Hard to believe its been 25 years since
Tomie De Paola led that gruppo to Italy
and the Bologna Book Fair.
My idol from the moment I "discovered"
Still skint from a trip to Russia, I signed on.
Couldn't pass up the chance to see Italy,
visit the Bologna Book Fair and possibly
chat with Tomie a time or two. (I knew
he'd never do it again.)
We all met at JFK. Soon Tomie appeared,
greeting each individually.
I held out my hand, reminding him that
we had met briefly before at the Free
Library in Philadelphia.
Tomie responded that he had something for me.
(Perhaps, the signed copy of his St Francis?
An expected souvenir for signing on)
From his pouch, a copy of my Too Many Babas.
"May I have your autograph?", he asked.
Still gives me a lump in my throat.
Tomorrow is Tomie De Paola's 75th birthday.
Buon Compleanno, carissimo Tomassino!!
Con amore, abbraci e baci.
Carolina di Filli