Thanksgiving, Mom had prepared a huge turkey with all of the trimmings. I explained why we celebrated Thanksgiving. I found a few history books in the attic and gave them to the boys to read. They were in English; my job was to help translate to Italian so they’d get the gist of what they were reading.
Then we had Christmas shopping to do.
Sis helped by taking one of the boys with Geno as a translator. I took the other boys and explained what we were doing. When the boy Sis had finished, he returned to the group, and another boy went off. We had lunch in the food court, hamburgers, and fries with an ice cream soda. Can’t beat it.
As the days drew closer to Christmas, the excitement grew. The tree was up and decorated; the outside had a few color lights. Sis explained Santa Claus; the boys said no, it’s Babbo Natale and explained that they get gifts on January 6 from La Befana. I let Geno explained what each of those people did.
The boys were happy to accept the American Santa Claus. Clothes, books, along with a few games, were scattered all over the living room floor.
New Years’ Eve we stayed up and watched the ball drop in Times Square. That was our intention; the boys fell asleep. They did watch the parade on New Year’s Day.
On the second, we started to pack to go home. I had to buy two new suitcases and a barbecue grill to be mailed to us. Sis made us promise to be here for her wedding and to make sure she would have the boys participating.
We left in the evening on the third, but we had to have an American pizza for dinner that night. Geno knew all about the American food we enjoyed during our stay. The other boys hadn’t been to America, and so this was all new to them.
The flight home was great. The boys were very polite and slept most of the way. Arriving in Rome, we took the train and headed south to our home on the Amalfi Coast. The boys hit their beds and didn’t wake till the next morning.
When they awoke, I fixed them breakfast. “Boys, you need to unpack and put the clothes aside that need washing.”
“Papa, could I go to college in America?”
“Why would you want to go to college there?”
“Nona said I could stay with her, and Nonno said I could attend college at your college.”
Laughing, “Yes, if that’s what you want, but you must spend some time here with your brothers and me.” My mom and sister have been influencing my boys.
La Befana brought the boys’ wristwatches. I had their names engraved on the back. They were surprised and all in all, they probably had more gifts than they have ever had or could imagine.
When we went to the docks for dinner, the boys had to show our Captain their watches. After New Year’s, our life returned to normal. We went to our home in Rome, I went to work, and the boys went to school.
We made one trip home in June for the wedding. The boys looked sharp in their suits. Then back to Rome and back to school for the boys. I had hired tutors to get them caught up to age-appropriate grades. This summer, they should start school in the fall at the appropriate grade for their age.
Our life became somewhat routine. We spent the month of August in our home on the Amalfi Coast. We spent the end of the year holidays in America with my mom and dad. While I worked, the boys attended school.
Then the first of my sons, Roberto, left home to go to college in the States. He did stay with mom and dad, occupying my old bedroom. He decided to study chemistry. I encouraged him to think about continuing until he had at least his Master’s degree.
Two years later, Roberto was joined by his brother Mario. Mario wasn’t sure what he would major in. I encouraged him to take general courses the first year, and once he had a feel for the various majors being offered to make his selection. Roberto said he would look after him. The boys at home missed their brothers, and when they came home for the August break, they were plied with questions after questions.Dad made sure they had a gift for the boys at home. Holiday time in the States provided another time for us to be together.
The following year, Luca and Nico joined their brothers in the States. It seemed they were all migrating to the universities in the States. Roberto decided he would stay on campus, which left Mario, Luca, and Nico staying with Mom and Dad. Dad hinted that Roberto might have a girlfriend.
I was getting old, and my family was living on two different continents. I think my decision to retire came when Geno headed to the University in Milano. He decided he wanted to be a teacher, and it made sense for him to go to the University in Milano. Now I was alone, but not unhappy, the boys kept me informed, and I made it a habit to see them at least once every other month, and August was still spent together. Only there was one difference, Roberto brought his girlfriend home.
After I retired, Angelo kept in contact. About once a month, he would come and see me, we’d sit at the cafe where I met Geno and relive our times together. We would have dinner on the dock, and I’d chat with a retired boat captain.