Everyone has a story, and for many people that story is a romance … although not all of them have happy endings in real life. That's one of the wonderful aspects of the romance novels. You can become anyone, go anywhere, and experience every emotion, without leaving home and without risk. And you experience the joy of H.E.A.
My Story: How I Met My Husband
After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1963 with a degree in architecture, I went to Rome to study at the University of Rome. I arrived via London, where I'd spent a week with a friend from Berkeley. On July 26, my first day in Rome and at the Fountain of Love in Piazza Esedra (also called Piazza Della Republica), I met the man I married and am still married to after more than fifty years.
I’d just arrived by train that afternoon from London, and had eaten nothing all day. Once I found a place to stay for a few days, I went looking for an American Bar that I remembered from my first time in Rome. I was dying for a hamburger after a week in England.
The café (I can't recall the name anymore) wasn't far from my rooming house near the train station, located on Via Nazionale, which intersected with Piazza Della Republica. However, there were, and still are, at least five streets traversing that piazza. I planned sit down by the fountain in the center of the piazza to figure it out.
Love At First Sight: Well, Maybe.
When I got there and waited for a break in the traffic to cross the street, I noticed, sitting on the rim of the fountain, a good looking man who made me think of the Italian actor, Marcello Mastroianni.
After a while, he started talking to me (Heh! Heh! Heh!), but I don't remember how we communicated. He spoke a little English, I spoke a few words in Italian from one semester of the language at Berkeley. Despite the communication problem, I learned he was a Guardia of the Pubblica Sicurezza, a state policeman, who worked in the passport office.
And when he invited me to dinner, I accepted. Oh, yeah. We found other ways to communicate, as young people usually do. Things got very friendly on the steps of the Palazzo Della Civitá, but it was dark by then—thank goodness— and we were up a million steps from street level, under the arcade. Palazzo Della Civitá
Under other circumstances, I probably would have slapped his face (that's my story and I'm sticking with it) and left, but I had no Italian money and didn’t know where I was or how to get to my hotel. Well, I was young, inexperienced, and not the brightest bulb on the tree.
When he returned me to my pensione late that night, we made a date for the next afternoon. A date I almost missed because I had to register for Italian classes at a language school. I met two other American girls who wanted to share a room, and the time slipped away. I had to run all the way from the bus to the rooming house to catch him before he left.
After that, I was smitten. A couple of months later, I had to look up the word fidanzata in my Italian-English dictionary to find out I was engaged. In December we got married in a civil ceremony at City Hall (the Campidoglio).
But that's just the beginning of the saga. I'll save the rest for another time.