Surprisingly when I got home to the hotel that evening, dreading the thought of telling Lynn that I would not be home as much as I thought I would be, the conversation went rather well. I found out later that she had talked to another spouse that knew about the schedule. I was very apologetic but I really didn’t need to be. She was actually happy about the schedule. You need to understand that 2 week in / 2 week out was a better schedule than 6 months in and 6-8 months gone. Short bouts of being apart were better than long extended bouts of being gone. Plus with her being there in Italy she could follow the ship to what ever port that we were going to and stay there, not that she ever did but she could have.
The Apartment Hunt
Finding an apartment in Italy was not the same as finding an apartment in America. First off the language barrier was significant. Second of all they don’t do things the same way. It is not like they advertise in the paper or put for rent signs out. Most landlords work through certain agencies, that they have worked with for generations, and the agencies don’t talk to one another. I am sure with the advent of the internet and advances in technology it has changed a lot, but at the time (1980) this is how it worked. We also had the strike of having a pet with us. The lady at the navy agency that we were working with suggested that we sell or get rid of the dog. I am so glad that Lynn was not there when she said that. I am not so sure she, that agency person that is, would have survived the meeting. Over the next month we went to see them at various times, she was right though about having a pet. There were several places that would have taken us that didn’t because we had the dog.
The way that the Navy would reimburse us for the hotel was a pain in the rear. Keeping the receipts for all of the money spent along with all of the meals that we had to eat out was a pain the butt, but after a fashion they did pay it all back.
During this time I went on my first outing (I am going to call them outings because it really wasn’t a deployment) and it wasn’t that far away. The Admiral wanted to show up in Naples for a festival. Looking back on it we did that a lot. If the Admiral wanted to visit something for fun we would schedule the ship to be there. It also helped the local economy. Get 1500 sailors to come to your port during a festival and we spent money.
Anyway when I got back Lynn was very excited, just the day before the agency called and told her (through our friend at the front desk) that she had found the perfect apartment for us.
When we went to see the agency person, the landlord was there with her. They had pictures of the apartment with them. From the way they were talking they wanted us to make a decision based on the photos. I was not to comfortable with that. You never know the trust worthiness of the person. I insisted on looking at the place. The landlord was actually a very nice person and volunteered to take us to the apartment. He spoke a little english, so the agent decided to let us go. When we got there I as actually very happy with the apartment. We were on the top floor of a three story building, it had two bedrooms, the balcony was actually larger than the ones that we had seen so far. The furniture (we had left ours back in the states) was nice. All in all it was a keeper. The marble tile floors and the wonderful view were the sealers.
While writing this I wanted to see if I could find any pictures of that time of my life. Lynn took most of them when we got divorced but a few years ago I found some that were tucked away in my stuff. This picture is on the main rooms balcony. It is one of the only pictures I have of that time in my life
Yes this is me at the age of 20. As you can see I am in the process of losing my hair. I had a wicked widows peak at the time and it just got worse as time went on.
But this is one of the views that sold me on the apartment. I loved the balcony and I loved the view of the hills. The building you see across the street is a school. I didn’t really like that but hey….
Once we saw the apartment, I took the lead and said we would take it. The only downside I saw was that it was on the top floor and that we would have to carry things to the apartment. Luckily the Navy would have to bring our stuff to us. We had them pack us up and move the stuff over. I didn’t want to take the furniture because I was under the impression that apartments were smaller than in the states and it wouldn’t fit. Besides we really didn’t have that much anyway.
I found out later that there was one more downside. On the other side of the apartment was a clock tower for town. It rang every 15 minutes. After a while you learned to ignore it. Getting used to it was a pain in the, well you know.
So we had an Apartment… The dog was happy to be out of the Hotel… We had great landlords… All in all a wonderful beginning to our time in Italy.
Shopping – a whole new experience… How do you explain Honey to a shopkeeper???