by Liz Wicks
Jane Fogarty has been a vital member of our group ever since it began over 30 years ago, as well as serving with Mary Westerman as Co-President for 4 years. Jane writes “ I was an Italian Studies major student at Cal State when I came here in 1976 to specialize. Boy did I specialize! An Italian professor who was going out with my roommate arranged a blind date in a pizzeria. I fell in love with his friend and married him 3 years later. “Galeotto fu la pizza!” A happy ending though unlike Dante’s Paolo and Francesca as we’re on our 42nd year of marriage!”
When Jane was recruited to work at Cal State she put her studies to use, interacting with and helping students throughout their own year abroad experiences. She retired as Administrative Director Emeritus from Cal State at the start of the pandemic, having worked there for 40 years. Jane now volunteers for ANT, Associazione Nazionale Tumori and keeps busy reading, writing, walking, flower gardening, and cooking
Jane says “my favorite part of my work at Cal State included accompanying students to cities all over Italy on field trips. Now I continue to travel to cities in Italy but with friends and family. I will never fall out of love with this, my adopted country.”
Jane has a son who lives in Lausanne Switzerland and a daughter living in California with her husband and two young daughters. Jane says “funny how life works out sometimes. I left California to come to Italy to study. Like so many of us in the group, I met my husband here and raised my family in Florence. My daughter went to California for a month-long vacation more than 10 years ago. She met her husband in San Francisco and has been there ever since.”
Jane describes the early years of our Women’s Group, “our mission was to help each other with issues like drivers’ license conversion, work contacts, permesso di soggiorno information, socializing, and helping to keep American customs alive in Florence. Badmouthing mothers-in-law, husbands and Italian vices was verboten, as we wanted to help each other but with positive attitudes about our adopted homeland. We always looked forward to the meetings for a chance to see friends, share a meal, and learn something interesting in our mother tongue.
Badmouthing mothers-in-law, husbands and Italian vices was verboten, as we wanted to help each other but with positive attitudes about our adopted homeland.
I think I put my favorite American holiday Halloween, on the map of Florence back in 1992. My haunted house in Pelago was a rousing success. I am told to this day that some of the now fully grown children have memories of the scary moments instilled in them that day. Ghosts, ghouls, vampires, bats, witches, zombies and warlocks, a graveyard with a smoking cauldron, and a crawl through a tunnel with guts and eyeballs to touch scared the daylights out of the kids.”