“Love Me and I Will Return The Love”
A visit to a McCauley childhood home builds connections.
When we transformed drab 9320 into Casa Rosso, we had no idea what magic would be conjured.
In August, we began presenting a “Lemonade Series” of outdoor concerts in the backyard of friends and on our own deck turned stage. The grand finale was a weekend of Drive-In Movies at Bonnie Doon Mall.
Boris was laying bricks outside while I, bagged from the Drive-In event the night before, consumed my first coffee of the morning. “Darcia, come outside, we have visitors.”
“Oh great,” I thought, dressed glamorously in fleece pajamas, an old sweater, and Crocs.
Nella Bruni had taken a drive down memory lane with her husband. Struck by the sight of the house she’d grown up in, they stopped. “Can we look around?” she asked.
“Sure,” we responded.
Amid tears of nostalgia, photographs were snapped echoing a shot of Nella on the same front porch as a young girl. Tales of happy times and the home’s history of sheltering new Italian immigrants were shared. Her parents Giuseppe and Rosaria Bruni had worked so hard to earn the money to buy what we’ve affectionately dubbed “Casa Rosso.” They were the true heart of the home that gave many a leg up so that they could eventually afford a place of their own.
Later, Nella’s friend Anna – a friend of Allen Jacobson who plays with Mercury Five, our jazz ensemble – texted a photo of us with Nella. “Do you know these people? They’re musicians.” We laughed at how the universe finds a way to bring magic, joy, relationship, and life-affirming events into our days.
We’ve kept the Casa Rosso concerts going this autumn and notice that when the music begins, our audience expands beyond the house and yard. Neighbours appear on rooftops and porches, and passersby stop to listen. On the night when Nella, Anna, and their husbands occupied a front row seat, we told the heartwarming story of how we’d met.
Before then, how would I have ever known when choosing colours and preparing surfaces for paint, that turquoise had been a dominant colour, or, that the red picnic table in Nella’s old photo would be the exact shade of red picked for Casa Rosso? It’s as if this old house has a soul and was murmuring, “love me, and I will return the love.” It’s magic.
Darcia lives in McCauley.