martedì 19 agosto 2008

Caution Cortona Can be Addictive!

As some of you may know-Carlotta's friend Jeanette is one of the examples of the phenomenon of Cortona Addiction. Jeanette arrived in Cortona in 1986-felt she had arrived to her "heart homeplace" and has never really lived anywhere else since. But Jeanette is just one of many who over the years has found a "Heart Homeplace" here.

Someone who may not be well known to the masses, but definitely known to the locals is Annie- for right around 20 years this now retired professor from the rural midwest has come to live exotic Tuscan summers.

Never one to have need of luxurious creature comfort, Annie arrives every Spring (and now that she has retired in the Fall and sometimes Winter) like a rare and welcome migrant bird to perch at the Convent of the nuns of Santa Margherita, her signature floppy cloth hat and nautical style booty bag in tow. Carlotta counts her among her friends(even if she sleeps at the competitor's) . Annie is practical and provident-she once explained that the simple tunics she sports are the most comfortable garments she has found and therefore using her skills as a seamstress has copied that pattern and replaces them for herself when they become worn- her travel bag as well (fashioned from copying the pattern of a wool bag used by shepherd children on the isle of Crete which she had purchased in the 1970's during an archaeological dig there). Her wristwatch, is a reliable mechanical Timex-she has purchased another 12 which she keeps on hand for when the one she has expires and hopes that she's stocked up that way for the rest of her days.

Annie arrives year after year-many times her arrival is announced in advance by the big box of books she sends ahead to be savored, analyzed and then passed on to the appropriate recipient of the community of ex-pats here. The Casa Chilenne library has already been enriched with some of her gifts.
Over the years Annie has built a relationship of respect and co-habitation with the nuns. Although she considers herself an extremely handicapped student of Italian, Annie has managed to learn to recognize a few words each year and in the last 2 years feels that she has overcome a language learning obstacle. Armed with her small Italian vocabulary she has even taken on a few chores for the sisters. Each morning she walks to the Caribinieri station to consign the guest registration forms, stops for her USA Today and Herald Tribune , her newspapers are thoroughly analyzed over the morning's cappuccino and brioche then passed on to appropriate parties.
Some mornings its off for a walk through the park to the swimming pool to keep her old knee injury pain at bay and in good working shape, and over the years there's probably no one better to consult about some of the best foot paths to take to discover the beauty of Cortona inside and outside the walls.

Annie's adventures aren't limited to Cortona with past excursions to archeaological digs in various parts of the world and mediterranean-however, she always comes back to Cortona and we're glad that she does return to reclaim her place in our community.

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