they often wore dresses that put vision on the road. They were not afraid to be looked at. Because knowing how to get the attention of others is a power.