Conclusion to Living in Rome


The conclusion to our living in Rome comes much too quickly. Actually it is only after one school year. In fact, we are just settling in to living into our new home abroad. I can not see any sensible reason to depart since so many exciting things are happening in Rome.

We are there right before the start of the 1960 Summer Olympics. Apparently one of the reasons for departure is that the beach is too far from our apartment to maintain both a summer coastal residence and our Rome rented apartment.

In my mind, our family home on Long Island could bring rental income to cover the added expense to stay in Italy longer. Considering my mother’s extraordinary feat in arranging almost a year in Italy, none of the reasons we were given for leaving Italy made enough sense to my eleven year old mind.

What is the meaning of the Five Olympic Rings?
Olympic flag from

Olympic Excitement Since then and as an adult I have discovered the primary reason for leaving. She (my grandmother) who controls the money, controls the itinerary. But my sadness still overshadows any answer that could come. Unfortunately the budget dictated a return to New York.

But there was some fun but less novelty on the same ocean liner. Otherwise I am not happy to return to the same neighborhood, to the same family house, and the same controlling environment. Otherwise, I feel like I am in a different world. I had to face so much change in my outside world from such a short absence.

S.S. Constitution, American Export Lines, by Tichnor Brothers, c. 1950s, from the Digital Commonwealth – 1 commonwealth 8g84mw21v.

Not a Happy Return

In just one year, I had become an outsider, a stranger, a foreigner. In fact these are clear signs of this. I talked funny. In other words, I did not sound like a New Yorker anymore. In addition, I had entered puberty. That in itself caused all kinds of confusion for me. Children who were my childhood friends had lost interest in stoop ball and tree climbing. They were ready to explore sexual interests instead. But I still wanted both worlds.

Besides social pressures, all kinds of educational tests were thrust upon me to determine my placement for second language classes that start in junior high school. All the other students had done this in sixth grade, the same year I lived in Italy. Being out of sync educationally made me feel even more like an outsider.

To Be Blunt, I Am Different

But it is not a comfortable different either. After testing I am tracked to study Spanish rather than French as a second language. I actually feel relief but also face an extra challenge. Because of my previous year learning to speak Italian, in and out of school, Spanish and Italian are now confusing to me.

conclusion to living in Rome
Gemen Wooden Puzzles
Continually, I would interject Italian words into my Spanish studies. This cropped up especially when trying to count numbers.

For example, the number five always came out as ‘cinque’ (Italian) instead of ‘cinco’ (Spanish). After studying Spanish for four years, that confusion did go away. But to this day, I remember both words.


In Conclusion In spite of our abrupt conclusion to living in Rome, I am certain of one thing. It is that I must have some of the sense of adventure from my mother’s DNA. This is because of one undeniable fact. Even though living in Italy was short lived, it is definitely to this day one of the best and most unique experiences of my entire life.


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