Likewise, gardeners in Greece have similar experiences. A mere generation ago when Greece was still struggling to meet the modern world, artifacts in one's garden were common place.
When my mother-in-law found an ancient coin while she was digging on the family farm, she
showed it to her children and asked, "Can we use this to buy something?" The answer was "no" so she tossed it aside and it lay unclaimed until many years later when it was put on a chain and worn with pride.
Remnants of war also tend to surface now and then. Take this belt buckle, for instance.
It was worn by one Greek teen throughout the 1960s after he'd found it half buried on the farm. For him it was a prize to show off with swagger. But as time went on, the belt that was attached to the buckle began to deteriorate. The buckle was lost and forgotten, only to reemerge some fifty years later in the family vegetable garden. Nostalgia for the teen-turned-old-man, melancholy for me. . . his pampered American wife, never having experienced war or the survival of such. So, with that belt buckle and with the Italian and German WWII helmets that have hung for decades in the family storehouse, the thoughts that encompass me as I listen to the discoverer tell his rendition of his childhood archeological finds, are of those soldiers who never came home.
Yes, I know, the German and Italian soldiers hurt many Greeks, maybe more so . . . I've heard it many times. It's just hard not to feel the human side of it, though, when you have the luxury of standing on the sidelines.
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