Yesterday Laurie & I took the tours of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel. We also went to the Trevi Fountain and the Roman Forum. All the places Laurie said she wanted see. We also went to every espresso bar and many cafes to sample all the delicious food.
So, today we’re getting ready to take a cab to the train station to meet Alfonso. We’re excited and nervous at the same time. The young hotel concierge just told us that there is yet another train strike but “no problem getting a cab”.
We arrived at the designated station and shortly thereafter we were approached by a gentleman identifying himself as Alfonso, son-in-law of cousin Maria & accidental interpreter for the day. Alfonso is a Professor who teaches English!!! Introductions were made – cousin Maria (sister to Lorenzo in Sicily & another 1st cousin to Dad), Giuseppe (husband of Maria), cousin Vera (daughter of Maria & Giuseppe & wife of Alfonso). We spent the day in a whirlwind!! We spent time in the town of Castel Gandolfo for sightseeing, lunch and had a wonderful time.
We also spent time at the home of Giuseppe & Maria. Maria was very excited to show us her photo album. As we were perusing it, we saw a very familiar Polaroid photo – Laurie’s graduation from grammar school with me standing in front of her at the house in Yonkers!!! I remember seeing the photo at my parents’ house. So now we were curious as to how our photo made its way to Rome. Maria told us that SaSa (Grandma Milano) always sent photos of the family. I remember Grandma always had Daddy take extra photos but we thought maybe it was “just in case they didn’t develop correctly”. But the Polariod photos were the best as you could watch them develop right there!! But now we know better. Grandma was sending them to the family in Italy!!!!! Who knew??
No problem, but there was another reason: For all of my life Laurie kept telling me was that she had a Godchild in Sicily. Yeah, right!! I could never figure it out, since she never traveled there. So, over the years, when I inquired she told me that Grandma Milano said that if little Mariuccia came to visit us in New York, Laurie would be her hostess/sponsor “la madrina”. So Grandma was sending photos to Maria so she would know about Laurie’s life.
So now 50 years later, Laurie has finally met little Mariuccia!! She couldn’t believe it!! She was ecstatic!! Unreal!! I was very happy, as now the mystery of “little Mariuccia” had been solved. A great way to end a very beautiful day.
Another day in Rome then off to Sicily!!!