That evening at dinner, I told the boys that I would adopt them, and they must commit to going to school. That wasn’t a difficult situation since the young man I hired to look after them had already primed them on going to school.
It didn’t take long for the adoption to be approved. Again the newspapers picked up the story as a human interest story. The people I worked with gave me some kidding, but it was all in fun.
Summer came with August being vacation month. Something Europe did that the USA would never do, is that workers enjoyed a month of vacation, and for some reason, it came in August. The only people working were in the hospitality field.
“Tomorrow we’ll take the train home. So tonight, pack your suitcases, pack what you’ll need over the next few weeks.”
The next morning the boys are up early. Our train didn’t leave till 1 pm, so we had a lot of time to spend. I decided we would do a little sightseeing, so off to Palatine Hill, we went. A few hours there, including the museum, and then lunch.
The boys were planning on what they would do over the next four weeks on the train going south. Of course, it included beach time, but I had something else planned.
Standing on our balcony overlooking the sea, I thought it’d be nice to go sailing. I have never sailed, but a small boat might be just as good. That evening we went to Roberto’s restaurant on the beach. Our friendly owner recognized us. I found out that owners don’t forget customers who have money to spend on good food.
I let the boys order; Roberto told him that they were now my sons, and we were celebrating. Everywhere we went after the adoption, he told the wait staff why we were celebrating. There were congratulations, followed by a glass of wine. I think Roberto did it for the free wine.
While the boys were eating and chatting, I watched the boats that came and went in the harbor we were overlooking. There were some nice boats, sailboats, powered boats, and boats driven by human energy at the oars.
After dinner, “Boys, let’s take a walk along the harbor. Maybe we can find a captain that’ll take us out for a little ride.” They were all for that; I forgot for a moment that these boys knew the docks like the back of their hands. Soon I found I was being steered in a specific direction.
“Robert,o is that you?”
“Yes, Captain Bruno, this is my father and brothers. Captain, would you take us for a ride and maybe allow us to fish a little.”
“Papa, we’ll have to pay for the petrol, is that okay.”
I nodded yes, and the boys were on the boat. Geno introduced Captain Bruno to me, and we were off. I got the impression the boys had done this before. We were no sooner clear of the dock when fishing lines appeared and where in the water. Yes, definitely, they have done this before.
” Geno, Roberto and the boys have done this before, haven’t they?”
“Si, papa. They fish and the Captain gives them some money from the fish they catch. He sells it when they go back to the dock. Most of the fishermen do that.”
I thought that might be the case. “I’ll give 100 lire to the person who catches the first fish and 50 lire to everyone who catches a fish.” Now it was a game. Roberto explained to the Captain what I just said. He smiled and handed me a glass of wine.
We spent about 4 hours on the sea fishing. Mario caught the first fish; the Captain smiled. At the end of our fishing trip, the boys had caught several fish; each boy had their 50 lire. The Captain was please he had fish to sell. On the way home, we stopped for gelato, the boys didn’t have enough money, but I nodded to the young man selling the gelato. Mario surprised me; he handed me one as well. I slipped the vendor the remaining money needed to pay for the gelato.
As we walked along the docks, a man approached Roberto. “Roberto, the next time you want to go fishing, you come and see me.”
Roberto’s response was si. “Papa, he’ll not help that man, when he needed help, that man chased him away. He said he was bad luck. Now he wants him because we caught the fish for our Captain.” I thought payback could be hell.
Over the holidays, I planned a trip home, passports again. On one of our weekends in Rome, I had their pictures taken for their passports. On the following Monday, we applied for passports. By the time we were to go home for the holidays, I had all of their passports. I called home and told Mom that I was planning on coming home for the holidays. I gave her our flight arrangements and told her I’ll rent a car since we have a lot of luggage.She said no, we didn’t need to do that, but I knew better.
Sure enough, Dad was there, but I knew this would happen, so I gave her our arrival time later than actual. We cleared customs, and I had the rental van loaded when I saw dad.
“Dad, why are you here. I told Mom I’d rent a car.”
“Do you think your mom would let you rent a car.”
“Nonno, these are my brothers.”
“Geno, introduced your brothers to your Nonno.”
I watched as he introduced his brothers to dad. I looked at dad, and I started to laugh. “Dad, go home and tell Mom to prepare a big meal; maybe a barbecue might be better.”
“Yes Nonno, hot dogs”
“Wait till your mom see these boys. I’m going to head home and tell her you weren’t here. Then you follow me and surprise her.”
“Just be sure she doesn’t have a heart attack.”
I followed dad home. I saw him pull into the driveway. Mom came out. when Dad got out and no one else. “Didn’t he tell you he was going to drive himself? He wasn’t there.”
“He said he had a lot of luggage, but I thought you could handle it.”
“I couldn’t handle the kind of luggage he had.”
I saw Dad wave. I pulled into the driveway. Geno was out of the car and ran to Mom. I watched as Mom wrapped her arms around him, then I got out, followed by the boys. Mom looked up and saw the boys and me. I could see the confusion on her face.
“Geno, introduce your brothers.”
I watched Mom as Geno introduced the boys. Dad stood there and watched as Mom tried to understand what was happening. From a son that never married, she now had five grandsons. I thought about what my sister was going to do and just began to laugh.
“Dad, better get that grill going. As soon as Mom relaxes, I’ll go shopping for hot dogs. You better let Sis know so she doesn’t faint. Geno, boys, let’s go.”
We unloaded the car, placing all of the suitcases in my old room. “Mom, we're going shopping, will be back in a few.”
Taking the boys shopping, Geno ruled. First hot dogs, then hot dogs buns, potato chips, salad mixes, and gallons of orange juice. I had to throw in some eggs, sausages, and fruit. We did pick up a carton of cola. I paid for everything; the boys carried it to the car. On the way home, I stopped at Dairy Queen and got the boys a blizzard. I watched as they tasted it; they were all excited. It was different than gelato but just as good, according to Roberto.
When we arrived home, my sister was there with her intended. He was a nice guy; they met at college and planned a June wedding. I was told in no uncertain terms; I had to be home for the wedding.
Geno wanted to show the boys around. I laughed cause that meant the back yard, the bedrooms, and the garage. I think they agreed it was nice, but our home was better. Since my sister was staying, that meant there was only one bedroom available for the boys—time to introduce them to the concept of nesting. I gathered up all of the extra pillows, blankets, and led them to the rec room. “Boys, this is where you’ll sleep. In America, it’s called nesting, and a lot of boys do it when they have friends over. You’ll enjoy it.”