This is a photo of me as a very young child at the Honolulu Zoo.
In November 1969, at age 23, I was on a night train from Zurich, Switzerland to Rome, Italy. I shared a compartment with an Italian laborer, who reeked of cheap wine. Together, we unfolded the two benches, made a large bed, and slept on top of it. Then, as the train followed the swerving tracks, this laborer kept rolling towards my side, apparently asleep and drunk. I complained to the ticket taker, who then yelled at the man in Italian. But, it did not help one bit. The guy kept rolling towards my side.
So, I left the compartment and stood in the aisle. An Italian Army captain approached me and invited me into his compartment, because he pitied me. We sat on opposite benches, conversing. By then, I was exhausted. He suggested that I lie down on my bench and get some rest. No sooner had I dozed off, he was on top of me, squeezing my left breast with his right hand.
“Bella bambina, bella bambina,” he whispered.
I heaved and shoved him away. “Leave me alone!”
At that point, the train stopped. “Please, have breakfast with me in Bologne, and then I will put you on the next train to Rome.”
I noticed his gold wedding ring. “Oh, baloney. You are married. I don’t want to join you for breakfast. Knowing you, you will leave me stranded in Bologne.”
The whistle sounded, and when he realized that he was getting nowhere with me, he finally jumped off the train.
Bella bambina is Italian for “beautiful child.”
Well, I am not a bella bambina anymore, but at age 71, I still have a good memory!