I had always wanted to study the Italian language. Whenever I heard it spoken or sung, it sounded like a symphony. The ears may hear music but it is the heart that listens.
Unfortunately, my search for an Italian teacher was going nowhere. I had contacted the schools in the area without success. In desperation, I even called the local chapter of a well-known Italian-American organization and was told that “everyone who had spoken Italian was dead”. This particular comment was to become one of Rosalba’s favorite parts of this story.
My last call was made to a private school nearby. I was told that there was a new Latin teacher from Bologna, Italy on the staff. Perhaps she would have time to be my tutor? I began to leave messages not realizing that it was school vacation. Apparently, I mentioned the “everyone who had spoken Italian was dead” response that I had gotten. And this, no doubt, was the impetus for her returning my calls. . .concerned that she too might fall victim to this ominous fate.
We arranged to meet on Valentine’s Day, as she was staying late to chaperone the school dance. I have mentioned the experience of recognition as it relates to my first visit to Florence. I believe with all my heart that when Rosalba and I met, it was a recognition. Ah, here you are, my friend! We talked for two hours, spending only about five minutes on the subject of tutoring.
For months, my classroom was the dining room of a little wood-shingled house that sat a few streets back from the ocean’s edge. I studied my “baby” Italian while dinner cooked on the stove in the kitchen.
One evening, as I worked diligently on my grammar, Rosalba asked, “So when are you going?”
“Where?” I said.
With a look of both disbelief and exasperation, Rosalba laughed and answered, “Italy!”
In that book which is
On the first page
That is the chapter when
I first met you
Appear the words...
Here begins a new life
Ti amo più della luna e delle stelle.