I arrived in New York via Pakistani International Airlines from Paris. The plane was quite a bit behind schedule, and I missed my connecting flight to D.C. I called Ed to tell him, and he seemed rather upset. I said, "Well, at least, welcome me home!" He did. When I finally made it home three hours later, I discovered why he was so upset. He had ordered a big, dark blue limousine to pick me up. He sat for over an hour in that limo, excitedly awaiting my homecoming. (He was consoled, however slightly, by the champagne from the limo's bar.) I was disappointed that I missed it. But I was thrilled with the thoughtfulness of it.
I was glad to be home to hug Liza and get into the swing of things again. I did miss my other home though. With each arrival of a box from Firenze, my excitement about my adventure rose again. The rug finally arrived three months later. I was becoming concerned that it was lost. We put it under my grandmother's round, oak dining table. It was again
About three months later, I got a call from Arnette Zerbe saying she and her husband, Anthony Zerbe, were coming to Washington for Jenny's debut with Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theater! They wanted to take me and Ed to dinner and to their daughter's debut. We invited them over for drinks before the performance. How exciting! Arnette and I had a delightful time recalling our adventures in Italy. We all enjoyed getting to know each other. Anthony truly was 'Saint Anthony'—very special.
|Anthony and Arnette Zerbe today.|
Jenny performed flawlessly. Afterwards, she and a few of her friends from the ballet troupe joined us for dinner. Off we went, packed like sardines in my old Jag to the American Cafe on Capitol Hill. One of her ballet friends was Cynthia Gregory—the Prima Ballerina Assoluta!
She's a very down-to-earth woman and a lot of fun. We all had a ball. Baryshnikov was to come along but got another offer. I asked Jenny if she had enjoyed the telegram from the Parsons' Italian trip group. She said, "Yes. So you're the one who sent that!"
When we were about to leave the restaurant, the waiter said to Anthony as he brought him back his charge card, “We were all wondering exactly who you were. You looked familiar, but we couldn't quite place you. Thank goodness you carry the American Express Card.” (Oddly enough, it was Cynthia Gregory, not Anthony, who would do one of the ‘Thank Goodness You Carry the American Express Card' television commercials a few months later.) As we were walking out, one of the waiters came up to Cynthia and told her how much he had enjoyed her performance the night before.
Many times since my return I have wistfully thought about
my Italian adventure.