Italians arrive

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

The first full day in town for the travelers from Suffolk’s Italian sister city, Oderzo, was an extremely hectic one as the group of more than 60 visitors toured all over Suffolk.

Most notably, and most in keeping with the contributions of the Obici family, the Italians visited the two most invaluable contributions that Oderzo’s Amadeo and Louise Obici left to Suffolk. Riddick’s Folly and the Suffolk Train Station followed on into the afternoon; making a full day.

The morning started by going to the Planters Peanuts factory, and therefore of course being greeted jovially by Mr. Peanut at the front door.

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&uot;It was a great time,&uot; said Jane Moore, who is on the Sister City Commission, and is playing host to guests as well, &uot;the employees there of course got them dressed up in the jackets and hats and ear plugs.&uot;

At Obici Hospital, the travelers split into smaller groups to get tours of the hospital, both current information about the hospital, and about the history of the hospital in its current form, and its past form.

Rosemary Check, administrator, met the group in the atrium and said about Amadeo, &uot;His mission and his vision was to provide health care to this community…We are very excited here to share his heritage with you.&uot;

Jolyn Dalzelle, great-niece of Amadeo, and in town for the special week from New Jersey, continued giving the historic legacy of the Obici family.

&uot;Mr. Obici demanded that this hospital be built.

The way he did that was he left in his will that the hospital had to be started no more than two years after his death, if not, the money would do to a mausoleum.&uot; said Dalzelle.

In the hospital’s Women’s Center, the biggest, cutest attraction was passing by the infant babies sleeping in the nursery.

Apparently &uot;awws&uot; are quite universal.

Each group toured the enclosed garden where Amadeo and Louise are now interred side-by-side inside the hospital building itself.

After lunch was served in the hospital cafeteria, the day’s schedule continued on at a very Mediterranian, a very, relaxed, tempo.

So on to Riddick’s Folly around two, and the group was shown the upstairs of the home, with its history of Suffolk, and specifically Obici-related portraits and items.

Moving down to the basement, the group saw more about peanuts, Planters, and Suffolk as &uot;Peanut Capital of the World.&uot;

Nearing the end of the long day, Tiziana Dall’Acqua said about this, her second time in Suffolk, &uot;when I came here two years ago it was an unforgettable experience.&uot;

&uot;The people here are so warm and so helpful,&uot; Dell’Acqua said, &uot;and now I have met new people and met my old friends from last time too.&uot;

Luigi Serafin, 80, was also part of the Sister City trip from two years ago.

Serafin, who is staying with Moore, said, &uot;I like coming here.

For me it is a great time, it is always new and exciting.&uot;

Then while pointing to an Italian-English dictionary in his shirt pocket, Serafin continued, &uot;But this (pointing) is my only problem.&uot;

Another group of visitors was expected to arrive this evening and then a wine and cheese cruise on the Nansemond was ready later in the evening for the guests of honor from Oderzo, along with the host families and Suffolk officials.