Wednesday, February 22, 2006

July 9, 1986 Marble, Swimming and Disco!

Here is the entry for my diary for July 9, 1986. "Today we went to the marble quarries and factories around Massa and Carrara. it was very beautiful. I wanted to buy so many things. I was so thirsty today from all the wine yesterday. All I bought was a couple of bangle bracelets. Then we went to La Spezia to swim at the beach there. There were lots of waves. I was a bit embarrassed at first. I lost my sunglasses thanks to a wave. We did not have any chairs or towels so we just sat on the sand. We had dinner at camp and then went to a disco. It was called "pop in". We all got one free drink. I got a beer. All the other drinks cost 8000 Lire!!! so expensive. They played lots of funky music. I bought a Negroni, which has campari, gin and vermouth in it. (Pretty strong stuff). The entrance to the disco had a lavendar hedge. I picked a sprig on the way home. They played The Cure at the disco and Alain danced to it. I sat with him in the bus on the way home..."

This was the first disco we went to. The next one was a few days later.

We got to see how they cut the huge chunks of marble with a saw that is constantly wet and the milky water that flows off the blocks. The shops were your typical souvenir ones, but then I was so impressionable. They had chess sets and animal scuptures in various sizes. Did you buy anything there? My bangles broke really quickly.

The disco was new and flashy. It was not very big, if I remember correctly. Not like the one a few days later. It had a large square bar in the disco and I sat there near Francesco Carpena, our "leader". It was loud and fun. I still have the sprig of lavender in my photo album.

Ok, time for others to post some comments about the discos. I am sure there are lots of good stories to tell. Ciao!

O Canada! Sandra Benninger.

Finally a camper that I have lots of stories about. Sandra Benninger, from Canada. She and I continued to the same family after the camp was over so we got to know each other very well. We have keep sporatic contact over the years. I love to hear from her. She is married to her High School sweetheart and has 2 beautiful children. She is a teacher and is training for a principal position. I am sure she will get it. I remember the first day I met Sandy. A group was talking and I joined them. I noticed right away that she spoke English more like me, so I asked what part of the US she was from. Bad move! She is from Canada and very proud of it. When we were with the family, whenever she said that she was from Canada, someone would always say "Isn't that part of the USA?" She would get so angry. I thought it was funny but she did not. "We have our own country, our own flag, our own talent." She was a good representative for Canada. She had little Canadian flag pins that she gave people. I have one. She also had stickers from Ontario, the Canadian province that she is from. Bryan Adams had a hit song then and they played it a lot on the radio. She always pointed out that he was Canadian.
When Sandy and I lived with the Passotti family at their house on Lago di Garda, we had a lot of fun. We shared a room and the first night, we were so tired that we slept until 3 in the afternoon the next day. The mom, Francesca, was so worried that we were ill or something. We had not slept much at the camp the last few nights so we were dead tired.
We would go exploring around the town of Toscalano/Maderno but we did not know how to get the gate open to the house, so we climbed it. Sandy got a nasty cut on her leg. She was always getting scratched or cut. She said that she can never forget Italy, she has all the scars to remind her.
Once we did not tell the family and we got on a bus to Salo. We wanted to go shopping. We had no idea what we were doing. We somehow got tickets to the bus and got on one. Then we didn't know how to make the bus stop where we wanted. We couldn't find a bell or buzzer anywhere. So we just got up and walked to the door when we wanted to get off. Funny. The Passotti family was very nice, it is just that they wanted to relax and lay by the pool and we only had 2 more weeks in Italy and wanted to explore, so we all did our thing and were happy. Here are some pictures of her.
There is one already of Sandy on the post of Peter Mitterhofer below. She is in the print shirt getting out of the bus. Here are some from our stay with the Passotti family. The daughter's name was Maria Vittoria Passotti and all of her female friends were away on holidays so she introduced us to all her male friends. The one pictured here was named Tarcizo. Please post your comments about Sandy. Sam, if you read this, love ya!

Friday, February 17, 2006


July 8th, 1986. We went to Reggio Emilia. Here is what I wrote in my journal for that day"Went to churches in Reggio Emilia today.

We were in the Church called St. Francisco. 7 foot tall carved wooden chairs lined the walls. Very beautiful. Went to the the Teatro Valli. Lots of gold loges. Cheese factory smelled really bad!! but very interesting. A big tub of yellow-white bubbling "water" got scooped up by two men with a big cloth. They fold the cloth over and stick it into a wooden ring. Then they stick it into a storage room with rack upon rack of of cheese. I made the mistake of touching one and my finger stunk for a week, I swear.:
Then we went to the Giglio factory which makes milk products, like yogurt and soft cheeses. We were very tired at this point and very hungry. Then we went to the Lombardini Factory. They were making lots of motors and things with boiling hot metal. We were running late as usual so we finally had lunch at the factory's canteen. We got a metal tray and went through a line. We did have a bottle of wine with our meal.Alain got one and shared it. He said that he told the guy that he was French and had to have wine with every meal. How clever! Terrible lunch. The wine was bad too.
We got back in the bus and ended up getting lost. There was a bell factory there so we visited it, although it was not planned. It was very old and primative. The bell tower was very loud..too loud. I played cards in the bus with Alain (France), Dany (Israel) and Kristin (Iceland). Got to Castelnuovo ne'Monte. I did not climb all the way to the top. I took lots of pictures there. We had a fun bus driver. We parked far from the restaurant for dinner. We had the Mr. Dickey show on the bus. There were just a few sandwiches (they did not plan for enough). I think it was a kind of winery. So there was lots of wine. We I had a bit of bread and lots of wine. Vicki (USA), Alain (France) and I drank a lot of wine!! After dinner, Alain chose another bottle and he sat with Vicki and me. We sat outside of the place and drank and talked about social life in our countries. I was very tired on the way home. I sat with Alain on the way home. I had my head on his shoulder and he held my hand. I was very happy. I heard him whisper "Margherita say something. Are you alright?" I was too tired to speak, but very happy. "

The factory day was a such a tiring day. We did so much walking and had so many tours. I can remember all of them fairly well. Even the one at night. I think it was a kind of winery and we were all ushered into a room where there were trays of small salami sandwiches and then tables of bottles of wine.

The rock formation at Castelnuovo was very beautiful especially after being inside in the factories so long. The actual name of the formation is La Pietra de Bismantova. It is very popular with rock climbers. We only went to the chappel and the lowest point. Here is a map of the rock.

Ok in the pictures: In front of the chappel at La Pietra de Bismantova are Sotiris (Greece) with Trine (Norway). The three people in front of the rock formation are Anat(Israel),

Mr. Luigi (Italy) and me! Standing in front of the many cases of wine, are from left to right: Carole(France), Kristin (Iceland), Judith (Switzerland), Tom (USA), Rolf (Netherlands) is drinking, Vicki(USA) ad Cheryl (USA).

Please comment on this day which I am sure everyone remembers. Remember to click on pictures to enlarge them.

Caroline Van Daele -- Belgium

Caroline is the next person in the Campo phone book. She and Isabelle(who is two posts down from this one) stayed together much of the time. At the beginning she hung out with the Dutch guys, Rolf and Aernout. I liked Caroline a lot. I hoped that we would be able to keep up contact after the camp but it did not happen. She was a lot of fun but also was a graceful person with a lot of dignity. I hope to find her. I did some sleuthing and found someone with that name in Belgium and will write to her. Anyone keep in contact? Let me know. Here are a few pictures of her, she is also to be seen one below with Isabelle Dietiens. The darker picture is taken inside of the museum in Florence. She is the person furthest to the left. The other is in Castelnovo ne' Monte, a huge rock in the middle of nowhere. We stopped there and hiked it a bit. I have more pictures of it. I will post later. She is all in white and sitting on Peter's lap. Actally the rock is called La Pietra Di Bismantova. one good web site for a map and more info is

Friday, February 03, 2006

July 8, 1986 Monday, Market and Silly Olympics

"It was Market day today. I went to the Bagnone market with Annie (in photos with dark hair), Patricia (with the yellow dress) and Alain (all are French). I took many photos. I didn't buy anything. We walked to the Castello di Bagnone.

This afternoon we were separated into teams and we would have a "silly olympics". I was on the team called squirrels. Danny (Israel) and I did the 3 legged race and won. Later we went to Ponte Vecchio restaurant to drink and have pizza again. "

There are other comments in the journal but I am trying to be sensitive to the fact that we are all adults now, some are married and some of the really stupid things we did then might not need be repeated. But I hope that people start leaving comments and stories and memories on this page. I think I will need to spend some time marketing the site to the campo members. I may need to send a batch of post cards off. Please spread the word and please leave some comments!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

next stop: Belgium -- Isabelle Dieltiens

The next person listed in the Campo Italia 1986 buzzbook is Isabelle Dieltiens from Belgium. In the pictures above she is the one with the white shirt and dark blue sweater over her shoulders. Ah, we were all so young! The Belgian girls were both very friendly. I am sorry to say that I have not had any contact with either of them. Now I am trying to find them via the internet.

I have addresses of all the campo members from the book we were given at the end of the trip. Most are still valid since the parents still live there. If anyone wants more info please contact me and we can try to make a connection.