It only works if you pronounce their names in Italian. I loved Gianni and Teresa from Florence but they passed about a decade ago. There was a loyalty more than a love story but probably both. I have always been drawn to most things Italian but that was solidified when Cynthia Yoler referred her friends to me to assist in the sale of their duplex near the University of Washington. It was a beautiful home and an honor to represent such a property. I also discovered a tiny local coffee bar on my many trips to and fro the duplex. Good times. Then times were not so good. Teresa began to have memory issues. She loved their view (west) property on Mercer Island so much that he sent her to visit her sister in (you guessed it) Florence while I helped him prepare the home to market. There were so many Italian influencers in their home that it was featured on the cover of a 1970’s Sunset Magazine. Gianni’s first wife was featured in a photo on a lounge chair on one of the three decks and three patios. There were marble statues in the courtyard. A custom “spire” or portacol of darkened mahogany drew eyes up. The classic green imported marble master bath was remarkable. Every view was perfection. I know it sounds like I am writing a marketing brochure but I assure you I did that long ago. It was amazing until we learned that the roof was failing. All of that stuff is now a blur but the people are not.
They were both retired doctors from the University of Washington Medical School. Teresa had pioneered the northwest’s first kidney dialysis program. They were both famous in their own right. Also – Teresa was taller than me – maybe six feet and thin. Gianni reminded me of a clean-shaven Santa but shorter. Since I met them I have always wanted to visit Florence because that is where this sweet couple originated from but they were not sweethearts. They both married others from Florence and had happy families. Because of their connections, the families grew up and grew close in Seattle. I never met the other spouses because they had passed. Gianni’s wife had cancer and Teresa’s husband, a building contractor, had an injury that required a blood transfusion that was tainted with aids. The two spouses passed in the same year and Gianni promised Teresa’s children that he would take care of her. They married soon after. They were probably in their 60’s at the time so Teresa made the Mercer Island home her own. Gianni did not discuss personal stories with me but he trusted me with so much. Teresa, in her increasing dementia, would. They were honorable and Italian. I admired them so much.
After the sale they moved into an exclusive retirement condo in downtown Seattle with meals to make things easier for Teresa. When she passed Gianni returned to Florence. He was 85+ a decade ago and I was never able to track him after that but everywhere I walk in Florence makes me smile. I celebrate Gianni and Teresa and the difference loyalty can make.