Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Guinea Pigs, Part II

At lunch in Verona (Jerry, Barb, Nancy, Moi, Kathy, Ed)
"As with any journey, who you travel with (sic) can be more important than your destination."  ~ Unknown

When last I left them, the members of Group #2 were in Rome preparing for a big day at the Vatican, Vatican Museums, and Sistine Chapel.  As much as I love the Vatican, I hate crowds and didn't want to go through it again.  (Selfish?  Maybe. Maybe not. I also needed to get back to Bologna for Immersion in Italian.)  Happily, they all survived my dragging them around Italy for two weeks, and they head to the States tomorrow.

You should meet them, though, so without further ado...

Nancy Clemente

Nancy and I in Sulmona

Nancy and I survived St. Nicholas Elementary School and Cardinal Mooney High School. I remember being allowed to ride my bike to her house a few times when we were still at St. Nick's, and that was something because she lived in Struthers, and I lived in Boardman.  While that sounds far, we lived only 1.5 miles apart. Still, it was a big deal in those days and with the mother that I had.

Currently, Nancy is a librarian at Clarion University in Oil City, PA. Her dad is of Italian descent, and I have one very strong memory of him.  He answered the phone when I called Nancy one evening.

"Hello," he said.

"Is Nancy there?" I innocently asked.

"Yes," he replied and hung up the phone.  I was quite shocked.

Mr. C's thought was that the caller should greet the answerer before asking for the person he/she wants.  To this day, I always greet the person who answers the phone and ask how he/she is doing.  (Nan, don't forget to tell you dad I remember that.)

(By the way, Nancy is the reason I titled yesterday's post about getting a song out of my head... She sang one song last week {not mentioning it as I don't want it back in the brain}, and I could not get it out of my head for days. Bad, Nancy! Bad!! I finally listened to my iPod while I was sleeping, and it got rid of the stupid thing.  I had to do it last night with that Tisket song...)

Kathy Guenther

Kathy in Sulmona
Kathy hails from London, Ohio, home of none other than Mike Cutler.  She attended London High School and graduated after Mike's brother and before Mike.  Her fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Mills and not Mrs. Cutler (mother of said Mike).

Kathy and I connected via Facebook, and she took my first memoir class at UNLV.  We hit it off, and we meet for coffee when we can. She is a retired Las Vegas (and Tampa) real life CSI, and she was even a technical adviser for the show.  Currently, she volunteers with Clark Country Schools and Spread the Word Nevada by helping children learn to read.

Ed Guenther
Ed at the Colosseum
(First, apologies to Ed for this photo. I have a better one, but I can't find it.  I cropped this one because I'm going to use the entire thing in another post.)

Ed is also a retired real-life CSI.  He worked crime scenes in Ohio and Florida and moved to fingerprints in Las Vegas.  I only got to know Ed this year, and I think we hit it off pretty quickly.  Like me, he hates crowds and pushing and shoving. I wanted him to give me one of his lit mini cigars so I could move people out of the way (a burn on the butt is a lot of incentive, you know), but he didn't.  Only kidding (about asking for the cigar). He has a great sense of humor, and he can come up with one liners easily. (For that matter, so can Kathy.)

Barb & Jerry Reszkowski

Barb & Jerry in Sulmona
Barb and Jerry are friends of Nancy and live near her in Oil City, PA.  Barb is a retired librarian, and Jerry retired from IT work. They're both pretty quiet, but Jerry can come up with one-liners often, too.  I think he could probably fix anything. When we couldn't get the key to the Rome apartment to open the door on Saturday afternoon, we gave it to him, and with one turn, we were in.

Barb took copious notes while we were touring (500 extra points...The group understands this joke.), and I'm going to get her recipes for different dishes.  Barb learned a few Italian words and used them throughout the trip.

As a side note, Barb and Jerry are of Polish descent, and Barb speaks Polish. Two times during our days in Rome she heard people speaking Polish and struck up a conversation with them. How cool is that?

Nancy, Ed, Barb, Jerry, & Kathy in Verona

Ciao, miei amici.  Thank you for allowing me to show you Italy.

Buon viaggio. Ci vediamo in America. 

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