On the last day of this month Camillo and I will have been together for 20 years; not married 20 years but 20 years as friends, companions, roommates and finally as marriage partners. To me it seems somewhat of a miracle. We both started out looking at the relationship as a non-relationship. We talked and planned in six month periods of time, never really thinking we would last past that next six months; that’s 40 - six month periods of relationship survival.
When we met he lived in Brasil and I, happily, in Houston. His life and family were based in Rio de Janeiro and my family, job and plans were in Houston. His age exceeded mine by 24 years. My life experiences was more than 24 years behind his. His background was / is rooted in the male dominated, Latin male period of pre-world war II, and mine the woman’s liberation period of the 60s. He was at the end of his career, working contract for Halliburton and I still wanted to start university work having finished raising my family, and being tired of working clerical jobs. Besides me liking his tales of travel around the world, the laughter we often shared while out with friends, and the snappy way he dressed, we didn’t seem to have too much in common. After only two months of dinners out, walks along the river, and meeting for dancing, at the first of June, 1992 he moved his base of operations to Houston and we began our first 6 month period of fun as a couple.
In that first year we traveled to Argentina, Italy, and I had my first trip to Brasil. If first impressions were the only thing driving us, that first trip to Brasil could have been the end of it. Besides the food, more of his friends and his family, I really didn’t like Brasil. Told him so right away that I would never live there. Period. No possibility. Also in that first year I started a full time semester at Houston Community college to finish up an associates degree. He made that possible. The next year I started my work at University of Houston, and time just kept passing – one six month period to the next.
From the very beginning Camillo’s stories fascinated and entertained me. While in high school he was an officer in the Fascist’s youth group. He was on his way back from getting a haircut when Frascati (Italy) was bombed by the allies, wiping out his home town and killing more that 8 thousand of its people. He joined the German army at 17 years old. He will admit that joining up was more to irritate his father, and for the positive impact on girls the uniform would make; being too young to have any real ideological belief in the war. After the war he spent his mandatory two years in the Italian army, then university in Rome – first studying physics then changing to Geology, and on to his first job as a geologist / surveyor with Aramco in Saudi Arabia during the time when they were first discovering their great oil reserves. (I was just entering school and going on to be just a small town girl.) His story then goes to Argentina and the beginning of his family, then to Brasil and to Egypt, back to Brasil with Petrobras when the company was first forming, and as the years pass to California, to Houston and tying his story together was a trip into communist Russia and other great adventures. I have to admit I was pretty impressed.
Our 6 month periods had gone on to 20 before I’d heard all his stories and he decided that what he really wanted was to return to Brasil, to live in his house on the hill, to drive his old cars, eat his favorite foods and I didn’t know it at the time, but to have a dog again. Never say never, not possible, because you may have to eat your words.
This year we will celebrate 20 years together, 10 years married, ten years living in Brasil. He will celebrate 86 years of the good life in June, as is his habit of enjoying all that he does, everyday. Three children, (now) three wives, seven grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, one adopted dog and many more stories continue in the making.
He still works, doing consulting for two different companies. He takes these newbies to meetings, and lunches and interprets for them when needed. And now, next to find a small apartment in Italy so we can spend some time in his country. Just something he has always thought about. So at an age when most people are saying they are old and tired, he is making plans forward. This is Camillo.
Enjoy with us some of our memories as we finish our 20 years of fun and travel and of celebration.
if you have any questions about the photos, just ask and I’ll reply. to view the slide show go to the link below.