Tommaso and Roberto, his father, have just gone off to the dentist. I am in their lovely apartment by myself, as his mother is at work. She is a nuclear physicist, and has a very important job of dealing with the safe disposal, as it were, of nuclear waste. They are lovely people, and Miranda, T's mama, is so warm and welcoming. She tries very hard to use the English she knows, and does very well, although last night she was so tired she could not keep trying. I showed them the wedding photo of Ginny Anselmo and Augusto Campanella. Miranda said by the way they were dressed in the photo it looked as if they had money. Roberto said I have my grandfather's mouth. I also showed them a 1942 photo of Walt and Fifi, and Roberto remarked that my mother was "il bambino," looked like a baby in the photo. I said she was 18 when she got married.
Last night for dinner we had stuffed zucchini, salad, fruit. So delicious and healthy. For lunch Roberto made pasta with small shrimps and fresh mussels, and the most ripe flavorful sliced tomatoes from their garden. I cannot remember when I have had tomatoes so good. I mixed some of the tomatoes with the pasta, and Roberto in Italian told T. something about "these Americans, mixing everything together," good naturedly. He said, "You will ruin the taste of the pasta!" Yesterday T. and I went for a swim at a beach in Terrino, then to a private pool club that one of his friends belongs too. It is so hot here, and so nice to be able to dip in water at will.
Miranda told me about her cat Rufus who died ten years ago, and how much she loved him. She cried telling the story. She said, "I always told people I have two sons: Tommaso and Rufus." She is deeply sensitive, and I like her very much. She told me about all the plants on her window sill, and was perplexed about why her very old rosemary plant is not doing well. A bonsai was a gift from a colleague, and she admitted she does not like it, as she sees the constriction of the plant in its pot as being cruel. She is hoping to retire in April, if the Italian government does not change the minimum age of retirement from 57 to 58. Roberto is retired from the postal service, I believe. They were very interested in my retirement options at Yale. Miranda is also suing the government for wages due her, as her salary is way below what other workers in her position make. Tommaso did not say it was gender discrimination, but I think it is, as there are very few women in her position. The married women here do take their husbands' names at marriage, but then continue to use their own surnames in daily and work situations. So all the married names on the buzzers' labels to the apartments here have two last names. And guess what the first one was that I noticed on the list? BINDI! Turns out Bindi is a very common surname in Italy. Who knew? Certainly not I.
We visited a man down the street who has two dogs and two cats, including a black miniature pinscher, very very very cute named Jotti. The dog and one of the cats were puppy/kitten together, and get along so well.
I am off to the American beach near here, as there is a huge US military base nearby, and I know almost no Italian.