Thursday, April 21, 2011



The next day, I took the Numero 5 vaporetto around Venice. It’s the only one that circumnavigates the entire city. It took us through the Arsenal, which was very interesting for its munitions factories and shelters and its lion gates. Another stop was an island called St. Michele. One doesn’t casually walk around this small island because it’s the cemetery for Venezia! Stravinsky had just been buried there along with Sergio Diaghlev, Canova, Robert Browning and Ezra Pound. Then the boat stopped at Murano, the glass-blowing island. I thought it would continue on; but when we made that stop, they made everyone get off. I hate the Venetian glass designs so I wasn’t interested in touring the shops. So I had lunch at a very pleasant floating trattoria. Then I continued on around Venezia in another Numero 5. This part was interesting because you see the industrial area, shipping warehouses, and the living areas for the non-wealthy Venetians!

Ran into Massimo on my way home. He invited me to dinner on our last night. I was really surprised and delighted as I had grown to like him a lot. (That made three dinner invitations; how was I going to stay on my fast?) I later found out from Arnette that she and several other students strongly recommended that he try to hire me next year as a teacher! Back to the Florian for Caffe Hag.

Around three in the afternoon, I stopped by Missoni again. Sure enough, they had brought the shirt from the Danieli. The shirt was made out of cotton in a rainbow plaid and was see-through. 
It was a perfect fit, so I decided to buy it!—88,000 Lira! Boy, I’d have to keep my slim figure now! Then I tried on beautiful pants. They fit perfectly. They’re made of 100% wool, basically dark avocado-green with blue, orange, and yellow nubbies.
They looked great on me. While I was trying them on, a rather large, matronly American lady came out of the dressing room in a beautiful silk dress that was beautifully multi-colored. I said, “Bello” to her. She just grinned from ear to ear, and later bought it. Then, I said to the saleslady, “What would I wear with these pants, a solid-colored shirt?” She said, “He (meaning the designer father of the family enterprise) designed a sweater/jacket to go with this.” She got it and put it on me. Well, I was transformed and transfixed! I looked beautiful.

   ---LIKE A MODEL!!

Several people oohed. The sweater/jacket is like a quilted, tapestry rug: very thick, long various length pile making various size rectangles in beautiful blues, greys and greens. 
Maybe clothes do make the man? The saleslady then showed me that it was reversible to a solid navy, quilted, waterproof jacket—super. I also looked great in it that way. I never really thought of myself as good-looking, but this almost did it. 

I knew the jacket would be expensive, but when she said 920,000 ($750), I gasped. She showed me some other (just) sweaters, but none came up to the elegance of the first one. I debated (not too long) and decided to get it and the shirt and the pants! The bill was over a million! My first really good clothes. Ed had told me when I left for Italy to get some nice clothes. He said I was beginning to look ‘frumpy.’—not anymore! I took them to the hotel to show Arnette but she wasn’t there, so I showed several others who oohed and aahed.

I called Arnette from my hotel later and invited her to go for a drink on her last evening. It had been rainy all day and was kind of on the cool side, so I wore the sweater/jacket! With my navy pants (my Missoni pants were being altered) and a light-colored, blue shirt. I looked terrific! As I was walking towards the group’s hotel, several people turned and looked. I wondered if there were thinking, “What’s that guy doing in a sweater?” Or, could it have possibly been, “Doesn’t he look neat?” It was too cool to be in short sleeves, but the sweater/jacket was actually a bit warm. (I had told the lady in Missoni, “Now we need snow!” She enjoyed that.) Arnette was molto impressed. She looked lovely, too: long dress and a long, pretty shawl. We went to sit in the Piazza San Marco and listen to the orchestras. 

As we were approaching a café, a young Italian who was taking pictures turned around, saw us and took our picture, making an OK sign with his hand! Then we sat down and had beautiful, large Bellinis. Two waiters brought them, a very distinguished one with white hair, and a young apprentice. After ordering, the older waiter pointed to my sweater/jacket and said, “Quanti?” (“How much?”)

“Tsk, tsk. You’re not supposed to ask that,” Arnett injected.

Molto Bellinis,” I retorted. We all laughted. Then I showed the waiter the Missoni label. He gesticulated that he knew.

He persisted, “un milione?”

I said, “No,” and held up nine fingers.

“Oh,” he said, “Novecentromila.” Then he added, throwing up his hands, “Eh! Un milione!”

A few minutes later Arnett said, “Don’t turn around now, but several waiters have gathered behind us, three rows back.” They were talking about the sweater/jacket and gesticulating.

 ---What fun!!

We had dinner with Mario, Anna and Fernanda for Arnette’s farewell dinner. Anna admired my sweater/jacket so much that I had to let her wear it. She looked smashing and played like she was going to keep it. Later, we had another drink at the hotel and said our farewells. 
I hugged Arnette saying, “I’m just going to say ‘Ciao, not ‘Arrivederci. (‘See Ya’ instead of ‘Goodby’.) The day before she has said she wanted me to meet her ‘wonderful’ children. I was already looking forward to our continued friendship. Massimo happened by and announced that the schedule for tomorrow had changed, and we were going to go to Murano early the next morning. Shucks! I’m always a day ahead. I was chagrined, because I had wanted to see what was on the original schedule.


maria said...

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Don Voth said...

Thanks Maria, My trip was so special. Thank you for sharing. I'll look at your blog.

Ron said...

This story sounds VERY FAMILIAR. Have I read it somewhere before?

Don Voth said...

Ron, It typed it!!!! Thank you so much!!

Caliban said...

I'm so glad you bought the sweater. It looks heavenly. You would have forever regretted not buying and you would never have seen another one like again.

Don Voth said...

I am too. Yes, it's unique! I still get a kick out of wearing it.