And Anna, one of the younger secretaries, who oversaw the Web page and other new media for the club. Instead, I was to offer an empathetic ear, no matter how mundane the letters. A lot of the letters could be answered by the line “To thine own self be true.” That’s not even from “Romeo and Juliet” but it seemed to work well. In a wide piazza at the center, a Roman coliseum sits like a crown.
Most of the letters I saw on that first trip were from teenage girls. Then Anna told me that every time you answer a letter, you are really replying to yourself, and I took that to heart, answering the letters as if the writers were all younger versions of myself. In another piazza, a statue of Dante Alighieri glowers over the crowds.
Occasionally, a letter would appear that was truly devastating, something almost Shakespearian in its depth and tragedy. I was still in love with a woman who was my best friend, and that’s all that it was.
When one arrived, there would be a murmur among the secretaries. Enclosed with the father’s letter was a letter from his eldest daughter. What could I do, I asked Juliet, to nudge things toward romance?
These “secretaries” at the Club di Giulietta are not paid. So, right then and there, I decided I would join them over the summer break.