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Thursday, January 10, 2013

POST 1040; JANUARY 10, 2013; NAPLES, ITALY (1958-1959)


FORUM, POMPEII, COMPAGNIA, ITALY ...Vesuvius stands behind

In late September, Joanie's mother, Jeanne, arrives in Italy to be with Joanie for the birth of our Son, Olen.  We drive to the Leonardo de Vinci International Airport in Rome, and back to Naples in one day, stopping only a few times to sight see. 

Jean is not pleased with me.  I have, after all, taken her daughter half way around the world to a place she does not want to be...actually, Joan has not once complained about being in Naples, but has withdrawn from any social activities, and she has taken NO interest in my work, my scuba diving, or in the city of Naples or the country of Italy. 

We both realized that our marriage was not of our own choice...and have failed to find a common ground.  Jean's presence does nothing to help us.  She is, however, a great help to keep her company and have someone to talk to, if nothing else.

On October 18, Olen is born.  He spends his first seven days in the U.S. Naval Hospital - only a few blocks from our apartment -, remaining full time inside an oxygen tent.  The Navy doctors never explain his technical condition...only that he needs life support. 

 I feel Jean's visit is not a pleasant one for her.  She does chat with me from time to time...she has joined a bowling league, spends lots of time with friends, works in the restaurant of Macy's in Northgate Shopping Center...but, strangely confides to me that she feels she will die soon...probably before she is 40 years old.  Hubby Ole is gone fishing in Alaskan waters from Spring to Fall, leaving her alone except over each winter, when Ole is very busy on HOOVER, getting her ready for next year's North Pacific Ocean Halibut fishing season.

Shortly after Olen comes home, Jean flies back to Seattle.

The next few months, I stay home.  Finally, I am allowed to help around the apartment, cleaning and ironing - something I truly enjoy -, and spending lots of time with Bruce, Jr.  Still, Joanie and I remain at arm's length...

During the Winter, I decide to join TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL.  There are two NATO for Officers and one for Enlisted.  Enlisted club is named TOASTMASTERS PARLO BENE (Speak Well).  Having been a "wallflower" my entire life, Toastmasters opens a whole new world to me.  Among new friends, we learn together how to deliver a to think and communicate on our to say what we mean - and be understood.
We also learn how to properly dress for occasions, and how to control and use mannerisms to get our message every kind of audience...personal and public.

Together with the Officers Toastmaster Club, we hold a meeting at the Forum in POMPEII, where we get the opportunity to speak from the same podium as did CICERO, perhaps one of the greatest orators in history and the Mentor of Toastmasters Parlo Bene.


It has come to pass that the AFSE Enlisted Men's Club has made a call to Toastmaster's Parlo Bene for volunteers to MC (Master of Ceremonies) to host visiting professional entertainers; i.e., to receive them at the Railroad Station, Naples Airport (Capodichino), Bus, or Automobile; to help them set up in their hotel; to escort them around Naples - to dinner, Pompeii, Capri, etc. - and:

To /participate in up a routine for presentation at the various events scheduled...including introducing the entertainers during the event (show).

I and one other person volunteered.  My colleague, Douglas, and I take  turns the first few weeks receiving and presenting our entertainers.  Doug, however, quits after being not-so-well received by audiences.

I, on the other hand, am was well received by the entertainers AND audiences...the beginning of a new, exciting, and rewarding adventure.

Regretfully, Joanie is not in the least interested, going so far as to refuse to allow me to bring entertainers home for an evening.

During the next year and half, I work with individuals and groups from the world over; i.e., Rio de Janiro, Aisa, USA, and Europe.  From the moment they arrive in Naples until their departure, I am with them...well, nearly all the time...being the consummate host and on stage introducing and participating in their performances.


One of my earliest groups is the world famous INK SPOTS.  The Original Ink Spots disbanded back in the 1940s.  One of the original group, Charlie Fuqua, continued for many years leading his FUQUA'S INK is Fuqua's Ink Spots whom I hostand introduce during their week of  performances in and around Naples.

Another group of two, DANNY LADANY and his Brother's future wife.  Danny and his Sister-in-Law to be, both members of aristocracy in Budapest, Hungary, escape during the 1956 revolution.  Danny and his new Sis, take it upon themselves to create and perform an entertaining - a bit sexy - skit, to garner $$ to reach Australia, where Danny's brother has already emigrated some months before.  Danny draws complex artistic geometric designs...three or four of which he presents to me. 


Memorable is a dancing troupe from Rio.  Ten gorgeous dancers - together with a 3-member band - perform in full Carnival Costume (or not).  Among the most colorful and energetic entertainers, I am drawn into the group during rehearsals, given a part to play on stage.  One particular young lady takes a special fancy to me...introducing me to some very private South American moves.

I thoroughly enjoy my part in being  host and participating on stage as Master of Ceremonies.  Most of our performances are for various nearby military bases and organizations.  I am, of course, an enlisted man.  I NEVER, however, appear in uniform.  For all performances, I am a member of the performing cast.  Most performances are before Officer Club audiences, where I would normally never be allowed entry.  At no time am I questioned or challenged...rather, I am unquestionably received as part of the show.


Near the end of 1959, the cast of the MOULIN ROUGE (from Paris) comes to Naples.  Thirteen girls and their supporting orchestra of musicians...

One Singer - from England
Six CanCan Dancers - from Europe and Asia
Six Mannequins (100% NAKED) - from Europe

...all extremely beautiful...all exceptionally talented...and all of whom I fall madly in love...mutually, as it turns out for three or four.


The Moulin Rouge Girls and I form a tight bond during our week together in Naples.  I even bring them home with me...much to the flustration and frustration of Joanie.

When I see the girls off at the Naples Train Station, their train departure is delayed for two hours....must do all the hugging and kissing all over again..
Then one girl asks me if I cannot come with them for the remainder of their two week tour of north Italy.  Now, all 13 are begging me to join them.  I say goodbye, not expecting to see them again...only to arrive home and casually mentioning the invitation to Joanie ...GO...just go...I know it's important to you...just go with them.....

Joanie helps me put a small suitcase together and I rush off to the Enlisted Men's Club...I have been invited to tour for two weeks with the Moulin Rouge.  No problem...go ahead...and, meet me at the Milan LA SCALA (Opera House), where I will have some introduction letters and $$ to finance the rest of the tour.


I race back home, park the car, say goodbye to Joanie & Bruce, Jr, and grab a taxi to the train station.

The train is pulling out as I run to jump aboard...

But, I am getting ahead of myself...we have a week together in Naples, my girls and I.....

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