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1905 I abandoned the Cavour for Turin in hope of locating work in the big city. Failing in this hope, I went on further to Courgne where I remained working six months. Then back to Turin, on a job as caramel-maker.

In Turin, in February of 1907, I fell seriously ill. I was in great pain, confined indoors, deprived of air and sun and joy, like a "sad twighlight flower." But news of my plight reached the family and my father came from Villafalletto to take me back to my birthplace. At home, he told me, I would be cared for by my mother, my good, my best-beloved mother.

And so I returned, after six years spent in the fetid atmosphere of bakeries and restaurant kitchens, with rarely a breath of God's air or a glimpse of His glorious world. Six years that might have been beautiful to a boy avid of learning and thirsty for a refreshing draught of the simple country life of his native village. Years of the great miracle which transforms the child into the man. Ah, that I might have had leisure to watch the wonderful unfoldment!

The three hours on the train I leave to the imagination of those who have suffered pleurisy. But even through the mist of pain I saw the majestic country through which we passed and became part of it in imagination. The deep green of north Italian valleys which not even winter can dull, is a living thing in my mind even today.

My mother received me tenderly, weeping from the fullness of her happiness and her sorrow. She put me in bed - I had almost forgotten that hands could caress so tenderly. There I remained for a month, and for two months more I went about with the aid of a heavy walking stick. At last I recovered my health. From then until the day I parted for America I remained in the house of my father. That was one of the happiest periods of my life. I was twenty years old; the magic age of hopes and dreams, even to those who, like myself, turn the pages of life's book precociously. I made many friends and gave freely of the love that was in my heart. I helped to cultivate the garden at home with an ardor that I had never felt in the cities.

But that serenity was soon disturbed, and by the most painful misfortune that can strike man.


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