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NOW IT CAN BE TOLD!--Chapter 7: Rome       DO 2736!       3/91
--Story Time with Grandpa!

       1. (Techi: Amen! Thank You Jesus! Praise You Lord! Lord Jesus, thank You so much for the time that we have now for our Story. We really pray that You'll make it fruitful, Jesus, & please bless Grandpa as he shares these things with us, in Jesus' name. Please bless & anoint him! Thank You Jesus!) Praise the Lord! We're on our first trip from the U.S. to Europe which began in September, 1970, & so far we're into October & we've gotten as far as Rome!

       Arrival in Rome!

       2. The first thing we did was to go out & hunt for a place to stay. We found a pension which was a beautiful big old mansion with marble stairs--on which I later broke my little finger! This charming girl ushered us into this one big room, a huge room with a high vaulted ceiling! It was an old mansion, so it was rather elegant, though old. We had a bedroom with a double bed, a "matrimonio" (married couple's bed), & we were very happy to find it!

       3. So we unloaded our stuff, took our key & went right out to pick up our big suitcase. (Techi: Oh yes, the one that you'd sent ahead a month ago?) Yes, the one that we'd checked through. It had been there a month, so they'd already taken it out of the Check Room & sent it to the Storage Department, the Lost & Found, etc. So we went there to get it & they looked around awhile & they finally found it.

       4. And there it was--but with no belt strap on it. (Techi: Why?) Somebody had stolen it. (Techi: Why would they have stolen the belt strap & not the suitcase?) Honey, when you're poor, everything is valuable! They couldn't steal a suitcase very well because then there would have been a big to-do about it, see, because the suitcase was insured. But they could remove something like a belt strap without anybody even knowing it had had a belt strap. Savvy? Somebody on the way between Paris & Rome had stolen the strap. (Techi: What would they have done?--Just sold it or something?) It's possible. The thief could've worn it, or used it to strap up another suitcase, or bind things on his bicycle. There are all kinds of things you could use a good belt for!

       5. Anyhow, I asked the man what happened to the belt, & he said, "Belt? Did it have a belt strap?" He acted very innocent, & maybe he was. But anyhow, we opened the suitcase & we were very thankful to find that nothing was missing from the inside. (Techi: Thank God!) They may have taken the belt off & tried to open it, but it was locked & we had the keys! So we checked inside & there was nothing missing & we were very happy! We gave the man a little tip & caught a taxi back to our hotel. As I recall we had walked there, but we couldn't walk back carrying that big heavy suitcase.

       6. We took it up to our room, shoved it under the bed, prayed over the room, locked the door & went out for a stroll to find a place to eat. And on our way we heard organ music--what sounded like organ music. It was coming from a little park, so we started walking toward it. It turned out to be a big accordion with a microphone which amplified the music, so it sounded like an organ. It was beautiful! So we sat down in a little sort of a tea garden there & ordered tea while we listened. It was really beautiful, classical music, you know, really good music. After we were done with our tea we got up & walked over right by the organist--that's about what you'd have to call him because that's what it sounded like--& we gave him a tip. I think it was a thousand Lire bill, which was roughly a Dollar at the time. Coins were very hard to find.

       7. At the time, the money had decreased in value because of inflation, so the Italian government decided they weren't even going to make metal coins any more. Because unlike many countries, like the U.S., where the coin is worth more than the metal, there was such inflation in Italy that the metal was now worth more than the coin! So people were keeping the coins! They weren't willing to give them up!

       8. We had a very difficult time finding change in Italy. They had these 100-Lire coins & they aren't worth much more than 10 U.S. cents--when you could get'm, that is! So they always give you your change in hundreds.--Ha! And that's when we first found out using a phone could be a problem, because first we had to go around begging from cashier to cashier, "Could you change my bill?" And then you'd get a mixture of coins & "gettonis," special little coins that were for telephones. Anyway, thank God we didn't often have to make a phone call, at least not then, & if we needed to make a call, we could do it from the hotel & charge it to our hotel bill.

       9. So we walked around until we found this little spaghetti parlor, where they specialised, of course, in spaghetti! As I recall, a big bowl of spaghetti was the equivalent of only about 50 U.S. cents. So we went in & enjoyed our spaghetti, & I think we had a little glass of wine along with it. As you know, the Italians, like the French, usually drink wine at dinner. It's supposed to help your digestion & make you happy & talkative when you're with friends.

       10. After dinner we went home to unpack, & by the time we got back to the hotel & unpacked & got things arranged properly, we were ready for bed. We'd had a long trip & hadn't seen a bed since we left Paris, ha!--So we were really ready for bed!

       Next Day in Rome!

       11. The next morning we woke up & I think they served breakfast there at our little pension. They sometimes call that type of rooming house a "Bed & Breakfast," where they serve a typical European Continental breakfast. The first time I heard "Continental breakfast" I was surprised to find it was nothing but a sweet roll & a cup of coffee or tea, whichever you prefer. At least they serve the roll with butter & it's just about enough to keep you going until lunch. I guess they figure the tourists are probably going to get up late anyhow, but you do have to be at breakfast at a certain time or you miss it. In some places you can't come to breakfast much later than 9 or 10 o'clock or you don't get it!

       12. When we finally got to Tenerife much later on, Mama & I used to always order our breakfast just before the deadline in the hotel, & there, as I recall, the deadline was 11 o'clock. So they let you sleep-in in Spain. We used to say, "Desayuno, por favor, para once-zero-dos!" "Ah, si, once-zero-dos!" And for the benefit of anyone who doesn't know what that means: "Breakfast, please, for number 1102!"--Apartment 2 on the 11th floor.--A very important place, because that's where David was conceived! (David: Really?) Yes! This, of course, is much later on in our Story.

       13. Anyway, I was saying that in many places they serve the same thing for breakfast, nothing in the world but a little sweet roll. They're flat & made in a coil. You take a string of dough & you wind it around the center like this, & it's glazed with sugar & cinnamon on top. They're really good, especially if you put a little butter on them. It holds you off until lunch, anyhow--that & a cup of coffee!

       14. So that was our first breakfast in Rome, a Continental breakfast, & after breakfast I believe we went to the Post Office to get our mail that we had had forwarded to Rome. I don't recall whether we got any or not, but I can remember that pension very well.

       15. We had been writing Letters to the Family on our trip starting in London, & guess what famous Letter we got in Rome? Maybe you remember. We were looking at our huge latticed window with the sun's rays coming through. (Techi: "Diamonds of Dust"!) Yes! (Techi: In Rome, goodness!) We got it in bed. We were lying there in bed looking at those sun rays through the latticed window. (See ML #3.)

       16. So we made good use of the time. I think maybe we even missed breakfast that morning because we slept in, we were so tired. But we got that Letter before we got up out of bed, & then I think we went out to lunch at the same little spaghetti place. (Techi: So you had spaghetti for lunch & dinner?) Yes! Why not? (David: It's really yummy!)

       Spaghetti Dinner with the Hippies!

       17. Let's see, what else happened in Rome? (Techi: Did you break your finger that time or the other time?) Oh, yes! While in the pension we got acquainted with a young hippie couple who were staying in a room down the hall from us. She was sick, I think, & we went in there & I think I even prayed for her. They were real nice & they liked us so much they invited us out to dinner that night. And guess where?--The same little spaghetti joint where we'd been eating! (David: Cute!) But they were making quite an occasion out of it so we didn't tell them we'd eaten there twice before already!--Ha! But the main thing that happened at their spaghetti dinner was that they taught us how to eat spaghetti! (Techi: Oh yes, you were going to tell us about that!)

       18. But one of the main things that happened that evening was, on our way down our pension's big marble staircase that curved around in mansion villa fashion into the foyer, I tripped a little bit & caught myself. I didn't really completely fall, or I could have rolled all the way down the stairs. I caught myself, but I banged my hand down on the marble stair & the edge of it caught this little finger. Can you see how crooked it is? And oh, it hurt! But I didn't want that to spoil everybody's evening by letting them know how much it hurt. Mama said, "Sweetheart, did you hurt yourself?" I said, "Oh, it's okay."--Because I didn't want to spoil their whole evening, but it hurt me from then on even into dinner. But dinner helped me kind of forget it & it began to just have a dull ache after awhile.

       19. So we had a good spaghetti dinner & the boy taught me how to eat the spaghetti! You know, you hold your fork in your right hand & the spoon in your left hand, you scoop up some spaghetti with your fork & put the tines of the fork, the points, against the hollow of the spoon, & you twirl the fork around, winding the spaghetti onto the fork. That's the way the locals eat spaghetti!--And it really works, because then it's all wound up & easy to eat!

       20. The boy & the girl were both Americans, & of course they weren't married. Most of the hippies running around all over Europe in those days weren't married, they were just chumming up, pairing up, & going around sleeping with each other from country to country & pension to pension. A lot of them would sleep in youth hostels, which is the next step down from a pension, where you often sleep in big dormitories & they give you just a cot to put your sleeping bag on.

       21. And the next step down from that was to sleep in your sleeping bag right on the sidewalk or in the park under some kind of shelter!--But Mama & I never got down to that. (Techi: Sounds dangerous!) Well, Honey, it's always dangerous! It's even dangerous staying in cheap hotels, in Italy especially, ha! But the one we were in was recommended in the "Europe on $5 a Day" book as being a good, clean, honest & safe pension, so we felt safe there.

       22. So we had dinner that night with the hippie couple & talked to them a lot in their room when we got back to the pension about our work & our Youth Ranch & all that sort of thing. Most of the people we talked to about the Ranch said they hoped to visit there some day. I don't know if they ever did, but they may have! (Techi: What happened to your finger finally?) The Lord healed it naturally, & as you can tell by how crooked it is, I never had it set. (Techi: When did you first tell Mommy that you'd broken it?) Oh, I finally mustered up the courage to confess that I'd kept it from her. And she asked me never to do that again, because she wanted to be able to pray for me.--Which was a good lesson for me. So if you kids ever hurt yourselves, please don't try to hide it from us, but let us know about it right away, so you can benefit from our prayers for you.

       Planning Our Trip to Israel!

       23. We had planned our trip & decided that we were going to take a boat from Venice, Italy, to Haifa, Israel, & in my "Cook Book" (Cook's Travel Guide or Thomas Cook European Timetable), we found a shipping line that went all the way from Italy to Israel. We found the name of the office in the "Cook Book" that was the head of the line & we made an appointment the next day to see the manager & to go there & make our reservations & buy our tickets. We were very glad to find the place & we were glad to be able to get enough Lire to pay for the trip.--And it took a lot of Lire!--Although it was still cheaper than a plane. It was a little kind of isolated lonesome office in a big old, what looked like a vacant building. There was just one man sitting there who was the manager, clerk, cashier & everything. So we finally got our reservations & our tickets & we were all set to go to Israel!

       24. We had to wait for the next boat because I think they only sailed about once a week. So we stayed in Rome & I don't remember much more about our stay there. As I recall, we took a walk over to the Colosseum, where the Christians died, & passed by the old Wall of Rome, etc. (Techi: Did the Colosseum have a lot of cats in it then?) Well, we didn't see them then; they probably come out at night. Cats are nocturnal creatures, like the rats, so they mostly come out at night to catch the rats! (Techi: I once saw a documentary on that, & the whole stadium was filled with cats, crawling with cats!) Well, I don't recall seeing any cats on that particular visit.

       Train from Rome to Venice!

       25. The boat was to leave Venice in the evening & it was a long trip all the way from Rome on the T-E-E Express, the real fast express trains that have very few stops. You pay a little more than you would for a normal train. I think it was $2.50 more at that time, something like that.

       26. So we took the train one morning from Rome. Shall we follow our route on the map? Here's Rome over here near the West Coast, & Venice is right up here near the top of the East Coast of Italy.--Over 300 miles (480 km.) away. You have to have reservations on the T-E-E trains, & the only seats they had available were across from each other, & they weren't window seats either.

       27. And as we were passing all the ancient ruins & ancient castles & the ruins of Man's achievements there over the centuries, guess what Letter that inspired? (Techi: "Sight-Seer"?) Yes! "Are You a Sight-Seer?--Or a Seer-Sighter?" (See ML #7.) (David: And "All Things Change"?) (ML #6.) Yes! I think maybe I wrote both of those Letters on the train on that trip.

       28. We had to eat lunch, of course, on the train, & that was rather enjoyable. Eating was always enjoyable in those days.--And I still enjoy it, thank the Lord, even though I can now only just drink it!

       29. Well, I've got to stop, we've gone overtime! So we're on the train, still writing Letters, on our way to Venice! And tomorrow night I'll tell you about Venice. We didn't spend much time there, but it was quite interesting how we transferred to the ship. You don't call them "boats," by the way. Any sailor would be furious with you if you called his ship a boat! They're ships! So praise the Lord. That's as far as we go this time, & I'll tell you about our arrival in Venice in our next Story!

       30. OK, it's time for you to pray, David. (David: Thank You, Jesus, for all we learned tonight. Thank You for helping Grandpa to remember so many details of his trip, Jesus. Thank You for how he has been telling them to us, Lord. Thank You for keeping & protecting Grandpa & Mommy, Jesus, through all their journeys & voyages. Please help us to remember all that we learned tonight, Jesus, for next time, in Jesus' name. Amen!) Amen! Well, that was Rome, & we're on our way to Venice! OK? (Techi: OK!) Praise the Lord!

       Picture captions & fact boxes:

       Page 1:
       Ruins of the Roman Forum, near the Colosseum.

       "Man glories in what he has made and prides himself in what he thinks are going to be his everlasting works, to influence with awe and wonder the generations to come. But their end is always the same--the wreckage of centuries, meaningless to the present, and unmourned by their children, the debris of years..."
       --From "Are You a Sight-Seer... or a Seer-Sighter?" (ML #7:3,4)

       Page 3:
       Spaghetti with Rome friends

       Page 4:
       Hippies sleep on the Spanish Steps, a favourite spot.
       Rome: The Spanish Steps.

       Page 5:
       THE COLOSSEUM, (pronounced kahl uh SEE uhm), was the largest outdoor theater of ancient Rome. It stands near the center of modern Rome. Construction of the Colosseum started during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, who ruled from A.D. 69 to 79. The building was dedicated in A.D. 80. Until 404, the Colosseum was the site of mock naval battles, combat between gladiators, battles between men & wild animals, persecuted Christians & lions, & other public entertainment. After that date, the Colosseum was largely abandoned. During the Middle Ages, stones from the structure were used to construct new buildings.
       The Colosseum has four stories & is oval in shape. It could seat about 50,000 spectators on marble & wooden benches. The Colosseum is 157 feet (48 meters) high, about 620 feet (189 meters) long, & about 510 feet (155 meters) wide. The arena on the floor of the Colosseum is about 285 feet (87 meters) long & 180 feet (55 meters) wide.

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