A few months ago, I heard a story on NPR about the Juliet Club in Verona, Italy, and it has stuck with me, so I need to share it with our readers. I started out to paraphrase it, but then I realized I was quoting almost every part of the article, so I decided just to copy the article here for you. I think you will see why it has stuck with me. My conclusions, after hearing this story: 1) I want to move to Italy 2) the world is full of wonderful people that we don’t even know about until we hear stories like this 3) there are times that, despite the voices of the announcers (which can drive me insane), I love NPR, and 3) the more we can all realize our common humanity, common suffering, the better chance we have of surviving and helping our planet survive!. Here’s the story, complete with pictures from the NPR website:
Each year, the town of Verona, Italy — home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet — receives thousands of letters of heartache and unrequited love addressed to the play’s star-crossed heroine.
The tradition of sending letters to Juliet very likely goes back centuries. People started by leaving notes on a local landmark said to be Juliet’s tomb. Later, many started sending mail directly to the city. By the 1990s, Verona was receiving so many letters, it created an office to deal with it. And each letter — the Juliet Club office gets more than 6,000 a year — is answered by hand.
An example, from India:
I am madly in love. I know you get millions of letters with love problems written from around the world. I write today to ask you for strength. I live in India where my parents won’t allow me to marry the guy that I love because he is from a different caste. He’s the only guy I have felt so strongly about. I know I will have to fight my family for him and I am ready. I ask you only for strength.
The Juliet Club is housed in a small building on the outskirts of the city and is staffed by a small army of volunteers who call themselves the “secretaries.” There are about 15 of them.