Arrangements were made, Angelo told Geno what we were going to do. He was a little scared of his uncle, and it showed in his eyes. We arrived at the tourist hotel Angelo had booked for us. “Angelo, we need to find a lawyer and get this started. Not sure how long it’ll take to resolve.”
That afternoon we canvased the lawyers registered in the village. We called Giulio again and asked for his opinion on the lawyers in the town. He suggested two that he remembered seeing at a meeting in Palermo several months ago. “Let’s set an appointment and see what he says.”
I called their office and set an appointment for 9 am in his office. “Angelo, we should go and take a look at the property in question.”
We let Geno guide us to his father’s house. It was typical of the homes in the area, two-story, bedrooms on the top floor, kitchen and living area on the bottom floor. While we were there, one of the boys walked out. When he saw Geno, he ran back into the house. A woman came out and yelled something at Geno.
“What did she say?”
“She told him to get out of here. This wasn’t his house anymore.”
Now I was angry, and when I’m angry, I always get even. There was no reason for her to act that way. “It’s okay, Geno tomorrow will be different.” He looked at Angelo, who interpreted what I said. I got a smile in return.
We did more shopping, primarily for Geno, although I bought some tees and shorts for myself. We ate in the guest hotel that evening. I wanted to get an early start in the morning.
Angelo told me at breakfast that he and Giulio had a session late last night. " He gave me some sections of our tax code and homeownership that we can use to our advantage.”
At 9 am, we presented ourselves to the office of Atty. Stefano. Of course, this is Italy, and we were escorted into Atty. Stefano’s office at 9:30. I let Angelo carry the conversation. From what I could understand, if there’s a will, then the will would prevail. In place of a will, then it would be necessary to prove a relationship to the decease. In that case, the most direct relations would inherit. In our case, the son would win out over any other relatives. We agree that we should pursue the inheritance issue. There was an up front fee which I paid.
We stayed in the area for several days. We had to go to court. Angelo had to go back to work. I was thankful that I found someone who could act as an interpreter for us. I sat with Geno. He was very interested in the proceedings. He understood most of what was being said. The case’s result was simple: we had a copy of Geno’s birth certificate, which proved direct line heritage. The ruling was the home was Geno’s, and the people living there must pay rent for the time they lived there, retroactive. Then they have the option of buying the property at current value or continuing paying rent. I was happy for Geno. After talking with the lawyer, Geno agreed to sell the house. All of a sudden, Geno had a bank account with several thousand lira.
We took a car back to the apartment, but not before picking up an English-Italian tourist book. Geno and I will study together and hopefully, I’ll learn Italian, and he’ll learn English.
Over dinner, with the book, we talked. I asked him in broken words and pronunciation if he was happy with the court case’s outcome. He responded in broken English, he was.
As we conversed over the next few weeks, my Italian got better, and his English got better. One of my projects was to look for a place for me on the Amalfi Coast. We stopped at a real estate office, and I checked the places available. There was a house on the hill above Positano that I thought was a possibility. I arranged a visit. I wanted to see the condition of the house and the view as well.
With the realtor, we drove to the property. I knew that the houses practically were built up against each other. Walking into the house from the street, we entered into a small room. I would call it a cloakroom for a better word. Passing through this into a large kitchen/dining area. At the back was a stairwell to the second floor. There was a bathroom right next to the landing on the second floor. I was amazed that there were four bedrooms, two on each side of the center hall, which lead to a balcony overlooking the street and the sea view. I looked at Geno. He was smiling, shaking his head, yes.
I offered about 10 percent less than what the owners wanted. A typical American never met the asking price. The realtor told me he would take the offer to the owners. I reminded him it was all cash. Now I needed a lawyer to check for liens, etc.
Three days later, the realtor called and said the owners accepted my offer. I told Geno, and he was smiling. We went to the realtor’s office, where we signed the papers. I called my bank in the States and had them wire the money to the realtor’s account. That transfer was confirmed, and the house was ours. Now I needed to furnish it.
We made another visit. I began to make a list of items we needed, beds, dressers, wardrobes, linens, in the kitchen, pots, pans, dishes, glasses, and utensils. So we went shopping, but first I had to open a bank account at the local bank. I called my bank and gave them the information to transfer funds. I called my boss and asked for another two-week vacation. He agreed if I stopped in Rome to check on a tax issue.
Then we went shopping. I went to a craft shop and ordered the beds, dressers, wardrobes, table, and chairs. At a linen shop, I ordered the linens and towels. Then we went to the market where I bought the items for the kitchen. The next stop was a furniture store where I ordered the mattresses and pillows. I arranged everything to be delivered asap, which caused me to pay extra.
The next morning, I arranged for the electricity to be turn on and the propane tank to be charged. Walking around the house, I noticed there wasn’t a washing machine or dryer. Looking out the back, I saw a clothesline, a few small grapevines, and two trees. I wasn’t sure what kind of trees, but they did provide shade.
There was a back porch with what looked like a small extension off of the house with a door. I went and opened the door, which led to a basement. It was rough, but there were racks that I assumed were for wine, and there were hooks, which I thought were for hanging meat like salamis and sausages and cheeses. And there, in a corner, set a washing machine but no dryer. I guess that is why they had a clothesline outside.