flesl.net paired story 2-8b (Giorgio Angelozzi)

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Giorgio Angelozzi

In the autumn of 2004, there were suddenly many stories in Italian newspapers and on the television news about Giorgio Angelozzi. And soon newspapers around the world were writing about him too.

The stories told how Giorgio — a seventy-nine-year-old retired high school teacher — was looking for a family to adopt him as a grandfather. His wife, Lucia, had died in 1992; she and Giorgio had been married for forty-six years. They had one daughter, who had been born in 1951. She was a doctor who decided not to have a family so she could devote herself to a career. In 2004, she was in Afghanistan. She was keeping in touch with her father with occasional phone calls. Giorgio also had one sister, the stories said, but they had not been friendly for a long time because they had argued about their inheritance.

After his wife died, Giorgio took his daughter’s advice and moved away from central Rome, to the village of San Polo dei Cavalieri on the city’s outskirts. He thought that the cleaner air would be good for his health.

He lived alone there, in an apartment, with seven cats. His health was good but his hearing was poor and he had to wear a hearing aid. He also had a serious problem with his eyesight because of cataracts. He could still read with a magnifying glass, but it was difficult for him to hold it steady because his hand shook. He knew he could have a simple operation to cure the cataracts, but he was nervous about doing this.

As the years passed by, Giorgio found that he became lonelier and lonelier. He didn’t make friends with anyone in the village. Occasionally the village police chief dropped in for a visit. Apart from that, and going shopping, he had no contact with other human beings. Often he would go a whole day without saying even one word.

Finally he began talking to his cats, and that made him realize he had to do something to change his life. He decided to place a newspaper advertisement asking for a family to adopt him as a ‘grandfather.’ He offered to contribute 500 Euros (about $US600) from his pension and also to help children with their schoolwork.

Journalists working at the Corriere della Sera, the largest paper in Italy somehow found out about Giorgio’s ad. They interviewed him and then wrote a story about him and about what he was doing to try to improve his life.

Because of this publicity, Giorgio quickly got replies from all over Italy — and from Italian families all over the world. He got one from a millionaire who lived in a big house by the sea, and one from a famous singer who had once been his student. He was also interviewed on a television talk show. That was how the Riva family found out about him.