Wednesday, August 7, 2013


It's Strange How the Bureaucracy Works

In the summer of 1996, Lydia came to Austria to "perfect her voice", as they say.  Two weeks before she left the States, she received a contract to sing in an opera in Germany, following the weeks in Salzburg.  After the Opera, in October she auditioned with Maestro Battaglia for voice lessons in Italy.  Those began early in November.  She came home for Christmas.  Early in 1997 she was back to lessons in Torino.

After two years, Gabriel came to study with Maestro Battaglia, also.  In August 2001, they were married in our little country Church at North Grove, in northern Illinois.  It was a beautiful setting and a beautiful day.  The building was full to the back wall with overflow chairs.  Gabriel's parents, his brother, Willie, and their Aunt Chloe had come from Argentina.  I gave the service in English, my brother Paul, missionary to Honduras, gave the service in Spanish.

 After the groom kissed his bride, the wedding party went around the aisles of the Church to the tune of  "When the Saints Go Marching In."  The reception line formed on the front porch of the Church where the guest greeted the wedding party and continued on to the sit-down meal in the beautiful white tent provided by the Congregation, in the Church yard.

The young couple soon returned to Italy where Lydia had an apartment in the Center of Torino.  After a couple years they began hunting a more roomy abode.  The one they settled on was in the village, eighteen or twenty miles out of the city.  Theirs is the end apartment next to the alley-sized one way street, in an old brick building put up in the 1500's.  It might be three hundred feet long, three stories high and probably holds 8 to 12 apparments.   It has something of a curve in it's length as it snugs against a low hill at the back.  An ally / street behind is supported by a 20 or 25 foot retaining wall.  There are two or three of those retainer walls with houses  and streets ascending to the top of the hill where 3 or 4 very old Churches, built during the 1300's, stand side by side, ringing their loud bells every hour and every half hour day and night, month after month, year after year.

The Village was incorporated in the year 999 a.d.  People had already been living on these hill for a long, long time before 999 a.d.  I was here once in 2010, when the owner of the clothing store told me he was on the village board and the year before, 2009, they had a great celebration of the 1,000th Birthday of their village.

Because there are limitations in living in only one country of Europe, because most of Lydia's work in in Germany, because it might be better to move to the country where one works and many other "becauses", and because both Argentina and the USA will allow dual citizenship with Italy, it just seemed reasonable for them to seek that avenue.  After eighteen months of waiting for paper work to be processed, finally they were notified the time was drawing nearer.  Then word came that Rome was sending the proper papers to Torino.  After trips of eighteen or so miles each way, the papers were ready to be sent to the City Hall, so the swearing in could take place, 

The great day came.  The family joyfully ascended the stairs to the court of Madame, the Mayor.  Oops!  The papers had been separated from those of her family.  Not to worry.  Swear in Gaby and the Girls and wait for Rome to send Lydia's.  After the ceremony, to the surprise of the Mayor and her staff, Lydia brought out her offering of beautiful and flavorful cupcakes.  Afterward the party retired to the coffee bar across the street.

Weeks have passed and now, yesterday we all went down town to the Passport office to collect Carys, Gaia and Gabriel's Passports.  Today we attended Lydia as she went to the Village Hall and was sworn-in as a citizen of Italy by Madame, the Mayor.  Gabriel phoned across the street and ordered coffees, Lydia had bought beautiful little cookies.

Lydia and the Mayor stood at the head of the court room, we all stood watching and listening, while Madame the Mayor very rapidly read the 2 or 3 or 4 very long pages, just to announce that the Family now truly have an Italian branch.

It has been an exciting and beautiful day.  Mom would have been proud.


  1. It is exciting that you got to be there for this important day. Enjoy your visit!

  2. Congratulations, Lydia, on your long years of hard work. Love you.