Facilitator Franco Marini shares his story of connection

Nov 17, 2021

Angel Connection

The theme for November is connection which can come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Read how connection changed the life of Franco Marini, one of the gifted Kindness Collective facilitators.

Vivid memories stir within me of my journey to America. A few months before our departure from our small refugee village in Northern Italy, we were informed that we were granted permission to immigrate to America. As a 10-year-old boy, having gotten accustomed to dirt streets, daily grocery trips to our local store since we had no refrigeration, and sharing my two-bedroom household with six other siblings and mom and dad, this appeared like an awesome adventure.

As an elementary student in our local school, we did not discuss much about this place called America. The only reference I had was from a bi-monthly opportunity to go to the local tavern, who had a small black and white TV. Every other week the children were allowed to watch a show called, “Wild Bill Hickock”. From that program came my diverse knowledge of the English language which consisted of: “Yup”, “Howdy Partner”, and OK”.

When I was told of our imminent departure, I was elated with images of riding horses, wearing buckskin clothes and slinging a six shooter on my hip. As I boarded my first train, it whisked us to this place called Paris...an amazing overload of buildings, crowds and lights. I delighted in the experience and simply smiled and enjoyed... totally oblivious as to what my parents were going through to transport seven children from a tiny village to our final destination of the “Wild Frontier” of Denver, Colorado. The adventure continued for me as we boarded a propeller plane that took us to the Azores, and eventually New York. By this time, it was all a blur to me of skyscrapers, honking horns, flashing billboards and lots of people who used many more words beyond my three that I learned from Wild Bill.

The final train ride from NY to Denver continued to fill already overloaded capabilities of absorbing new experiences. As we settled into our four- bedroom apartment, I was astonished, and a bit lonely that I was sharing my bedroom with just one brother. Continuing to explore this new landscape,  I was elated to find new inventions such as vegetables in a can, bread that someone else sliced for us, and topping the list was this little round machine that spat out a round ball of bubble gum when fed a coin. I knew I was in heaven, until...

...it came time to go to school. An excruciating experience, not understanding what anyone was saying and not knowing how to ask for what I needed. I looked very different from everyone with my home-made clothes and a unique bowl haircut. Whenever there was laughter, I knew it was about me. 

Several weeks went by and I mostly cried when I came home. I felt totally alone as others would play all sorts of fun games during recess, had loud conversations at lunch while I huddled alone against the fence looking at the ground. 

One day, the Connection! A little girl from my class, an angel in disguise, came up to me while I was leaning on the fence during our morning recess. She clasped my hand and said, “let’s go play”. All of a sudden my dreams of riding horses across the prairie became alive again. I often wonder, who can I be an angel for?

How are you being an angel?