A letter posted too late.
I was an American kid who spoke no functional Italian; they were a retired couple in their middle sixties who shared my train compartment. “I work in the trains for twenty years,” Renato told me in his scant but earnest English, “now, I rest!” He and his wife, Lena, were on their way to eat lunch at the staff commissary in Bologna where he would always eat when he worked as a train conductor. They invited me to lunch with them, and we had a wonderful couple of hours together eating lasagna and green salad before I went on to Venice and they went back home to Faenza. They saw me to the platform to make sure I boarded the correct train.
I have had their address in my journal for two years. This evening, I was informed by my father of the recent earthquake in Bologna, strong enough to be felt as far as Venice and Verona. I will post my letter tomorrow to see if my “temporary Italian grandparents” are alright.
It’s times like these that I really hate my own apathy. I should have been writing to them since I returned home two years ago.