Giuanni Po' Po' has arrived at the new fountain…..

TETI in the Sign of the Times

By Walter Teti

Picture Caption: Antonio and Luigi Teti: "The Firm", with an aviation type Fiat 626 number plate CH 4931 in the terminal of the Station at Palena.

Antonio and Luigi Teti"Giuanni Po' Po' has arrived at the new fountain and he’s out of petrol, Giuanni Po' Po'."

Those were other times. Dusty times, like the road always was between Torricella-Montenerodomo-Colledimacine-Palena, full of holes with the surface broken and unmade in parts. A road which inevitably destroyed the vehicles using it, breaking mechanical linkages, especially those of the heavy vehicles. After making a return journey to Rome by train, to get on a Teti at Palena station meant you had to suddenly change your mentality for the rest of the journey. Sometimes you’d reach Torricella feeling almost stunned; at other times awake but nervous, due to having been repeatedly bounced around whilst confined to the hot rubber seat. It was terrible if you suffered with haemorrhoids (piles).

The company running the service continually needed to thank Saint Christopher, who every day devoted himself to saving the suspension, gears, differential and clutch. No-one has ever understood why, in all those years, (maybe thirty) the Province never intended to asphalt that road. Yes, it was a mountainous depressed zone, but it wasn’t Africa! Thinking about it, it was far closer to the capital than many other places that are treated much better by public organisations. But even with broken suspensions, and with those buses that latterly had become wrecks, Antonio and Luigi’s Teti Autoservices struggled for over 30 years to continue to provide a service which, all other considerations apart, marked an epoch or maybe more than one of importance. "How" people lived in Torricella, during for example the economic boom years, or during the recession and years of austerity, can be traced through those Teti wrecks.

Before the 1960’s excursions went to sanctuaries, but with the boom, with Baby Luna (Baby Moon), one could easily travel beyond the National borders and come into contact with other worlds. The magic of transport on rubber! Yes the tires were loaded to bursting point when emigrants returned from abroad for Christmas. The little buses, like rampant cockroaches on the steep uphill slopes of the Macchie or around the bends at Casoli and at Prete Fracite, were overloaded inside with human cargo, and with their cardboard suitcases filled with hope on the roof-rack. This was reality for the drivers and ticket collectors of Teti who had here a steady place of work: the magic of a local company!

Magnificent spectacles, evident reality almost enough to make one weep, yet the village "historians" never speak about it: no-one knows why. Maybe they’re acting like the Province?!

Millions of kilometres covered: those diesel motors, still of the indirect injection type, needing a "fire underneath" and heated spark plugs to get them started in the winter, otherwise all the "golden" Saints would have to be counted.

But now with the "buona pace" "good peace" (agreement) of the Teti brothers, Antonio and Luigi, things have changed and rightly so. Now the work is in the Sangro Valley: there have been many developments. There are even contributions from the Region which re-level the balance sheets of new industries, always in the red, and ….. you cannot travel for free on these like you used to do on the Great and Glorious Teti.

And then so many curious happenings, curiosities which now form part of the common cultural heritage of old-fashioned Torricellans, which can be told to their descendents, perhaps even in this journal, maybe in spite of those historians mentioned above.

Officially the regional provision which sanctioned the "end" of the firm arrived on 31st March 1980, which date is important in Torricellan life, not only regarding life as it was lived but also for the stories told about it.

"Giuanni Po' Po' has arrived at the new fountain and he’s out of petrol, Giuanni Po' Po'."

© Amici di Torricella

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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