Although it was wonderful to live through the events described in A Story for Louise, I never thought about writing a book about them until August 10, 2016, when I had lunch in Manhattan with two college classmates whom I had not seen since 1985. Both of them are published authors, and when I told them briefly about my experiences in Italy, they encouraged me to turn them into a book. By the time I returned home on the commuter train to Connecticut that evening, I had decided to follow their advice.
I wrote the entire book by the end of September 2016, although editing and tinkering continued for months thereafter. I made an outline before I began writing, and I was surprised at the clarity of the recollections which I had been carrying in my head for years. But I soon realized that the book would fill only about fifty pages, fewer than what I considered to be a suitable length for a book. It is fair to say that I wrote something which is too short to be a book, but too long to be a short story. Maybe I should say that I have written a long story.
Instead of padding the text into a slower form, I preferred to try to produce something which is enjoyable to read, even if it is brief. I suppose that this will also be a consolation for those who do not like the book-- at least the reading of it will not last too long. But in spite of how the book might be received, I am glad that it has been written, so that the stories will not be lost.
I am proud of the finished book, however I do not take credit for the stories in it. All I did was write what I heard and saw. As I point out in the Epilogue, the story belongs to my grandmother Louise more than it belongs to anyone else. Her influence runs through every part of it.