He smiled as he took my hand, and we left to find a restaurant without going back down to the coast. We were lucky; two flight of steps down was a cafe that overlooked the sea.
It took three days before we had everything we needed to move into the house. I found someone to take in the laundry and a housekeeper. Geno was very valuable in the selection process.
The first night we left our windows open and the door to the balcony. The cool breeze made sleeping a welcome relief of the busy days leading up to this night.
I had to make a trip to Rome, and I asked Geno if he wanted to go along. It was like asking a kid if he wanted ice cream. I arranged a car to drive us up and back the following day. Once we got there, I had to change our plans; someone wanted to take a tour, so we did. We stayed for three days.
With Angelo’s help, I adopted Geno. He was all for it. Now I need to get him a passport so he could fly with me to the US. I called on Angelo again for help. As usual, we had to make a trip to Rome. There Angelo walked us through the system, and in one week, we had our passport. I flew home with my son. He was smiling all the way.
Arriving at the airport, I saw Dad waiting for us as we cleared customs. “Geno, there’s your Nonno, and soon you’ll meet your Nonna.”
I laughed when he took my hand. Now you’d think Dad would hug me first, but no, the apple of his eye was Geno. “Wait till your mother sees this little fellow. I think we’ll both be forgotten.”
On the ride home, I told dad about buying a place in the south of Italy. Geno was smiling as I described our home there. “Dad, you and Mom have to come and see us this year when you take your vacation. I’m sure you’ll love it.”
I was right; Mom couldn’t get enough of Geno. My sister thought he was cute, especially when he spoke. His accent, when he would talk in English. He just smiled at me when they made a fuss over him.
The next morning, I went into the office. I told Geno I had to go to work, but Nonna would be home to take him shopping.
I think someone was looking out for me. My boss said he felt rather than making trips from the US to Europe; it’d be better for me to locate to Europe and then fly to the States once a month for a business meeting. “Why don’t you talk to Angelo and see if he can find you an office at our headquarters in Rome. By the way, Angelo said you’re now a father.”
So I told him about Geno and how I became a father. I also invited him to visit us when he was in Italy.
I worked out of the office for the rest of the week. I packed up everything I needed and sent the material from my office to Angelo in Rome. I packed my things and sent them to my home in Positano. I bought two suitcases for Geno’s clothes and books that Mom and Dad bought. There were a few things for the house I purchased and had them shipped to our home.
We spent three weeks getting everything packed and shipped to our home and office. We had a family barbecue before we left. Geno loved the hot dogs. He called it American sausage. And American pizza, he liked, but he said the pizza we ate at home was better, and he was right.
August was a vacation period for Mom and Dad. I bought them tickets to Rome and told them that we would expect them and not to get any ideas.
Before leaving for Rome, I sent a telegram to Angelo telling him I’d need a small apartment in Rome or nearby since I’d be working out of Rome.
I was amazed at how Geno’s English had improved while we were home in the States. It was apparent to me that the young can pick up a language faster than an older person.
We got settled in Rome, I enrolled Geno in an American sponsored school, and life returned to normal, relatively speaking. On weekends, we went home to our place on the Amalfi Coast. We took a late train on Friday night and returned early on Monday morning.
On the weekend that Italy celebrated one of their national holidays, we left early on Friday morning with a plan on returning on Wednesday morning. That weekend was the start of a new adventure. Friday afternoon, we were sitting at the cafe on the plaza, where I initially met Geno, when four boys passed us. One of them recognized Geno.
“Geno, is that you?”
“Marco, what are you doing here?”
“I am living here with Mario, Luca, Nico, and Roberto. Who is that?”
“He’s my father. I’ve been adopted.”
“Geno, we’re hungry. Will he buy us something to eat?”
“Papa, these are my friends, and they are hungry. Can we feed them?”
“Of course, Geno. Ask them to go and wash their hands.”
They were ready to enter the Bistro when the server stopped them. “Sir, they are the friends of my son. Let them wash their hands and then come, and I’ll place our order.”
I watched as he let the boys through. He followed them, I’m sure. “Geno, what do you think we should order?”
Geno looked at the menu, “Papa, let’s order soup and then pasta and then a small antipasto.”
“How about we order a large antipasto, then soup and finish with pasta and maybe some gelato. What the boys don’t eat, they can take it with them.”
“Papa, here they come. Can we order Cioccolata Calda?”
“Geno, you order for us.”
When the boys sat down, Geno introduced them to me. I was surprised to learn that the oldest was only 14 and more or less the leader. My Italian is far from perfect, but the conversation’s gist revolved around who I was and how did Geno meet me. That stopped as soon as their drinks were served and the antipasto. I watched the boys. You could tell they were hungry. Roberto fixed them a plate and passed it to them. Geno and I fixed our plate. I honestly expected the boys to dig right in, but not before Mario gave a short version of thanks. Then the boys smiled as they began to eat.
I was half-finished when the boys sat back. The large antipasto plate was empty. The waiter came and picked up the empty platter, another waiter came and began to serve the soup, it was a chicken vegetable soup which tasted very good, especially with the warm bread. I could have had another bowl of that instead of the pasta.
With the soup bowls empty, the boys sat back while the waiter cleared the table. I think their original hunger was sated for a while. Then the pasta arrived, it was bolognese which was a meat sauce. The meal was served with a small glass of wine. I asked for a small plate and put some of my pasta on the small plate. No way could I eat the size of the serving set in front of me, but the boys did. The conversation began again now that their hunger pains were satisfied.
“Papa, they want to know where we live, and could they come and see our house?”
I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but they were Geno’s friends. “Geno, you make the decision. It’s your house as well, and if you want to have friends over that’s okay by me.” The resulting smile said I made the right decision.