I don’t have a picture of her, but I know her name was Anita.
It was about 150 degrees in the shade the afternoon Lulu and I were to board the train back to Arezzo from Florence. After a busy day, Lulu had fallen asleep in her stroller and so I had to try to hoist her dead weight and her stroller together up the steps onto the train car.
Several people rushed by me, as I struggled, to climb aboard a different car. Then just as I was about to buckle, an elderly woman came from above. She was already aboard, but had seen me from her seat near the door, had come over and was reaching down to help me lift Lulu and her passegino up.
I pushed the passegino next to the woman’s seat on the train and we sat across from each other. She smiled and introduced herself. She said she remembered and understood. She had a daughter of her own who was now grown. She then took a balsam wood fan that was carved into a lacey pattern from her purse and spread it out. She handed it to me. She advised me to fan it toward Lulu who indeed had flushed pink little cheeks from the heat. Before she got off at her stop, she told me to keep the fan as a regalo, or gift. “For the next time.”
Grazie mille, Anita. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers.
I look forward to one day passing along the fan to someone who could use a little help like I did.