#1 Italy, March 30, 1997

Dear Everybody,

After going to Washington, DC to give a talk on hospitals for a World Bank Human Development Conference, I flew to Italy for Easter, and for my grandson, Marco’s Baptism. Vivaldo, Marco’s Italian grandfather, met me in Arezzo. On the way to Partina, we stopped at the hospital in Bibbiena to visit Roberto, who had had his third spontaneous pneumothorax. The hospital was pretty old-fashioned (hand-cranked beds, for example) but it seemed he was getting good care and treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

Good Friday evening, Vivaldo, Mateo (Roberto’s nephew), Lucia (his niece) and I participated in the Good Friday Procession. A barefoot man in brown cassock carrying a cross led the procession, followed by the priest and townspeople.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We processed to the other end of the town (about three blocks) and back to the church.

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday started with breakfast with many hardcooked eggs that had been blessed by the priest. Roberto had been discharged from the hospital and so was able to participate.

Mass was at 11:00 which included Marco’s Baptism. The priest (in Italian) said that this little ‘Americanino’ had come all the way to Partina to be baptized. Roberto’s sister, Luigina and brother-in-law, Giovanni were the godparents. When Marco was held over the font for the pouring on of water, he spit his pacifier into the font to which the priest, under his breath, muttered, “Well now, that’s blessed, too.”

Afterwards we had a wonderful dinner, prepared by Roberta and Luigina, Roberto’s two sisters, and Renata, Roberta’s mother-in-law. The whole family gathered around Marco. Many friends from Partina had dropped over in the preceeding days to give him presents. As a momento of the day, Roberto and Claire presented guests and well-wishers the traditional bonbonaires, which are little net nosegays with almond candies and a message that said, “Marco Moneti, Jan. 2, 1997.” (his birthday)

The menu at the dinner:

Crustini – pate’ and tomato
Tortellini in broth
Ravioli with potatoes
Homemade noodles with sugo
Pork Loin
Thrushes
Salad
Peas
Fruit Torte
Festive Cake

It was a wonderful day, an example of that ‘family-ness’ which characterizes Italians.

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