Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

I Home

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-2

read more

2004 James Street

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 3-32

James Street, where I lived from infancy through my twenty-second year, begins in downtown Syracuse at Clinton Square, continues a straight course eastbound reaching an elevated point at Oak Street, then proceeds on to become a commercial artery in...

read more

My Mother’s Wedding Day

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 33-49

It seemed a remarkable coincidence when the mail brought me a page from a long-defunct Utica newspaper called Il Pensiero Italiano, which gave an account of my mother’s wedding day, for it arrived just three days before the anniversary of that event. The...

read more

Zio Filippo at Summer Camp

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 50-55

Imagine this: it’s a heavy, humid summer day even in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. My brother Jack and I are at adjoining summer camps at Eagle Bay on Fourth Lake. Cedar Cove is for boys and Sunny Ledge for girls. These are very tony camps and are more indicators of my father’s business success than my wish...

read more

The Spinsters of Taos

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 56-66

One summer in Venice I finally met the person, a friend and countryman of my husband’s, to whom we were to have sent a postcard from Taos, New Mexico, seven summers earlier. Antonio spotted his friend and introduced him to me in a splendid courtyard...

II Abroad

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 67-68

read more

A Fish Tale

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 69-79

It was a long time ago, just a few years after the end of World War II, and there I was, a bride in mist-wrapped, sodden-aired, graying and bombed-out Vicenza in the north of Italy. With my husband Antonio, Vicenza-born of a Venetian paternal line, I was temporarily...

read more

Montale and Mosca in a Train

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 80-88

Growing up I was given Nancy Drew books for my birthday, and other reading came from my visits to the Eastwood branch of the Syracuse Public Library. The first book purchase at a bookstore I ever made for myself was T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Perhaps from...

read more

Sicily, Light and Dark

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 89-99

On a school vacation when we were living in Rome, my husband and I decided to take our children to Taormina in Sicily for Easter. High above the sea that laps on Sicilian shores, Taormina is one of earth’s beauty spots; as scenery it is superb, but as a town it is...

read more

A Classical Excursion

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 100-109

When I learned that my liberal arts Wells College, founded for women in 1870 by Henry Wells of Wells Fargo fame, had, not long after celebrating its centennary, eliminated its Classics Department, I was staggered and saddened. How could an institution...

read more

Neruda vs. Sartre at the Sea

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 110-130

They tell of certain years in the Italian literary-prize business as the French would speak of a good or bad vintage year: the giddy splendors of 1970 prize-feting and fighting, the multiple crises of ’68 culminating in the sad death of Nobel poet Salvatore Quasimodo while presiding at some minor poetry prize event at Amalfi...

read more

Being at Bellagio

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 131-152

In a late spring of some years ago I was racked with doubts: a completed novel, still unpublished, was in a drawer awaiting not only a publisher but even an agent who would represent it and send it out to some welcoming editor. And I was planning another book about six American women writers and how Italy had played...

III Return

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 153-154

read more

Shutting the Door on Someone

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 155-163

It’s been a long time since I’ve cared to remember the day I shut the front door of our Croton house in John Cheever’s face. My weird response to his ring and to seeing him on our porch, dwarfed by the columns of that large, four-square grey stucco...

read more

Paris in the Boondocks

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 164-173

Not long ago, invited to return to my old college in upstate New York to give a reading, I decided in a fit of romanticism that for the occasion I would wear my mother’s honeymoon blouse.
It still hangs in my closet. It is no ordinary blouse. It is cut velvet lined with silk and was acquired in Paris on my parents'...

read more

A Story of Rings

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 174-187

One March I was in Arizona—vast stretches of desert, ringed by strange, contorted mountains that look thrust out of the earth by volcanic forces as, indeed, they were.
Many years before, on a summer college program, I had had my first experience of Mexico and of seeing among its arts some stunning turquoise and silver jewelry; in Arizona I was seeing...

read more

A Circular Journey

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 188-210

The place names in my personal lexicon—where I was born, where my family came from, and where I have lived and studied— are classical: Syracuse, Croton, Utica, Magna Graecia, Rome, Aurora. They are in America, or they are in Italy; some are in both places...