Wednesday, August 30, 2006


For those of you who have been reading the blog since the beginning, there are some major updates. Guido has provided two great stories. One about his personal experience with the search for Ulf and one about the origin of the toga party. I have also posted a picture he sent. Look for this all in July's archives. Or click on the links below.

toga party link is
Search party link is
photo of the fab 5 is

I have gotten more pictures from him and also lots from Nikki (UK) I will updating this as things are sent to me. Keep sending your ideas! ciao. Baci!

Second night with the Host Family on Garda

Here is the entry I have for my journal dated "July 22, 1986. woke up at 9. made breakfast then layed by the pool and read a bit. Sandy and I walked to town. They have lots of shops. Fixed lunch for us. It was simple: a big tomato salad and ice cream for dessert. ha. what a combination. We went to visit some friends of Maria Victoria's. They gave us espresso and told us that this was real coffee not like the kind you find in America. It was really strong but good. We went to Salo to do some shopping. I finally bought a pair of pants so that I had some too. White ones from Benetton. We ate dinner in a place called Caprice Bar & Pizzeria. I got a Pizza Siciliano which was cheese, tomatoes and black olives (with the pits still in them) I had a huge cappucino later. We went home to watch TV. Planet of the Apes and Simon & Simon in Italian of course. "

I can remember when we ordered pizza the first time in Italy. One of the Tommys ordered pepperoni pizza. In the USA pepperoni is a style of spicey sausage, like a salami. Well in Italy if you order a pepperoni pizza, you get pizza with lots of peppers, in the us we call these peppers pepperoncini. Anyway, talk about shock when you get that pizza. We quickly learned to call it Salami pizza. I was of course quite flattered to know that your basic cheese pizza is called Pizza Margherita, named not after me but after the first queen of Italy. alas....! there was also a commercial that played on TV a lot. It went "porta casa Margherita." It means something like "take Margherita home." In this case "margherita" was the name of a washing machine.

Here is a picture of me sitting on the hammock that overlooked the lake. It was really heavenly at that house.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Sandra from Canada has sent in an update to her blog. Check out her comments on her page in the archives from February.

Annie Dozieres

Annie Dozieres-- my first friend at the camp. She is from a mountainous area of France called Varrennes Sur Allier. She did not speak a lot of English but enough for us to communicate. We hiked the woods surrounding the camp many times. She was very athletic and slim. Annie was a quiet, gentle person and I am so glad we became friends. We did write after the camp. the last I heard she had moved to Paris and was working for the government there, but this has been many years now. I have only a few pictures of her and they are not very clear. Does anyone have any info about Annie? Annie, a bientot!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Journey Continues

After the official camp was over, we all went to home or to host families. No other campo members were near us. Sandra (Canada) and I went to stay at the summer house of the Passotti Family in Toscalano Maderno on Lake Garda. All the entries from here out will be about the next two weeks with the host family. Please send me email or post comments here about your experience right after the camp.
Here's the journal entry I have for Juy 21, 198: "We slept until 3 in the afternoon! From 930 the night before! The mom of the family told us she was so worried. She kept sneaking into our room because she thought we had died. We were both just so tired. We layed by their pool. I finally had time to read some of the books I had brought. So I started in on The Dumbwaiter by Pinter. They were taking us out to dinner so I borrowed a pair of pants from Sandy since I had not brought any long pants with me and it was cool in the evenings. We went to dinner in the next town over. The owners were friends of the family. First we sat by the lake and ate olives in little bowls. Then I had a huge pizza. Did a bit of writing when we got back and went to bed."

I think what helped us sleep so well is that the room had these fantastic shutters that blocked every tiny bit of light. The room was so dark. Sandy and I shared a room. The house was on a high hill above the town. It had an excellent view of the Lake. They had a built-in pool and so we swam there often.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Alain Roumilhac --Photos

this is one of my favorite pictures of Alain. I already published once at the beginning of the blog in January. You can just barely see his grey and yellow boat shoes.

In this first picture from Flag Raising Day, you can see from left to right Sheila (Germany), Angela (USA), Resat (Turkey), Alain (France), Cheryl (USA) and Vicki (USA).

Here is a picture of Alain and me at the animal reserve near Pisa.

And yet another picture of Alain from Flag Raising Day.

This one came to me from Nikki (UK). Thanks Nikki. It was a part of a bigger picture that I will use on another post. It is of Alain and me in Florence.

Alain Roumilhac --France

Alain Roumilhac. He was a bit taller than me, wore his dark blonde hair short and spiky with a little tail and had eyes the color of gold. He was unlike anyone I had ever met. I can remember the crowd on the dance floor at the disco, which made space to watch and admire him dancing to The Cure. The first time I saw him, he was near the door to the "main" enterance to the campo building. I did not know his name or nationality then and we did not speak. Something inside me said that I needed to meet this aloof, confident man who smoked hand-rolled cigarettes. It was my mission over then next few days to be in his presence as much as possible -- table tennis, cards (he laughed and cringed at my French pronounciation of 21), hikes, volleyball. He finally noticed me too. My biggest mistake was to separate at the end of camp. The vision of him through the back window as we drove away haunts me to this day. We corresponded for 18 months after the camp ended until his fatal letter in February 1988. I went into a panic and acted like a huge fool. I am so sorry. Alain - playfull, righteous, sensitive and unique. I lost my heart to you and then I lost you. He sang this song to me one night on the stage at the camp --our song. It can say things much better than I am doing.

"You Are My World"by the Communards (Somerville/Coles)
There is nothing boy that can stop my course;
I will hold you tight never let you go.
Tomorrow's party will never end,
Like a bud in spring our love will
bloom and grow.
Your eyes to me are precious stones
On a face that's made of a solid gold,
When I hold your hand I want to cry
And your loving arms to protect me from the cold .
You are my world . You are my world.
The soul inside now belongs to you.
I'm drowing in a love so deep.
We will overcome those ups and downs,
So happiness is forever ours to keep.
I will follow you to the end of time.
I will be the blood flowing through your veins.
I will ride with you till the end of the line.
You will be my everything; my world.
You are; you are; you are; you are,
Oh boy; you are my world.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sorry about the delay and the spam

Hi. We've been gone on holiday for the last few weeks and so I have not had time to post anything new. It will take me a few days to get back into the routine. Also, suddenly we had all kinds of comments that were actually spam and spyware. Sorry about that. I have turned on the comment moderation so that no comments will appear unless I say they are ok. That will keep the spammers away. Those comments were just too general to be real. I clicked on a few of them and now ran a syware check. Loaded! google offers a great free spy and add checker called Ad-Aware SE. You might want to install it and run it every night. It is amazing how much is hidden in harmless looking pages. Just go to and click on the link that says "More" Listed is a link called "pack". In it is some wonderful free software like a virus protector and the spyware killer. Worth your time and disc space. Back to Campo blogging very soon.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The last day together -- breaking up the group

Sunday July 20th, 1986. What a terrible day that was! My journal entry: "I cried all morning. Aernout (Netherlands) and the gang left. I helped Tommy (USA) pack. He was in no shape to do it. We had breakfast. Alain (France) and I opened a bottle of sparkling wine and drank it. it was a Pinot-Chardonnay. We exchanged gifts with people, giving personal items to each other to remember each other. The daughter of my host family arrived. We loaded the car and waited around. We had lunch at the camp but I could not eat. I cried a lot. damn. No more because I will never forget.
We got to the house which was in the town of Toscalano Maderno along Lake Garda. They gave Sandy (Canada) and me dinner. They had guests over but we went to bed by 9:30. We were so exhausted. "

I can remember that day so well. Everyone was either going home or going to a host family. Slowly people were just not there anymore. Leslie had forgotten his good suit so I took it with me and mailed it to him. We were helping each other pack and trying to write in each other's phone books. No one got much sleep the night before. The party went on until we dropped and the next day came too soon. It was so hard to say good-bye.

On that note, I have already gotten several email from you guys. Some are asking about a reunion. I am very happy about that. I would love to help plan one but we need to think seriously about it and find out how many? will spouses/kids be coming too? how long do you want to meet? How close to Bagnone do you want to stay? It is a long way away but if we have some people who want to meet and can do it, then I am willing. Think about it and let me know your ideas.

I will continue to write about the different campo members but from here on the journal entries will be about my stay with the host family. I don't know where everyone went. I know Francesco and Elena took several people home with them. Here is a group shot of everyone while we were in La Spezia. Click to enlarge it.

Hana Suominen --Finland

Hanna. She was a lovely person. She was young and shy but I can remember her. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. I don't have many pictures of the girls from Finland. Here is a good one of Hanna. It was taken at the wildlife reservation near Pisa. She did respond to the book I made for the 10th anniversary. She was then at the Good Morning hotel in Turku.
I will try to find her. Oops! It looks like there is not longer a Good Morning Hotel in Turku. I don't know if they were bought out by another chain?
Also in her last letter to me, she had gotten married. She is now Hanna Kuiko.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Saturday--- the last bash -- bonfire -- our last night

This was our last night at the camp. Saturday July 19, 1986. I wrote : " We went to the museum about Stelle statues in Poggibonsi. It was very interesting but a small place. They provided us with sandwiches. The town was so old and crumbly. I love the stone houses with their red roofs. Ulf was in the hospital. I think someone said he got shingles. Whatever that is. He got sick several days ago. We stopped at the hospital on the way back to camp. He is going to get to come to camp in Bagnone again next year since he missed so much this time. Back at camp things are getting sad because we know that this is it..the end. Vicki and I went to town to buy some booze. There was a lot of alcohol at the camp that night. There was a big fire and I drank a lot. Genever gin, jagermeister, wine. I was very drunk.
Earlier that day, Alain(France) and I went to visit Mr. Luigi at his house in Bagnone. He has a beautiful house with lots of flowers and antiques. He has one daughter who married Bruno Grandi's son. yikes! Mr. Luigi gave me a rose from his garden. I like him very much. He likes us kids and gets up and dances with us."
I still have that rose. it is drier than dust and very crumpled. Mr. Luigi passed away several years ago, according to Francesco Carpena.
This picture of Rolf (Netherlands) asleep was taken by Ozlem (Turkey). He sent it to me. I think it was taken on this last night or early the next day.
Sorry but I was mixed up. The museum was not in Poggibonsi, but in Pontremoli. The picture of the statues above is from the official website of the town.
I get goosebumps thinking about that night. It was a wild celebration. We all drank so much. It was a mix of emotions, a lot of them sad. People were just wandering around the grounds of the camp offering drinks to everyone. There was a lot of music. How did that mattress get into the trees?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Raija Pystenen -- Finland

Raija. I can remember her hair. She had shoulder length hair that was very curly. I remember her as being one of the only brown haired people from Scandinavia. She wrote in my phone book, "I like you because you smile a lot. Have a nice life." About 4 years after our trip, she did another Campo Italia in Bagnone but she said it was nothing like ours.
She told me "in our camp in 1986, there were a lot of different people but we were still a united group. That made Campo Italia 1986 so perfect." She is 100% right. She was working as a secretary in a large company in Finland. I have sent an email there and hope she gets it. Here are a few pictures of her. Most of them are cut from a larger group shot. Sorry about the quality of some of these pictures. They are so grainy. In the picture where she has the white tank top, what is around her neck? It looks like a big pink key? I seem to remember something that happened when we sat at the municipal building in Rovereto. Was she given the key to the city? Someone help refresh my memory!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Foggy Day on Lake Garda

My journal entry for July 18, 1986 is as follows: " Had breakfast at the hotel then when to Riva del Garda. We all got on a boat and cruised around the lake. It was very cold and windy. There was a lot of fog on the lake. I wore Alain's "originals" jacket all day. He had to stay inside the boat at one of the tables and re-write his essay in French. Ah! la vache! The essay. It took him the whole cruise. There was not much to see outside, it was so foggy. We landed in Sirmione. I bought some strawberry ice cream at a stand near the parking lot. Dany (Israel) touched a piece of coconut that they had in a sort of fountain. The man screamed at him saying that he had to buy it since he touched it. We made the long bus trip back to the camp. That night everyone was restless. Lots of people in each other's rooms. We all went to bed late...again."

I remember that cruise. It was a big disappointment. You could not see anything. It lasted quite a long time. I think we just sat in the dining area and played cards or talked. in these pictures you can see the pipes running up the mountains near Riva del Garda. Then there was a row of sailboats in the fog. I also provided a map of Lago di garda. We stayed in Mori/Rovereto just northwest of the lake and got on the boat in Riva. We got off in Sirmione but we did not visit the Roman ruins there. I did visit it later and they are wonderful. If you ever get the chance to see and do that. The path to the ruins is lined with a hedge of rosemary and olive trees. then the ruins are right at the ocean on a point. There are fantastic views all around as you wander through the ruins. Ok, that is my travel tip for the day! Ciao.