Sunday, March 13, 2011

Forbidden.. Undying..Tragic.. Love.

"Who knows if you have ever written the words "Amore"
on a blank sheet of paper, just look at it, without any
particular reason?  I have:  those five letters fill the page.  I
am in love!  There, I've said it all, but it is not enough....
Each person will write to tell you of their feelings in
a different way, because each of us is different.  Yet, if
you look closely, you will see the same luminous, happy
expression that unites all of those in love...
Gina R, Brescia,  Italy"

The above quote, was written to Club di Giulietta. A personal letter sent to Juliet herself. My blog today is, of a book I read, and fell in love with. Now, most have seen the movie, yes? But how many have read the book that inspired the movie. The true story of Lise Friedman & Ceil Friedman. Sisters who, read a letter that inspired them to travel to Verona, Italy; where they embarked on a vision that would change their lives forever.

I, in fact, never knew that there was a Club di Giulietta.. that so many people of long ago, sent their letters of either great loves, or loves in great parallel, to Juliet. Praying for, Guidance. Hope. Understanding. Reaching out to a young lady, who had felt love so great, that she took her own life; to forever be joined with her Romeo.

Letters, that have been arriving at Club di Giulietta {a volunteer organization}, where the secretaries, for seven decades, carefully read and respond to each and every letter. "At one time, more then one person, has replied to these letters since the 1930's".. a quote taken directly from the book.

Of the two sisters, Ceil had already found her Romeo and moved to Verona years earlier. They {the sisters} kept in contact with one another, through modern technology, emails. Sharing the simple tasks of their daily lives. Recounting stories of their children, grandchildren, and of course the desire to work together. It was when they read the above letter, they realized they had to find out more.

by Francesco Hayez. Oil on canvas, 1823

We all know the story of Romeo and Juliet. The passion of their longing to be together. Two families divided by the hate of one another. Brought together in the tragic death of their children. This story has been played for centuries, over and over again. I learned, and recited the same words in school, seen the plot acted out in West Side Story, and my children watched it on DVD, as a more modern movie.

Julieta's hand, had been asked of her father by Count Paris, but because Juliet father feels she is to young {13 yrs of age}, he asks for Count Paris to wait two years.

Romeo has been depressed, an infatuation he has of Rosaline {Capulet's niece}, Attends a ball at Casa di Capulet, where meets and falls in love with Julieta.

The story of forbidden love. Young love. The fight to be together. Who hasn't, in their life time, fought for the greatest of love. No matter what the age, I feel, we all long for that kind of love. The one that would send you to the ends of the earth to bring him or her back. Would have you screaming from a roof top, in confession of your love. Dancing in the rain, just to hold that person close.

"Dear Juliet,
My problem is very complicated and difficult.  I am in
love with a missionary nun.  We were classmates in a
course for social welfare assistants and saw each other
often that year, at lunch break.  Then she left for India,
where she stayed for twelve years.  Now she is back in
the states, working here.  I am a widower, now sixty-two.
I declared my love to her, but she told me she will never
leave the church.  She is the most beautiful, intelligent
woman I've ever known.  How can I convince her that
with me she would have a marvelous life?
Thank you,
Jack G., Tampa, Florida"

Pyramus & Thisbe, Oil on canvas  1600

There is another great love story. Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe. As with Romeo and Juliet, Pyramus and Thisbe story is a bittersweet tale of love gone wrong, forbidden love, families fighting with one another. Yet, they fall in love. Plan a secret meeting. They discuss meeting at a tree, a white mulberry tree, the next night. They both agreed, if one should arrive before the other, they would be sure to wait, for the other to arrive. As planned, Thisbe {with her head covered in a veil} got away from her family, and headed toward the mulberry tree, she arrived first. She waited for Pyramus, and as she waited, she sees a lioness ~ her mouth still fresh with blood from a recent kill ~ fearful, Thisbe hides in a cave until she feels the lioness is gone. The lioness, rubs her face in the veil that has fallen off of Thisbe as she ran to hide, drinks from the cold spring; and leaves. Pyramus arrives at the mulberry tree during this time. He is struck with grief when he walks upon the blood soaked veil of Thisbe. Believed to have caused the death of his beloved Thisbe, because he was delayed, Pyramus picks up the veil, carries it to the white mulberry tree, and declares his never-ending love for Thisbe......

“O, hapless girl", he said “I have been the cause of thy death! Thou, more worthy of life than I, hast fallen the first victim. I will follow. I am the guilty cause, in tempting thee forth to a place of such peril, and not being myself on the spot to guard thee. Come forth, ye lions, from the rocks, and tear this guilty body with your teeth.” he coves the mulberry tree with the blood from Thisbe's veil and states “My blood also shall stain your texture.”

With his sword, he plunged his heart. Causing the blood to pulse from his body onto the white tree, sinking into the earth and reaching the roots. When Thisbe comes out of hiding, she finds her love at the base of their tree, soaked in blood. Now, she blames herself, calling out to him, willing him to open his eyes and live. When Pyramus opens his eyes, for a short moment to see his true love, he looks at her.. and dies. Thisbe screams fill the night, in a confession of her love for Pyramus, she states...

“I too can be brave for once, and my love is as strong as thine. I will follow thee in death, for I have been the cause; and death, which alone could part us, shall not prevent my joining thee. And ye, unhappy parents of us both, deny us not our united request. As love and death have joined us, let one tomb contain us. And thou, tree, retain the marks of slaughter. Let thy berries still serve for memorials of our blood.”

With these words she to plunged Pyramus sword into her breast. Her parents and the gods grant the couples wish..they are buried in one sepulcher, and the tree gave fruit of purple berries, as it does to this day. {this story is a quote from Wikipedia}

Title page of Arthur  Brooke's poem

Long before the movie "Letters to Juliet", or learning about "Club di Giulietta", I, like so many people before me, longed to see Verona. To walk the streets of Italy. To partake in the city know for love. Breathe in the air. Feel the magic. One of my many stops, will now be the court yard of Giulietta. When I told this to my cousin Desi, he said "Josie, that's a fictional story. A fairy tale." But, I don't mind. I will still plan on making a point to stop and see the court yard. The statue that sits, waiting for Romeo. The balcony {added years later because, there was no balcony in the script of the play} where the fairytale grew further. The Casa di Giulietta, that over the years was used by others, and later purchased by the City of Verona, and restored as depicted in the play. Where hopes and dreams of love, are left on the wall of Julieta's house, in the form of letters. Where tears are shed; from new love, lost love, forbidden love, or love in despair.

in closing I leave you these two letters, written to Juliet and quoted from the book "Letters to Juliet'...

"Dear Juliet,
I wrote you many years ago and your advice helped
me so much.  Now that I am no longer a teenager I
realize I once again need your advice.  My husband, 
Roger, has been in the army for two years.  He is fighting
in Vietnam.  I have since fallen in live with Roger's
best friend.  Although my husband and I were unhappy
together, I still find myself falling more and more into
a depression when I think of his return.  My life is very
empty right now and I need someone.
Please, help me!
Andrea M., Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1967"

"Dear, Juliet, 
I am in a bunker.  Outside I hear missiles exploding,
bullets being fired.  I am twenty-two years old and I'm scared.
Our commander had told us that soon we must
come out.  A hand-to-hand battle awaits us.  I feel I will
die.  I leave life with this brief note.  I am entrusting it to
you, symbol of universal love.  I delude myself by thinking
it will make people understand the futility of hate.
Brian L., Vietnam, 1972"
Julieta's Statue placed in the 60's

"And even at this day, beneath Italian skies, many a simple
girl would feel as Juliet, and many a homely gallant would
rival the extravagance of Romeo."
Sir Edward Bulwer~Lytton, 1840
{Quote from Letters to Juliet, Chapter Seven}

Regardless; if you're looking to have the greatest love of all; Juliet, send your soul mate a letter {confessing your great undying love for him/her} sparking great romance.  Or sharing a story of forbidden love,  forever true love,  or in search of great love.. People everywhere turned to Romeo and Juliet.

at this very address...
Via Galileo Galilei, 3 37133 Verona Vérone, Italy

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