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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

ARROW - 155. Chapter 155

My original vacation plans had to be changed. Our visit to Greece and Egypt will have to be next year.

In three days we would fly to Italy. I took the boys, I should say the older boys took the younger boys shopping. I told Tommy to be sure and get enough clothes for Carl and a suitcase. I gave Tommy my credit card. Doing that, I thought the older boys should have their own credit card. In the fall they will be off to college and they could use one. I need to talk with Colin about this.

That evening in bed, I told Colin about credit cards for the older boys. He thought it was a good idea,

The next evening at dinner, he gave each of the older boys a credit card. Smiles and hugs all around. I whispered, “Get a credit card for Marie as well. She can use it when she buys clothes for the girls.”

“Maybe I should get one for Peter as well. He can charge the groceries.”

Ritchie set up a system to keep track of the credit cards. Colin said he has organized a file on each boy and his credit card. He told me that way if there is any question about any thing purchased he would have a record. I got the impression his father had did the same thing.

The next subject was vacation.

I told them we will go after we are assure the children at the Home are safe.

I had planned on a two month vacation in Europe and now that will be about 4 weeks.

We had dinner with Charles. He had his work schedule with him and assure me, Colin believed what ever he said, the work at the Home would be completed in 10 days. Colin said we should go ahead with our vacation plans.

So I went and booked our flights to Rome, and a stop in Paris on the way home. We had a guest to pick up.

“We need to make a check that you all have everything. Tomorrow afternoon we will be leaving for JFK and then our flight to Rome. If you need anything, we can get it tonight,”

The older boys had packed enough clothes for 7 days and one good suit for church. They checked the youger boys, a list was developed of what they needed. Tommy and Richie checked Carl’s suitcase, and made a quite large list. He would need more than two pair of pants and a package of t-shirts. Before leaving the older boys questioned the younger boys, “John, do you have 7 pair of socks?” If John said yes, they would go on to the next item. If John said no, it went on the shopping list. I listen as they got to Carl. He had about half of what they would need.

I noticed when everyone was discussing something, Carl would look at me or Colin. I would love to know what he was thinking.

Suitcases all packed, ID tag tied on the suitcases, and one placed inside. Loading the vans, we were off to the airport. Our dads drove the vans and would pick us up when we returned. Marie with Louise sat in front, I had Mary Ann, and her doll, on my lap. We tried to get her to leave the doll at home, but she wouldn’t.

Arriving at the airport, the older boys attended to the luggage. Dad, asked Mary Ann for the doll telling her Gram would miss her. “Mary Ann, we will miss you. Do you think if Gram and I had your doll we wouldn’t miss you as much. You know how Gram likes your doll.”

That did it, she kissed the doll goodbye, in fact Colin, the boys and I had to say goodby as well to her doll.

The boys lead us through the airport, check in, through the airport security and to our boarding gate. I made the startling comment to Colin, “They don’t need us to help anymore. You know they will be wanting to fly to Europe on their own soon.”

“No they won’t. They will be too busy at school.” Saying that Colin recognized that Ronnie would be the first, flying home and back to school. “I think Ronnie will be the first to travel alone.”

I agreed with Colin, Ronnie will be the first. He will be the furtherest from home.

Boarding, the seat layout was two per row and 4 rows in the business class. The older boys sat with a younger boy, Marie and Mary Ann sat together. Colin sat with Louise to start and I sat with John.There was only one seat left not occupied.

Take off for the older boys was common and I noticed for the younger boys as well. Of course they sang ‘off into the wild blue yonder.

The steward came and gave the safety talk, check seat belts and announced dinner will be ready in an hour. Looking around, the flight was routine and the boys acted as if they flew often. The only fuss bug was Louise. She started off with Colin and ended with me. Sometime during the flight, Colin handed her to me and took John to sit with him. Louise is a magpie, she had to tell me about her doll and Grandma. I played along with her and then she got quiet, leaning into me with my arm around her, she fell asleep. She slept through breakfast and only woke when the plane landed. I was sure she would cry if she didn’t have my arm around her.

I told the crew to let the other passengers depart and we would be last, after the boys made a pit stop. Marie said she would take the girls and she did. By the time everyone had their pit stop we were ready to depart the plane. Clearing customs was routine although I noticed Carl was little frightened. Tommy was behind him and told the customs officer this was his first trip over seas. Passing through with the other children, Marie handled the girls, Mary Ann walked through by herself but Marie carried Louise.

Walking to the baggage area, I carried Louise. I had to talk to her as we walked.

Clearing baggage, walking outside there was Geno. Hugs all around except Carl was hesitant and the last to get a hug from Uncle Geno. He was nervous, looking for Tommy who stood by him. Taxis loaded we headed to the village. This was getting like home for me, my Italian home.


Arriving the village, we were met by Angela, little Geno, who was walking, holding on to Angela’s dress and Lil Carmela. The. Boys took their luggage and headed to the Hostel. They acted as the host rather than guests. Their village friends were chatting a mile a minute with them as they walked to the hostel. Geno wanted us to stay with them but I knew with their children it would be to busy. I told him it is better we stay with the boys. I told him about Carl, I could see his blood pressure rising. I always thought Geno was just a big boy. He was a simple man who loved children. If you saw Geno, you would see several village children around him.

He would toss the young ones in the air and catch them. When he did this you would hear ‘more’ or ‘again’, Angela would just shake her head.

The week started off slow. Which I enjoyed. We visited Nonna and the boys made sure there were flowers. Ivan went and replanted a few of the wild flowers. The boys patted him on his back. It was Angela that told me what Ivan did, the boys told her.

I spent time with Geno who now was making bunk beds and selling them in Rome. “I have a partner, I make the frame and he makes the mattress.” Colin and I were glad for Geno. Colin told him he would help him to expand.

There was a difference compared to the boys’ bunks. His were narrow, the boys was big enough for two but Geno’s was only big enough for one.

I arranged tours of Rome. I think I had more local boys than my eleven. But it was fun, we not only did Rome but we also toured Pompeii. I think Marie enjoyed that tour. I know she enjoyed lunch, she ate half of Louises’s lunch.

I included Geno and little Geno in the tours. Geno was as much fun as the tour. In Pompeii he was surprised at some of the art work on the walls. One which was a room for sexual activities he wondered if Angela would allow him to paint one of his walls. I knew he was kidding.

As much time as we spent in the village, I missed Nonna. I went to her resting place each day, talking to her as if she was sitting at her table with a cup of coffee. When I wasn’t thinking if her, I was thinking of the Home. I wondered how far they got on the security package, I wonder if they had any intrusions, I wonder about this and that. Colin said if there was problem GG would let me know.

Watching the boys having a good time with their friends. Mary Ann found a friend to keep her busy having fun. Louise was with Colin or me. I had decided to give Marie some time to herself. She wanted to go to Paris and she would meet us when we arrived there. I talked with Colin and he said she should go. It would be a short vacation for her and taking care of Louise she earn a few days to herself.

I thought about what Colin said, I like having Marie around but there is a danger of taking her for granted. I told her to have fun and we would meet her in Paris. Colin took care of her flight arrangements and a car from the village to the airport. As she was getting in the car for the ride to the air[ort, the boys gave her a hug, all except Carl.

I wasn’t sure how to reach him, I’ve asked GG but she just says, give him time. With his background I was very careful around him. He has seen me hugging the boys. I wanted to hug him as well but I was afraid he would react badly. I didn’t want to scare him, I was aware he had adjustments to make.

I relaxed, a little, in the village. I spent a lot of time with Angela and Geno. We made plans for them to visit us in October.

Why do vacations end so fast. It didn’t seem that four weeks was almost up. The boys were busy making arrangements for next summer visits. I was making plans on taking our vacation and planning on Geno and Angela visiting us In the fall. I took some photos of Angela’s children, some with them alone and some as a family. Angela said there will be no more, I wouldn’t bet on that.

On the last night we had a party in the square, we were surrounded by families of the friends of the boys as well as the older people I had met on my first trip as a student. Geno had bottles of wine that kept everyone happy. I was sitting at a table with a glass of wine watching the festivities. I knew someone sat down beside me, looking it was Carl. I smiled and put my arm around him pull him into my chest. I looked at Tommy, he had a big smile. Sitting next to Carl, “See, I told you he wouldn’t hurt you.”

In that square, I earned the trust of Carl. I knew Nonna had something to do with Carl. She could feel a trouble child from beyond this life.

In the morning we flew to Paris. Want to know who shared my seat? Take a guess, if you said Carl you would be right.

Arriving Paris we were met by Maria and Roger. “Roger, I didn’t expect you here, but I’m glad to see you.”

“I had some business with Arnaud.”

“Did you see Jean?”

“You know, see one and you see both. Those two are always together.”

I didn’t know why Roger was in Europe but I was glad to see him. It meant before going home tomorrow, I’d see Arnaud and Jean.

“Dad, can we have lunch at the Eiffel Tower.”

“We will need to make reservations. After we get to our hotel, we will take a taxi to the Tower and then we will stop and see Madama Lavigne. She will be coming home with us. Did I ever tell you she was the one who taught me French?”

“No, except we only met her twice.” The older boys met her once on our first trip and the second time was when the younger boys accompanied us when we came last year.

The hotel we stay at, did have rooms for us. Marie and Mary Ann had a room, and the boys had their own rooms. Odd man out was Carl, so one room had a cot.I slept by myself and, to be honest, I didn’t like it.

The older boys went to the Louvre, the younger boys came with me to the Eiffel Tower. This will be Carl’s first time. The boys said he had to buy a souvenir.

Carl looked at the souvenirs and checked the price. There was one he kept looking at, but he put it back. I went and picked its, paid for it. He looked at me with disbelief in his eyes. “Carl, you can put this in your room and you will always remember your time here.” It was a replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Taking the elevator to the restaurant, I made reservations for tonight. I included three gentle men and one additional woman in the reservation. I knew when Roger, Arnaud and Jean heard where we were going to eat, they would want to come along. I was hoping Madame Lavigne would agree to join us.

Walking to Madame Lavigne’s home, we went through the park. There was a street painter there. The boys watched and yes, they all got a picture.

They would look at each other and laugh. I thought tonight if I see another street artist I’ll have Mary Ann get one.

We walked to the patisserie to buy a bottle of wine. There must be some genetic similarly in boys, they stopped to look at the pastry. I bought them their pastry, thinking we will have crepes for lunch.

Arriving at Madame Lavigne, I knocked on the door. Opening the door, she saw the children and then she saw me. I got a hug and a kiss on my cheek. One of the boys handed her the bottle of wine.

Sitting in her living room, we were catching up and in doing that, I introduced Carl, my newest son. She kissed Carl on the cheek. I looked at the other boys, they were smiling.

I told her that we would have dinner tonight at the Eiffel Tower and we would be flying home tomorrow night. I think she was surprised, she knew she was going to make a visit but I don’t think she thought it would be so quick.

{in French) “I am looking forward to going to America. It is strange, I have lived all of my life in France. I never knew what would happen when you were first here. I have had a lot of young people staying here, but you have never forgotten me. Now, I have met your family and will be going to your home in the United States. My life has changed a lot since we have met.“

“Madame, we need to leave so the boys can get a short nap. We will stop by on our way to the Eiffel Tower.”

She hugged the boys, kissing them on their cheeks.

We walked back to the hotel. I rang Marie’s room when I felt someone with their arms around my legs. Looking down there was Mary Ann. I picked her up, “Where is Aunt Maria.?”

“I’m here.”

“I just called your room. Ready for lunch?”

Mary Ann answered, “Yes, we were waiting for you.” What followed was a hug and a sloppy kiss to my cheek. And there was a time I hesitated about adopting girls. Colin was right, they add a special charm to our family.

“Let’s head to the crepe shop.” Smiles all around.

After lunch, the older boys took the younger boys to the zoo. Marie and I took Mary Ann to the Botanical Gardens. Walking through the Gardens, Mary Ann was fascinated with the birds.Then I remembered the puppet show, so we headed to see it. Sitting there, I remember the older boys when we first saw this show wanting to be able to have a puppet show at home.

Mary Ann’s eyes were glued to the stage. Even though she didn’t understand what they were saying, she laughed at their antics.

When the show was over, we walked through the park. She had to smell the flowers, One of the workers took a flower and placed it in her hair. “Tres Jolie”

We got back to the hotel in time to get ready for dinner at the Eiffel Tower. The boys decided to walk, Arnaud had his car, with Roger and Jean. They made room for Maria and Mary Ann. I walked with the boys. On the way we stopped and picked up Madame Lavigne.

Arriving at the Tower, Tommy said that Mary Ann didn’t have a souvenir. So the boys got together and bought her one of the snow globes. Now everyone had a souvenir except Louise. I needn’t worry, the boys picked out something for her.

Arriving at the restaurant I could see the Maitre D’ relax. There were fifteen of us and without us, they would have a poor attendance and the possibility of food being wasted.

Dinner was excellent, this time it was small chickens stuffed with mushrooms and truffles. Dessert was a slice of an ice cream pie with fresh whipped cream. A dinner that would be remembered.

Arnaud, Jean and Roger took Madame Lavigne home. The boys, Marie and Mary Ann, and I walked to our hotel.

I suggested that we take a walk to the Arc de Triomphe before turning in. Marie and Mary Ann said they would see us in the morning.

It was a nice walk. I always liked walking in Paris, but I don’t know why. Tonight was special though. Carl finally accepted the family. I watched him and for the first time he didn’t give the appearance of being afraid. He was joking and laughing with the other boys.

Walking back to our hotel, the boys were talking about going home tomorrow. I didn’t look forward to tomorrow or the rest of the week. It will be nice to have Madame Lavigne with us, but Ronny will be leaving with Colin to check out Michigan State, and I’ll be taking Richie to Amherst. My family was growing up and to be truthful, I didn’t like it. Colin kept sayin you can’t keep them as babies forever, I knew that but where does it say I have to like it. Of course, I was excited for the boys and didn’t let them know how I felt about them leaving.

Morning crepes at the restaurant behind the hotel, a walk to the Louvre to see if there were any new paintings, and meeting Jean. We are going to see Arnaud and Roger for lunch. Maria was going to take Mary Ann shopping.

Copyright © 2022 CLJobe; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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A few chapter ago. Ronnie was going to go to college at Michigan and Michigan is the Wolverines and In Ann Arbor, Michigan. The last couple of chapters he is going to Michigan State Spartans that are located in East Lansing, Michigan. They are very much rivals. 

But Roll Tide! I am a big Alabama Fan!

I am glad Carl is now beginning to relax and becoming more at ease with Armand and hopefully Colin real soon.

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On 2/2/2023 at 6:16 PM, JohnnyC said:

Thank You So Much Sir For This Latest Chapter ! Very Enjoyable Indeed 😁

I am very glad you are enjoying this story. Thank you for your comment.

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