Monday, October 3, 2011

It's October, already...

 How is this possible? That it's October? And Clemente will be heading to Tampa soon. In the meantime, he gives me a Spanish lesson on Sunday mornings at the Starbucks in Target near the racetrack. Since I don't really know exactly what that sound system is -- what ll and j and the vowels sound like -- my spelling isn't very good. And he talks very fast and takes out his teeth to eat and it's a foreign language...and Italian would be easier. But it's terrific fun.

I'm learning various impractical things like Yo voi a la (or parra) Florida and por que ella estraba apprendiendo Espagnol con migo. (I've forgotten what this means.)

Gordo is fat. and hija is daughter (pronounced e-ha in English.)

I've hardly been at the track this meet, having spent endless time at the Senior Center, photographing, video taping, taking yoga, learning Spanish in the class where they are learning English. The "Harvest Celebration" will be late this month, the last Wednesday, at the Sr. Center, my photographs, food, visit from "Garden Girl," we hope, who has a show on a cable program. I think that there are around 40 framed photographs, so far. I may reprint and combine a couple, but my obsession is showing as many of the seniors in as many activities as possible which is how I got introduced to Mike at bocce.

(The question is whether I'll join bocce next's so tempting, sitting around in the sun watching, until it's your turn. But in grade school, I know I got in the back of the line, hoping I'd never come up to bat. And this would be as terrible... with someone like Mike wanting to win.)
At any rate, he didn't. Win. His team lost the champsionship by two points. "We lost by two. We lost by two," he said in wonderment. He's almost ninety, from Italy, spent four years in the war on an island off of Greece. "That Mussolini, twenty-seven from my village died, twenty-seven. He was drafting men age 50, with families. Terrible." When he was discharged, after the war, it took a month for him to get back to the village in the Abruzzi mountains, outside of, way outside of, Rome. When he got there, groups of neighbors greeted him. When he got to the house, his mother said, "Michael, you got to marry Maria."  "What you mean, I just got back from the war. Let me rest. Who is Maria?" "You know. You just saw her."  When he went away, he said, his sister had a friend in the house across from them, a skinny girl. How could he know she was Maria, that beautiful young woman. He didn't recognize her. How could he?

There were no jobs, no food, nothing. But finally he got something in construction. And after a year, he married Maria. His brother in America asked him to come over. He did, but he didn't know what was going to happen, so he left her and their son and daughter. In two years, they came. (In the meantime, he worked hard and went to dance clubs. He's loved to dance.) Finally they moved to Chelsea and he got out of construction and worked in the pharmacy at Mass. General for twenty-seven years.

He's distraught. Depressed. Maria died four or five months ago. He doesn't know what to do without her. He misses her so much. They had a wonderful marriage.

Mike played bocce as a kid, in the streets, with stones. He's very good.


  1. Dear Melissa - that's the same Starbucks-in-TarJay that you and I went to the day my phone needing a top-up! I recognize the board behind your heads (great photo of you and Clemens) and the curve of the kiosk. This just gave me a little thrill, Melissa!

    I'm curious about bocce. It's not a game I've heard of before.
    Mike sounds special. I'm glad he has you to talk to.

    Love from NZ and me, Claire xo

  2. clemente has such a beautiful face, a lovely wide smile. and look at that gorgeous creature next to him. it's been raining majorly dogs and cats here for like, forever.
    thank you for this shiny ray of sunshine...


  3. thank you, both..
    perhaps bocce was an Italian game, though I imagine it started before recorded history. someone throwing a marker (in the case of bocce, a small white ball) and people trying to get their stones closest to it...I'm sure there are lots of off-shoots, gambling on street corners, with variations. But this game is played with 2 teams of four people, two bowling or throwing the ball on each side of the court.