On Life and Love after50 eNewsletter May 14 2021
by Columnist Tom Blake
“Where do I begin?” was the instrumental theme of the 1970 film Love Story. In January 1971, Andy Williams’ version was released. The first four words of Andy’s rendition are also “Where do I begin?” It is one of my favorite songs of all time. There is a link to Andy singing the song at the end of today’s eNewsletter.
The son popped into my head this week when I received two emails almost simultaneously. And because of those two emails, I didn’t know how to begin this column.
The first email’s subject line caught my attention: “Ciao from Milan.” Greta and I have spent several days in Milan and we love that city so I opened the email.
The email was from a woman named Annalisa, which in itself, is a beautiful name. Annalisa wrote, “I always read you eNewsletters. I am a 69-year-old Italian woman. I have been alone for 12 years since my ex-husband left me for another woman. Our family has suffered a lot.
“I do not speak English well, but I can make myself understood. To write this letter, I am using a translation app so excuse me if some words are improperly used.
“I am looking for a mate who is an American citizen. I’ve been online for 10 years and haven’t found anybody desirable. I am disappointed with the online dating sites.
“You have a lot of acquaintances. You probably know of older men who are lonely like I am. I am looking for a widower aged 67-77 years old who is intelligent, unattached, cultured, and socially active. I reside in Milan and I’d like the gentleman to visit me here. I will host him.
“I do not want a divorced man for the reason that I have suffered and I’ve seen the sufferings of children and families from divorce. I prefer a widower without children for a serious and loving relationship.
I hope you can help me.”
My first reaction was: Doesn’t Annalisa know I’m not a matchmaker? My second reaction: “Wow, this is incredible. A Champ who lives in Milan Italy is reaching out to us. And my third reaction: Annalisa probably doesn’t understand that there are many Champs who live in the USA and Canada who would like to meet a quality older man. Hence, I think Annalisa has competition and a challenge on her hands.
I promptly responded: “I received your email. I need a little time to think about it. I will get back to you.
“Did you say you are willing for the man to come to your country and stay for a while? What about the pandemic, is Italy allowing foreigners into the country?
“Thanks for writing. Your email is one of the most interesting I’ve received in my 26 years of writing columns and newsletters.”
Within a minute after sending my response to Annalisa, another email arrived. It was from Champ Carmen (Carm to me), who lives in Barra de Navidad, Mexico. He and I were high school classmates and have remained friends for 60+ years. Carm was featured in this eNewsletter a few months ago.
Carm wrote: “I’m toying with the idea of selling the place (in Mexico) and moving to Italy for the final few years.
“Plan B is to rent out the place for a few months (would have to be Nov.-April — tourist season here) and spending that time in Italy to test the waters. But that’s wintertime in Italy so I couldn’t do the north that I haven’t seen yet. Do you think I could do it on $2,000/month?”
I read Carm’s email in disbelief. Italy? What a coincidence. I wondered if he and Annalisa might meet in person someday.
I wrote Carm back and mentioned Annalisa and described her email.
Long story short. Within 24 hours of me opening those two emails, Annalisa and Carm had exchanged emails and photos with each other. The thought of them meeting in person wasn’t as far-fetched as I first thought.
And what if a relationship formed? And if they ever married, I hope they’d play “Where Do I Begin?” at their celebration. Maybe the NY Times would want to cover the event (Tom is smiling).
When I mentioned this story to Greta, she said: “Let’s return to Milan.”
Milan was in the news on Tuesday. The world-renowned La Scala opera house reopened after a seven-month closure due to Covid.
La Scala Opera House in Milan
(photo by Tom 2016)
The link to Andy Williams singing “Where Do I Begin?” is below.
Andy Williams singing Where do I begin?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUrxm4z9I-c