Old Slippers

January 10, 2013

Sicilians like to air things out: pillow, mattress, rug, featherbed, broom.

On balconies. In windows.

Worn shoes. Old slippers.

The year is new, and I’d like to air my life out on the balcony, and let a jasmine-scented wind freshen it up.

Slippers Airing Out in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Airing out slippers in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Airing out shoes, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

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35 comments to Old Slippers

  • Jann, this post is so lovely! But then, all your posts are lovely! Can Spaniards be any more like Sicilians? I see your lovely photos and am reminded of how the Spanish love to air things out too! Walking down any street is a treat for the eyes–all the way from bedspreads to rugs! :)

    • Jann

      I’m so fond of your posts from Spain, Bella–they are so reminiscent of Sicily. Will you go again this summer??

  • No wonder my sister and I had to haul the mattresses outside to air when we were kids — it was my Sicilian mother’s nod to the old country!

  • Your colourful, quirky, gorgeous photos always bring a breath of fresh air into my day.

  • Sam

    Do you know if this is a southern or Sicilian custom? I don’t recall seeing this sort of thing in the north.

    • Jann

      Hmm, my guess is Northern Italians do it too, Sam. At least I’ve certainly seen featherbeds and pillows flung out on balconies in the Alps.

  • Brilliant photos! Great sentiment! Love the pink broom and blue shoes.

  • To “airing out” one’s life… Yes! Beautiful images, as always! Thanks and many blessings on you, from San Miguel de Allende.

    • Jann

      Ciao Aysha–are you airing out your life in San Miguel? Hope it is treating you well. Sending kisses & hugs. xxxxxx

  • mi vergogno Jann..your photoes are tremendously so real…..yesterday morning with that such hot sun ..I put my pillows out in my balcony for half day…

    Granma’s habits!!!
    Ciaoooo

  • vicki carol

    I have been negligent in posting with you. No excuses. just busy painting. Your photo gave me a great inspiration for a painting that needs to be done in three weeks and I didn’t have a clue as too what to paint. Loved the shoes on the window. They seem to be looking out for adventure. Why don’t they take us somewhere??? Sicily maybe be old but your eyes see fresh and new.

    • Jann

      Hi Vicki–so good to hear from you! How fun to know that the blog inspired a painting. Happy 2013 to you & la mamma.

  • Anitre MacDonagh

    Once again,you have found beauty in the simple things of life. Brava,Jann!

  • i had a neighbor ,an elderly japanese woman ,yaye, whom i love say that i must be japanese because i would air out the bedding
    i still do
    love that first photo
    thank you jann

  • Hehe Jann. I am a great airer. This is brilliant fun! I think airing out a life sounds such a great idea too. May I? Have to say though, in my experience, ‘older’ Sicilians like to air things out but not throw things out…. Do you know what I mean? x

    • Jann

      :) I know plenty of American hoarders, too!!! My husband being one–never throw ANYTHING out because who knows if you’ll need it ten years from now.

  • cemal karahan

    We just put them in the washing machine to scent. Very few people get in the house with their shoes on. Everything seems to be so old in Sicily and I quess what makes the places so pretty is this simplicity and contrast. Nice photos ,Jann. Thanks…!

    • Jann

      I love that Turkish custom of removing shoes and putting on slippers in the house. Some Sicilians do that too. I tried to train friends and family in the US for many years to follow this custom so that I wouldn’t have to clean the floors so often, but I utterly failed.

  • Angelo

    As for the slippers…growing up in Montreal in an expat Sicilian family I recall now the abundance of slippers piled up in the front door hallway…for friends and family dropping in. Come to think of it even here in Ottawa I have a supply of slippers tucked away for the same reason.

    • Jann

      :) Great custom. As I wrote to Cemal above, I was never able to train my American friends and family to follow this WONDERFUL custom or removing shoes in the house. Makes such sense.

  • Angelo

    Speaking of Malta, my mom remembers as an adolescent during the war seeing light flashes on the horizon which she was told was the bombing of Malta. Her village, Furci Siculo, was situated on the Ionian coast about 1/2 hour driving distance north of Taormina. Bunty’s email brought it all back.

  • Mmmm, jasmine scented breeze sounds wonderful!

    • Jann

      Diane–be sure to plant some jasmine on your balcony. It grows so fast and you can use the blossoms in your desserts :).

  • The Sicilians are so similar to the Maltese!

    • Jann

      Hi Bunty–great to hear from you over there in Malta! My husband developed such a passion for the history of Malta on his visit there that he reads everything he can find about Malta–current book is The Kappillan of Malta.

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