Meeting dad continued {Tuesdays with Tina, part 16}

This entry is part 16 of 22 in the series Tuesdays With Tina

We continue with the interview of both my mom and dad to get each of their perspectives on how they met. If you are new to this series, you can go back and catch up.

Tuesdays with Tina

Hugh: Not long after that, this kid got transferred and he had a ’64 Volvo PV544. It was my first car in Italy. I was going to buy an MGT but he told me, “You can have it, you just have to take over the payments.”

Me: So he had bought it new…

Hugh: Yeah, he had bought it new…less than two years.

Tina: It was the car we had in Naples, then we had it in Virginia.

Hugh: It was the car we left you sitting at the side of the road in. {This story will come later}

Me: Oh really?

Tina: Wait, we did what?

Hugh: She got out of the car to play…

Tina: No, no. That was the Fiat 128.

Hugh: No it wasn’t. It was the Volvo.

Me: So did you bring it to Virginia and then you shipped it back?

Hugh: Yeah, oh yeah. Then I had a way to take her out and we started seeing each other pretty regularly then.

Me: Just the two of you?

Tina: Yes, then I think Eddie Horn left…

Hugh: Yeah, he left about 5 or 6 months later and went to Norfolk.

Me: So when you went to Virginia Beach did you see him again? Did you look him up?

Hugh: No. He got out of the Navy.

Tina: My memories are a little vague. I realize now that it might be due to the fact that I didn’t know the language. We weren’t able to communicate very well.

[As an adult, this amazes me! The reality is that my parents married strangers! They hardly knew anything about each other! They couldn’t have! They could barely communicate!]

Hugh: Little by little we learned a word here and a word there.

Me: Yeah, ’cause you didn’t speak any Italian!

Hugh: None at all!

Tina: We had a small Italian-English, English-Italian dictionary. After we got married I went to the British School for 4 months. I was pregnant and then after I had you, I went another 4 months. In fact, I think I still have my notebooks from those courses! It was so difficult for me especially when they started giving dictation. I thought, “Dictation? How am I going to write in English??” You have to understand that I was a very timid girl, so shy! I don’t understand how I emerged from this shell. My father tried to discourage me from marrying. He would tell me, “It’s not like when you went to camp…”When I was ten years old I went to a camp in the mountains in Agerola above the Amalfi coast. I was supposed to stay for a month but after 10 days my parents came to visit me. I cried so hard that they finally agreed to bring me home. So my father reminded me that it wasn’t going to be like camp where after 10 days I came home. Once I was married I was going to go to America and I’d have to stay there! So part of it was the innocence of youth, and part was the novelty of everything and of course I was in love so I assured him that I knew what I was doing. My father tried to get Gianni, my brother, to talk some sense into me but he told my father, “Titina isn’t a little girl anymore. She has made her decision.” So I finally had to tell my father when Ugo told me that the Navy was going to have to do an investigation on my family background. 

Hugh: Back then you had to put in a request chit to get married.So I had to put in a request chit to the captain of our squadron VR-24 to get married. When I did, he asked where I met this girl. “You didn’t meet her in a bar?” “No, I didn’t meet her in a bar.”

Tina: I had never been in a bar!

Hugh: He approved it. And that’s when he told me, “Once I approve this, it’s going to go to the legal department and they are going to start an investigation on the family.” So I told Tina, 
“They are going to ask the family questions so you need to let them know that we are planning on getting married.”

Tina: So I told them at home. After that these men came to ask questions to the neighbors.

Hugh: Tina is sneaky. She told her mom and her mom told her father.

Tina: Yes, that’s true. I didn’t have the courage to tell my father. Papa’ was very severe. He didn’t want me to wear pants because only prostitutes wore pants. We are talking about the 60s. He was always worried about what people would think. I used to ask him, “Don’t you trust me? I have never done anything wrong… why do I need to be cataloged with these other girls?” And he would assure me that he trusted me but he always worried about what would people think. And I would say, “What do we care what people think? We can’t live our lives for what people may think!” This was how he thought though. So when they came to do the investigation, they didn’t come to our house. They asked questions of our neighbors. Part of their fear was that back then there were a lot of communists in Italy so they probably were worried about that.

Me: Oh yeah, this was right around the McCarthy era where they feared communism. We were smack in the middle of the Cold War.

Hugh: Oh, yeah! Most definitely!

Tina: I don’t know if they wanted to know if my family had been to jail. I’m not really sure what they were looking for. Spies? But they didn’t find anything wrong or strange so they approved it.

Hugh: I still have the request chit somewhere.

Tina: I had to do some blood tests too to see if our blood was compatible (at least that’s what they told me) and see if I had any diseases which of course I didn’t.

Hugh: But they didn’t know that. They had to be sure.

Below are some pictures mom and dad shared with me. Enjoy!

Look at those risque shorts! 1959
Look at those risque shorts! 1959
bathing beauty
Bathing beauty 1960
Date on the back: December 12, 1965 so they had only been dating a few months
Date on the back: December 12, 1965 so they had only been dating a few months
No date on the back but assuming it’s the same as the other beach ones
bernarda dad mom
Mom and dad with Bernarda on the left. She’s the reason my parents met!
Pompei August 23, 1966 Around the time they started talking about marriage. In this picture mom looks like my cousin Manuela.
Pompei August 23, 1966
Studio Sales Napoli Via Roma
Series Navigation<< Meeting my dad {Tuesdays with Tina, part 15 }Going on Dates {Tuesdays with Tina, part 17} >>

About Sheila @ Making the Most of Every Day

I'm a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher. I'm always behind on housework and paper pile sorting. I'm fond of this crazy life but not of melted cheese. I want to follow hard after God, making each day really count. I like to run, read, cook (and eat!). Thanks for joining along on my journey!

2 thoughts on “Meeting dad continued {Tuesdays with Tina, part 16}

  1. I am really enjoying reading “Tuesday’s with Tina”. Your Mom is amazing! Love hearing her story.

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