“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie . . .” wafts
over the ancient adobe walls of The Pacific House in Monterey
and serenades me as I am draped like a round of dough across a
bench at my favorite park. I am cooking in the sun, surrounded
by golden gingko trees, tawny grasses and brandy roses.
I have come here to write a speech and escape the entombing fog
just over the hill.
While riding my bike along the bike path in Monterey I came to
Portola Plaza and the scintillating Italian Festival. Hundreds
of Italians and lovers cruised vendors’ booths that reeked of
roasting garlic, Chianti and beer, parmesan cheese, luscious
meatballs and scarlet tomato sauce.
The band was plugged into more than electricity. Their energy
had 70-somethings doing the two-step and rocking and rolling all
It’s a strangely wonderful thing, this park. There can be
multitudes celebrating just around the corner but few people
discover this little gem. And when they do, they are delighted
to find passion vine-covered stucco bathrooms.
Inspiration overtakes me amid the petunias and emerald green
grass while cars buzz past this inner sanctum.
As for passion - man oh man! The Italians have it. Some of my
dearest friends are Italian. I think if I come back to this
world in a second life it will be as an Italian or Polynesian.
Nix to the cold and wet weather of my Scottish, English and
Irish relatives. Nix to Scotch eggs, bread pudding and potatoes.
Ditto for tea, propriety and pole hurling.
“Volari” is playing now and the audience is singing along. These
are my people. I’m moving to Rome.
On the other hand, maybe not. I just remembered my one and only
trip to Rome in ‘75. It was a nightmare. I expected to be
pinched in the street, and I was. No biggie. But dullard that I
am, I consented to eat buffet and drink the water on a tour with
the man I had just married. Immediately following, I became
desperately ill, as did the entire group on the tour bus. But
not my interminably upbeat, optimistic, healthy husband (this
played a large part in our divorce but I won’t linger there).
Thank God I already had seen Michelangelo’s breathtaking works
at the Vatican with the dust dappled shafts of light streaming
through the miles-high windows. But I never saw Pompeii, my
No, I was back at the hotel with an Italian doctor whose only
words I could understand were that I should have “bambinos.” He
gave me a shot of something that knocked my stomach spasms and
me out cold and who knows what happened after that? My husband
was downstairs – at the wrong door – still waiting for him . . .
At any rate, the golden slant of light in this heavenly park,
the little gold-dusted butterflies hovering about the golden
calendulas and an Italian serenade had me glowing – gold, of
course. Which only makes sense when you consider that the park
is named after the Casa del Oro - House of Gold – on its grounds
that in former centuries was a repository for gold.