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The Blog of Photographer Steven Gray

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A letter posted too late.

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I took some time this evening and wrote a letter to a very kind, older Italian couple whom I met on a train between Faenza and Bologna two years ago.

I was an American kid who spoke no functional Italian; they were a retired couple in their middle sixties who shared my train compartment. "I work in the trains for twenty years," Renato told me in his scant but earnest English, "now, I rest!" He and his wife, Lena, were on their way to eat lunch at the staff commissary in Bologna where he would always eat when he worked as a train conductor. They invited me to lunch with them, and we had a wonderful couple of hours together eating lasagna and green salad before I went on to Venice and they went back home to Faenza. They saw me to the platform to make sure I boarded the correct train.

I have had their address in my journal for two years. This evening, I was informed by my father of the recent earthquake in Bologna, strong enough to be felt as far as Venice and Verona. I will post my letter tomorrow to see if my "temporary Italian grandparents" are alright.

It's times like these that I really hate my own apathy.  I should have been writing to them since I returned home two years ago.