La Patente

OK, here it is. You’ve been hounding me to put this story on my blog. Of course, many of you already know the story but I’m hoping to get some feedback from new readers. So if you’re a new reader, or if you’re just old and have forgotten you read it before, please let me know your thoughts. Also I know many of you wouldn’t mind re-reading it because it is a pretty amazing story.

This is a true story. Even though I have lived in Italy for 14 years, I am decidedly not a real Italian, so I don’t have the Italian penchant for extreme exaggeration. Nothing about the story is exaggerated. It really happened just the way I’ve written it, including the time-line! I am posting it now because on a recent trip to the USA, I accompanied my neice to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to take the written test for her driving license. We were in and out of the Registry within 20 minutes. She had passed the test and had an appointment for a week later to take the driving test (which she also passed). The entire thing cost her $35, which included the eye test. Continue Reading →

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Summer Days in the City

I started this blog in my 7th life. Now I’ll take you back to my first life, which by my calculations lasted until I was 15.

It was the summer of 1953. I was 9. Eisenhower was President. I remember the big pin-on buttons that many people wore during the campaign; “I like Ike”. Politics was not really a topic of discussion at our house, but I’m pretty sure my parents liked Adlai Stevenson better. Continue Reading →

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Adventure on the Rocks


Dante and I wanted to go to the beach, but at the same time, avoid the crowds at Viareggio. So, after my medical appointment at Camp Darby, we headed north toward Cinque Terra. Dante knew of a little area called Tellaro where he thought there would be fewer people on the beach. Tellaro is a lovely little hill town just south of Cinque Terra. So it’s not so famous, and therefore less crowded. Knowing also that I tend to crisp up like a Freedom Fry, we looked for a place where he could sit in the sun and I in the shade. After parking the car and slathering me up with sunscreen, we walked down towards the water. We soon encountered a woman who was returning from her morning swim. Dante asked her about the lay of the land, and how to access the beaches. She told us that she preferred to sit on the rocks, and showed us the path that she takes. Then she explained in great detail that if we wanted also to go to the sandy beach, it was not very far away and there was a path over and through the rocks so that we could take a little passeggiata. Continue Reading →

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Olive Oil for a Dog

This post was supposed to be Burocrazia Intensa II, a little story about Italian taxes, but as often happens, life intervenes and something more immediate comes up. So Burocazia Intensa II will have to wait a bit.

Just after Dante and I started seeing each other, he received a call from the Major Domo at a Villa situated in the Lucca hills that was owned by a Contessa who lived in Rome. She was part of the Royalty that once ruled the diverse kingdoms before Italy was united in 1870. The Villa has acres of olive trees and hundreds of lemon trees. The Major Domo, an acquaintance of Dante, named Giancarlo, lived at the Villa with his wife and their French bouledogue (bulldog), named Babo. (Why the French insist on putting so many unpronounced letters in their words, I’ll never understand). Giancarlo and his wife were the caretakers of the villa and managed the occasional function most often held in the limonaia, a large, sunny room where the lemon trees rested for the winter. Continue Reading →

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