by Patricia Keiller

Short Film
Email: [email protected]

                                                THE PILGRIMAGE
                  PATRICIA ULETILOVIC

THE PILGRIMAGE by Patricia Uletilovic

HENRY WHITE – A man of about eighty.In his youth he served in Italy during the Second World War.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO – A woman in her eighties.She has lived in the sleepy Southern Italian village of SAN ROCCO all her life.
MARIO ESPOSITO – FILUMENA’S son.He is a man of about sixty.He is a lawyer.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO – FILUMENA’S grandson.He is about thirty.
CARLA ESPOSITO – FILUMENA’S grandaughter.She is in her early thirties.
WINIFRED WHITE – HENRY’S wife,HENRY sees her in a dream.In the dream,she is young,about twenty fiveish.
ANNA ESPOSITO – MARIO’S wife.A woman of about sixty.
NURSE – A young woman nurse working at a ROME hospital.

SAN ROCCO is a sleepy Italian village high up in the hills above Rome.It is not on the tourist trail,and remains traditional and unchanging.

(V/O)Life holds many surprises,and as I found out that hot July day,it was to save me one last one..(PAUSE)I was on a sort of pilgrimage to Italy.I wanted to revisit the village where I had served as a young man during the war.This was where I had first encountered death,for I
had seen so many of my peers killed here in bloody exchanges.So many young lives wasted.But it had also been the place where I had first encountered love.This was where I had the first meaningful relationship of my life.So here I was at the end of my life,retracing my early youthful steps.I had to see this place again,one last time.The sweat trickled off my face as I headed to the address scrawled on a piece of paper.It belonged to the woman I had loved all those years ago,Filumena.Suddenly as I approached her house,my feet echoeing on the dry cobbles,with the unforgiving midday sun beating down upon my head,I could feel my heart pounding within my chest.I felt nauseous,the heat was stifling,and nervous,because I was just about to meet a woman I had not seen for sixty years.The few villagers who were about,stared at me with a mixture of curiosity and concern.I must have seemed an

                  (V/O CONTINUED)
odd sight to them,an old man,a stranger,looking ill and tired.My feet took the last few steps.I had arrived.With
my last ounce of courage I rang the doorbell and waited...


HENRY WHITE  Filumena?
ANNA ESPOSITO  No,sono sua nuora,Anna Esposito.
HENRY WHITE  I’m sorry I don’t speak a lot of Italian.
ANNA ESPOSITO  You are English?I am Anna Esposito,Filumena’s daughter in law.
ANNA ESPOSITO  E’ un signore Inglese!
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Aspetta che vengo.


FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Mio Dio!Henry is it really you after so many years?

HENRY WHITE  Filumena!I can’t tell you how long I have waited for this moment!(PAUSE)I was scared for a second or two that you wouldn’t recognize me,or worse still that you wouldn’t remember me.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  How could I ever forget you?(SAD AND A LITTLE RERSENTFUL)You broke my heart all those years ago.(PAUSES)Why didn’t you write to me like you promised you would when you returned home?I waited and waited for your letters,but they never came.
HENRY WHITE:  I was badly wounded on the way home.I spent about a year,or so just recovering from my injuries.I had a bad head injury which affected my speech and co-ordination,I had to learn to do all sorts of things again like talk and walk from scratch.After about a year I fell in love with one one of the nurses who was looking after me,and we got married.Winifred and I were married for over fifty years.We had a good life together,but she’s gone now.She died five years ago.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I thought you loved me!I waited for you,and yet you forgot me so easily.You married someone else within months of leaving San Rocco.

HENRY WHITE  Filumena,I was young.I did love you,but after that wasted year spent lying in a hospital bed,I didn’t know if you would still want me.I thought you would soon find someone else,and forget me.I remembered too,that when I was in San Rocco your parents were not too happy about our relationship.I know that they would have preferred a boy from your own village,not an outsider like me,a soldier,a foreigner!
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I didn’t care what they thought.Why should you have done?
HENRY WHITE  Please Filumena!We can’t change the past.The important thing is that I’m here now.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  (PAUSES)What was your wife,Winifred like?
HENRY WHITE  Winifred was very kind hearted,She had a heart of gold.She always wanted to help people.She was a lot tougher,though than everyone thought she was.She always seemed to cope very well with anything life had to throw at her.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Do you have any photographs of her?


HENRY WHITE  I have a picture of Winifred here in my wallet.There you are,have a look.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  You’re right,she does have a very sweet and gentle face.I can see what you saw in her.
HENRY WHITE  She was nothing like you,I must admit.She was quiet,whereas you’re fiery and tempremental.She was fair and blue eyed,whereas you are dark haired and olive skinned,but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have loved you both.It was a different kind of love with Winifred though,a more reasoned kind of love.With you I was living for the day.I couldn’t focus on the future.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Why couldn’t you see a future with me?
HENRY WHITE  I wanted a future with you,but back then the war showed no sign of coming to an end.The future seemed bleak,and fraught with difficulties.Like most people at that time,I found it hard to think ahead.With Winifred it was different.Winifred had a calmimg influence on me.Somehow with her,I wasn’t quite so afraid of what the war might do to us.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Did you have any children?
HENRY WHITE  No,unfortunately Winifred couldn’t have any.We tried for years before realizing there was a problem.We thought about adopting,but somehow it didn’t seem to be the right solution for us.So in the end we reconciled ourselves to remaining childless.Despite everything though,we had a very good marriage.Perhaps the
fact that there were just the two of us brought us closer together.(PAUSE)You had children didn’t you?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Just one,my son,Mario.You met his wife,Anna.
HENRY WHITE  What about your hus...


FILUMENA ESPOSITO  There’s someone at the door.I’d better go and open it.


HENRY WHITE  (OFF)You must be Mario.I’m Henry White,an old friend of your mother’s.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (COLDLY)Yes,my mother has told me all about you.(PAUSES)How long will you be staying Mr White?
HENRY WHITE  I don’t know,for a week perhaps.I don’t have any set plans.I may stay less,or I may stay longer.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (VERY COLDLY)Well,you must excuse me,Mr White,I’m a very busy man.I must get back to work.
ANNA ESPOSITO  But darling you’ve only just arrived.


FILUMENA ESPOSITO  He is very busy(PROUDLY)He’s a lawyer,you know.
HENRY WHITE  Do you have any grandchildren,Filumena?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Yes,I have two,Salvatore and Carla.They are both grown up now.Salvatore is a doctor,and Carla is a teacher.Carla has two young children of her own.Salvatore isn’t married yet.
HENRY WHITE  So you’re a great grandmother too.That’s a wonderful achievement.I envy you,Filumena.I will never be a grandparent,or great grandparent,and it’s  something I would like to have done.I would have loved to have been a doting grandfather.(PAUSE)I’m suddenly feeling awfully tired.Would you mind if I had a little rest.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  No,of course not.Why don’t you go and lie down in the spare room.


(V/O)So for a few hours I sank into a dreamless sleep.I forgot about Filumena’s joyful face when she first saw me,and the obvious sense of betrayal when I told her that I had married Winifred.I thought she wouldn’t care after all these years,but I had been wrong.I forgot about her son,Mario’s, resentful tone of voice.I did not understand
                (V/O CONTINUED)
why he should dislike me on first meeting.I supposed that maybe he was overprotective of his mother.A couple of
hours later,I woke up..

FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Ah,so you are awake again Henry.The sleep seems to have done you good,you look much better than when you first arrived earlier on this afternoon.Mario and Anna are in the dining room.Come and join us for dinner,I’ve made a wonderful lasagne al forno.


MARIO ESPOSITO  (COLDLY)Where are you staying in San Rocco?
HENRY WHITE  I had been given the address of a guest house in the village,but I haven’t been to check if they’ve got any rooms available yet.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (COLDLY)I wouldn’t worry about room availabilty.There’s only one guest house in the village,and it very rarely has any guests.Not that many people pass through San Rocco,you know.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I won’t have Henry staying in that horrible,little guest house.Everyone knows how dirty it is.Henry must stay here with us.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (ANGRY)I don’t know how you can be so nice to this man,Mother.You have always told me how much you loved him,and how you had hoped that once he returned to England,he would send for you to be his bride.But that never happened because you didn’t hear from him again until today,more than sixty years later.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  You should learn to forgive and forget,Mario.
HENRY WHITE  I can understand you wanting to protect your mother from a man who once broke her heart,but you must understand I never meant to.And anyway when I left here,your mother’s life moved on.She married your father didn’t she.Then you were born.So her life didn’t stand still either.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (ANGRY)My father died before I was born.My mother was left to bring up a child in poverty.Have you any idea how poor Italy was as a country after the war?The boom years hadn’t come yet.My mother struggled to bring me up,to give me a decent education.For me to become a lawyer,she had to make all kinds of sacrifices.You wouldn’t know much about sacrifices,would you Mr White in your cosy,suburban world?

HENRY WHITE  You assume that I had a middle-class,privileged up-bringing,and that’s just not true.I’ve known poverty too.I was very poor as a child.We had some very lean years,but I grew up,and things got better.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (ANGRY)I am going home,Anna,if you want to come,come.If you want to stay here with my mother and her so-called friend,then stay.I will see you later.



(V/O)Once Mario left I made my excuses to Filumena and Anna and went straight to bed.I decided I could no longer stand confronting Mario’s deep resentment and dislike.It was time to leave.I went to sleep with a heavy heart,and had a series of unpleasant dreams about Filumena and Mario.Dreams laden with guilt and betrayal.After a fitful
night’s sleep,I awoke very early the next morning,and packed my bags ready to leave.I carefully wrote out a note to Filumena explaining why I had to go.I crept out of my room,clutching my letter in my hand.I was about to leave.However,just as I closed the room door behind me,bags at my feet,Filumena came wandering out of the
                 (V/O CONTINUED)
kitchen.She immediately spotted the bags.A look of great sadness came into her face,and a single tear rolled down her cheek.

FILUMENA ESPOSITO  (SAD & ANGRY)You are leaving me again,Henry?Isn’t it enough that I have already lost you once before?And you were going to leave without saying anything to me,by just leaving me a stupid note?
HENRY WHITE  I see now that it was wrong of me to come back into your life expecting you and your family to accept me.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I feel no antagonism towards you,no resentment,Henry.It is Mario who resents you,but he is a grown man now,and I cannot control how he feels about you.You mustn’t let Mario dictate what you do.I want you here.It doesn’t matter what he thinks.
HENRY WHITE  (PAUSE)Very well,then I won’t leave.I’ll stay as long as you want me to.


FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Salvatore!Vieni avanti.C’e’ un amico mio qui dall’Inghilterra.Eravamo fidanzati durante la guerra.Henry,this is my grandson,Salvatore.I just explained to him that we were going out together during the war.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  I’m very pleased to meet you.
HENRY WHITE  (WARMLY)And I’m very pleased to meet you.(PAUSE)Tell me have we met somewhere before?You look  awfully familiar.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  I’m pretty sure we have never met.I think I would probably remember you if we had.(PAUSES)Nonna,I just popped in to introduce myself to your guest.Father told me we had someone over from England.I’ll go now because I have some things to do,but I’ll be back for lunch.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Fine,I’ll see you later.


HENRY WHITE  Your grandson seems like an extremely pleasant young man.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I love him dearly.
HENRY WHITE  It’s strange.I had the odd feeling when I was talking to him that I’d met him somewhere before.
HENRY WHITE  He doesn’t look much like his parents,I must say.They’re both rather dark,but he’s quite fair.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I expect he’s a throwback to an earlier generation.(PAUSE)Would you like to have a look at some of our photograph albums?It’ll give you the chance to catch up with sixty years of family history.
HENRY WHITE  I’d love to.


FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Here we are.This album’s a pretty old one.Most of these photos were taken during the war,or in the fifties.
HENRY WHITE  Good Lord!Is that us?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Yes,it is.We both look so young.
HENRY WHITE  We look happy.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  We were happy for those brief months we had together.
HENRY WHITE  You were my first love you know,Filumena.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  And you were mine.
HENRY WHITE  Is that Mario with you in that photo?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Yes,he’s about one year old there.
HENRY WHITE  I’d like to see your wedding photos.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  (PAUSE)Er,they were in another album.Unfortunately,it got damaged.When we first moved in here,we kept all the old albums in the cellar.There was a
bad flood one winter,and that particular album,together with a few others got ruined.
HENRY WHITE  Don’t you have any photos of your husband?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  No,we were’nt together all that long,and there was a war going on.He was away most of the time.
HENRY WHITE  Well,at least tell me something about him.What was his name?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  (ABRUPTLY)His name was Luigi.He was from Rome.He was a good man,an honourable man.He had black hair,and dark eyes.He was very handsome.(PAUSE)Would you like to see some more recent photos.
HENRY WHITE  Er,yes all right.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  These are of Mario and Anna on their wedding day.And these are photographs of Carla and Salvatore.
HENRY WHITE  This one is Carla,I take it?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO Yes,she’s about ten there.
HENRY WHITE  And this is Salvatore?You know,he even looks familiar to me in these childhood photos.I suppose somewhere along the line I must have known someone else who looked an awful lot like him.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Would you like to see some photos of my great grandchildren?
HENRY WHITE  Yes,I would.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  This is Francesca,she’s three,and the little boy is Roberto,he’s five.
HENRY WHITE  Will I get the chance to meet Carla and her family?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  They’re on holiday at the seaside at the moment,but they should be back by the beginning of next week.If you stay that long,you may get to see them.
HENRY WHITE  We’ll see how it goes then.I would like to meet your grandaughter,and her children,though.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Henry,you’ll have to excuse me now.I have a lot of chores to do,and the lunch to get ready,so I will have to get on with them.
HENRY WHITE  You’d like me to make myself scarce?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  You could go down into the village,and have a walk around.It’s changed a fair bit since you were last here during the war.
HENRY WHITE  Is that beautiful old church still there?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Yes,the church of San Rocco,you mean?It’s still standing.
HENRY WHITE  Then I’ll go there.I used to like visiting it to think when I was here back then.It was always so peaceful,and calm.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Okay then,I’ll see you later.

(V/O)I left Filumena to her chores,and walked slowly down the cobbled,winding roads to the church of San Rocco.I entered the fourteenth century building,and felt at once as if I had stepped back in time sixty years.Virtually everything here was the same.I closed my eyes,and let the tranquil atmosphere envelope me.
My mind went over the recent conversations of the last few days.Many things came into my thoughts,Mario’s dislike of me,a vague feeling I had started to have that
Filumena was holding something back from me,the sense of familiarity I had when I saw Salvatore.I still could not
make any sense of it.This morning I had wanted to leave,but now I knew I had to stay.If I stayed I might understand eventually,and I wanted more than anything to understand.
After about an hour or so,I walked back to Filumena’s house,my head feeling much clearer.


HENRY WHITE  (SHOUTING)It’s me,Filumena.I’m back!
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Come on in,Henry!Salvatore is here too.


SALVATORE ESPOSITO  Lunch will be ready in about half an hour.I’m really looking forward to it.It is one of Nonna Filumena’s specialities,and one of my favourite dishes,Gnocchi alla Romana!
HENRY WHITE  Is that little potato and flour dumplings?
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  Yes,they’re a sort of home made pasta made from dumplings.

HENRY WHITE  Your grandmother made some of those for me during the war.I thought they were the best thing I’d ever tasted.But then everything she made was delicious.Filumena is an excellent cook.


(V/O)Salvatore and I sat on the balcony sipping wine.I closed my eyes for a few seconds,lunch smelled almost intoxicatingly good.I was feeling relaxed for the first time in days.There was no awkwardness with Salvatore.It was almost as if I had known him for years.
Filumena’s voice suddenly reached us from the kitchen.

FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Il pranzo e’ pronto!Lunch is ready!


HENRY WHITE  This looks,and smells absolutely wonderful,Filumena.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I remembered it was one of your favourite meals.
HENRY WHITE  You remembered something like that after so long?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I remember everything you told me.
HENRY WHITE  (PAUSE)I hear you’re a doctor,Salvatore?
HENRY WHITE  I envy you.When I was growing up I wanted to become a doctor,but my father lost his job when I was fourteen,and I had to leave school to help my family out financially,so I was never able to complete my education.In the end I got a job at the Inland Revenue.It wasn’t very exciting,but it at least gave me plenty of time for my hobbies.Winifred and I liked to go on camping holidays.I’ve been retired about twenty years now.Of course when I first retired,it was wonderful.Winifred and I had even more spare time,but since she died,I have to confess my hobbies haven’t been enough to keep me occupied.I’m just a lonely old man now.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Don’t talk like that,Henry.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  You know,Mr White if I’m as healthy in mind and body as you are when I am eighty,I will be a very happy man. 
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  (PAUSE)Isn’t that strange,Henry.You and Salvatore both have the same way of holding your fork.No one else in the family holds their cutlery in that way.
HENRY WHITE  (QUIETLY)Yes,it’s quite a coincidence.


(V/O)As I stood on the balcony after lunch feeling pleasantly full,I watched Salvatore walk down the cobbled,dusty road to his own home,and I suddenly understood with growing certainty what is was that I had felt earlier that morning in the church of San Rocco.The realization hit me like a bolt of lightning.Salvatore was my grandson.I wanted to be one hundred percent sure though,so I asked Filumena if I could see some of the photos again.

FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Which photgraphs would you like to see again?
HENRY WHITE  That one of us taken during the war,and I’d like to see some recent photos of Salvatore.
HENRY WHITE  I just want to see something that’s all.


HENRY WHITE  This is me when I was about twenty,and this is Salvatore aged about twenty five.We could almost be twins,we’re that alike.(PAUSE)Why didn’t you tell me that Mario is my son,and that Salvatore is my grandson?Mario looks nothing like me,but I should have guessed the truth when I saw Salvatore.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I did not want to tell you because I did not want you to feel guilt for leaving me.
HENRY WHITE  Mario knows doesn’t he?That’s why he hates me so much.He hates me for leaving you to bring up a child alone.Oh,God!What have I done?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  It was so long ago,Henry.I was angry with you when you went back to England,and left me to raise an illigitimate child on my own.But that was sixty years ago,and I forgave you many years ago.
HENRY WHITE  You forgave me,but you couldn’t have forgotten.You must have thought of me as your child grew up,and now how can you forget,when every time you look at Salvatore you see me?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  No,I have never forgotten this much is true.Maybe I didn’t want to forget.You have been the only man in my life,Henry.None of the men here in San Rocco wanted to know about me after I had Mario.None of them wanted the responsibilty of bringing up another man’s child.These days I don’t think it would have

mattered so much,back then,though, having an illigitimate child was a great stigma.
HENRY WHITE  I have hurt you,and I must have hurt Mario more than I shall ever know.(PAUSE)I must talk to Mario.I always wanted children you know,Filumena.and now I have found a son,but he despises me.I cannot bear to think that my own son loathes me.(PAUSE)Do Salvatore and Carla know about me too?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I’m pretty sure they don’t.Salvatore and Carla will understand though.They will be more objective than their father.For Mario there is a lot of pain involved.But you are right,now that you know the truth,we cannot leave the situation like this.


(V/O)Filumena got up from her armchair.I found when I tried to get up from mine,I couldn’t,I slumped back down.I was still numb from shock from the discoveries I had just made.I wondered what to do next.Obviously I could not leave things as they were.I knew that I had to talk to Mario,but what could I say,or do that would erase sixty years of a father not being there for him.

                    (V/O CONTINUED)
Out of the corner of my eye,I could see Filumena standing by the phone.I knew instinctively that she was talking to Mario.
Moments later Filumena put the phone down,and came and sat down next to me again.She told me that she had arranged for Mario to come round alone later on that day.On hearing this news I felt simultaneously anxious and relieved.Anxious because I knew that everything hinged on what we said to each other that evening,and relieved because it would soon be over,and maybe if we cleared the air we could then start  getting to know each other properly.               
That afternoon dragged by,time  itself seemed to have slowed down.but eventually at half past seven precisely,the doorbell rang,and I heard Filumena welcome him in.

FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Come on in.Have you eaten supper yet?
MARIO ESPOSITO  No,I promised Anna I’d be back later for supper.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Would you like a snack?I’ve got some nice mozzarella and provolone.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (SHOUTING)Mama!I haven’t come here to eat1I’ve come here to talk to Mr White.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  I’ll tell him you’re here.
HENRY WHITE  (OFF)It’s all right Filumena,I heard Mario arrive.I’m just coming.
MARIO ESPOSITO  (BITTERLY)I’ve heard that we can stop pretending now.Mother told me that you guessed the truth.
HENRY WHITE  Mario!If I had known that Filumena was pregnant when I left here...
MARIO ESPOSITO  But she didn’t get the chance to tell you,because you completely abandoned her when you returned to England!
HENRY WHITE  I was wounded..
MARIO ESPOSITO  So wounded you couldn’t pick up a pen!
HENRY WHITE  It wasn’t like that...
MARIO ESPOSITO  (ANGRILY)I’ll tell you what it was like.Mother was just a young girl when you got her pregnant.You went back to England to continue your life there as if nothing had happened,but for my mother everything had changed.She had become a fallen woman,someone who had got herself pregnant with a foreign soldier.Once a woman loses her good reputation,she can never get it back.And in those days things like that really mattered.Mother could never marry someone else,no man in San Rocco would want a woman like her,and especially a woman with an illigitimate child.I had to
grow up without a father,and with the label of bastard around my neck.And with a young child,and no
husband to support her,how was she supposed to manage?My mother worked her fingers to the bone on menial,souless jobs just so that we could survive.That’s what it was like,Mr White.That’s what you did for us!


HENRY WHITE  Should I go after him?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  No,let him go!Mario is upset,and angry.
HENRY WHITE  But he won’t even let me try to explain!
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  You must be patient.There are sixty years of resentment there.You can’t just expect Mario to forget the past that easily.
HENRY WHITE  I suppose you’re right.I’ll have to try again.But what if I can’t win him over.What if he never wants anything much to do with me?
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Mario missed having a real father a lot as he was growing up.What he wanted more than ever was a father he could look up to and love.Perhaps if you can really show him that you are sorry for what happened in the past,and I believe that you are,then he will find it in his heart to forgive you.

(V/O)That night I tossed and turned in my bed.The oppressive heat made it almost impossible to sleep.My thoughts kept turning to Mario.A week ago I knew nothing of his existence.Now I had discovered that he was my son.A son who detested me.On that sultry night I felt older than I had felt in a long time.I suddenly realized that I could go to my grave with my son still despising me.I did not want that.For the first time since Winifred died,I cried silent tears,and wondered whether this night,so full of pain,would ever end.


SALVATORE ESPOSITO  (SOUNDING VERY WORRIED)Papa’ ha avuto un infarto!Father has had a heart attack!
HENRY WHITE  Where is he now?
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  He’s in a hospital in Rome.There’s no time to waste,we must go there,his condition is critical.


(V/O)We all piled into Salvatore’s car.None of us spoke on the journey to Rome.Each of us worried,fearing that Mario would not make it.During the previous night I  thought I would die without being able to make my peace
with my own son.I did not think that he might die first.I hoped,and prayed that Mario would recover.
When we arrived at the hospital we were told that Mario’s condition had improved slightly,and that he had been taken out of intensive care,although we were still only allowed to see him for a few minutes.
Filumena,Salvatore and I sat in the relatives room and waited.The next twenty four hours or so were the longest in my life.The doctors had suggested that we go home and return the next day,but none of us wanted to leave Mario’s side.
Then at last,we were told by one of the doctors that the critical period had passed.He would make a full recovery.
One by one we were allowed in to see him.Eventually the nurse came out and spoke to me.

NURSE  Signor Esposito says he would like to see his father now.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  (PUZZLED)His father!I don’t understand...
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Henry is Mario’s father.I was never married.There was never anyone called Luigi.I made the whole thing up.Henry is your grandfather.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  Mr White,I mean Henry is my grandfather(PAUSE)That explains a lot.
HENRY WHITE  You’re not angry with me,Salvatore?
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  No,it happened during the war.Bad things happen in wartime,we all know that.Besides I can see from the way you’ve been these last few days that you really care about my father.
NURSE  (BAD TEMPERED)Are you going to go in and see your son,or are you going to stand around talking.
HENRY WHITE  It’s okay nurse,I’m going in now.


HENRY WHITE  How are you feeling,Mario?
MARIO ESPOSITO  I have had better days(PAUSE)I heard that you’ve been here at the hospital with Salvatore and Mother since I was brought in.
HENRY WHITE  Yes,I didn’t want to leave.
MARIO ESPOSITO  Henry...Father...
HENRY WHITE  Don’t try and talk too much.
MARIO ESPOSITO  I just wanted to say...
HENRY WHITE  Mario,I’ve got to explain what happened all those years ago.
MARIO ESPOSITO  You don’t have to.
HENRY WHITE  I want to.(PAUSE)When I went back to England in 1944 I was very badly injured.I had sustained a very bad head injury,which meant that I had to re-learn how to do the simplest of things.I had to learn how to walk and
talk again.I wanted to write to Filumena,but my injuries prevented me from even trying.You might ask why didn’t I get someone else to write the letters for me.I could have done,but in my heart I didn’t think Filumena would want me anymore.I was half a man back then,and by no means sure that I would recover.In the early days of my injuries,I seriously thought I might end up a semi-cripple,or an invalid.And I was scared,scared of what else the war could do to me.Then after a year or so,I met Winifred.She was one of the nurses looking after me.She stopped me being scared,stopped me from feeling
that I would never fully recover.We fell in love.By now it seemed too late to write to Filumena.My life had moved on,and I thought hers would have done too.I had no way of knowing that Filumena had become pregnant.If I had known that I would never have left her alone to bring up a child.(PAUSE)It’s too late now to make it up to you,but I truly am sorry.Sorry for all the hurt I’ve caused.
MARIO ESPOSITO  Papa’...Father,I want us to have a new beginning.I want us to forget about old scores.You are my father,and part of this family...
HENRY WHITE  You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear you say that.


NURSE  You’ll have to leave now Signor White.Your son needs to rest.
HENRY WHITE  I’ll let you sleep now.


FILUMENA ESPOSITO  There’s someone here I’d like you to meet,Henry.This is my grandaughter,Carla.
HENRY WHITE  I’’m pleased to meet you.I only wish it could have been in better circumstances.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  This is your grandfather,Henry White.
CARLA ESPOSITO  My grandfather,I don’t understand...
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  They had a relationship during the war.Grandmother became pregnant.Henry returned to England,not realizing that she was expecting a child.In fact he knew nothing about having fathered a son until the other day when he met Filumena for the first time in sixty years.
CARLA ESPOSITO  I still don’t know what to say...
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  I know.It takes a while to sink in.I wasn’t all that surprised when I heard.But then again I have been watching the whole situation evolve over the last few days.I could see that Henry was someone Nonna Filumena cared about.I could also see our father’s reaction to him.Honestly Carla,I don’t think ever I’ve seen him act so irrationally.At times it was like watching the behaviour of a child.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  That was because Henry’s arrival in San Rocco took Mario back to the misery of his real childhood.He could not forgive Henry for abandoning us when he was a child.
CARLA ESPOSITO  Have Father and Henry made up their differences now?
HENRY WHITE  I think we have.(PAUSE)This whole thing has come as a shock to us all including me.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Do you wish you hadn’t made this journey to San Rocco?That you hadn’t discovered the truth?
HENRY WHITE  No,I would never wish that.All my life I’ve wanted a family,children of my own.Unfortunately,Winifred was unable to give them to me.Now at least I know that I do have a son.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  You have more than that,Henry.You have grandchildren,and great grandchildren.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  (LAUGHING)You have a dynasty!(PAUSE)The nurse says that father is no longer critical,and really out of the woods now.I think we should take this opportunity to have a bit of a rest,and come back tomorrow when we are refreshed.


(V/O) Which is exactly what we did,we went back to San Rocco,and returned to the hospital the next day,the day after,and the day after that for about the next three weeks.During this time my life seemed to slip into a routine where each day was almost identical to the last.But with each passing day Mario grew healthier,and stronger,and I began to get to know the family I didn’t
know I had.Adversity seemed to have brought us all closer together.However,as the weeks past I began to feel sad.I knew that soon I would have to go home.My holiday money had almost run out.I had not budgeted for a six week holiday.I really thought I would only be there for about two weeks.
I decided that once Mario was given the final all clear,and allowed to return home,I would tell Filumena that the time had also come for me to return home to England.

                   (V/O CONTINUED)
Finally,after three weeks that day seemed to have arrived.The hospital informed us that Mario was now in a fit state to leave the hospital.He would still need to recuperate of course.We were told however,that he could do this at home.
There in the hospital corridor,I decided to mentioned my plans to Filumena.

HENRY WHITE  Filumena,once Mario is back home in San Rocco,I will go back to England.I cannot stay any longer.My finances have run out,and I have bills to pay in England.I really must return.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  (PAUSE)This will come to a bit of a shock to Mario.Over the past few weeks I have watched your relationship blossom.You started out as enemies,but now you really do seem like father and son.You have grown close.But I understand what you are saying,your life is after all back home in England.We cannot keep you here indefinately.


(V/O) It was after we took Mario back to San Rocco that afternoon that I decided to tell Mario my decision.I waited for the right moment.A calm moment when not a lot was happening.Finally,it arrived.Mario was sitting comfortably on his mother’s armchair reading a newspaper.

HENRY WHITE  Mario,I must discuss something with you.
HENRY WHITE  My finances are running out.I didn’t plan on staying so long.I must return home to England.
MARIO ESPOSITO  If it is a question of momey,you know I can lend you some.
HENRY WHITE  It is partly money,but it’s more than that.I have bills to pay in England.A house to look after.My home is rented.If I don’t pay my rent,they’ll take it away from me.


(V/O) Mario did understand,but I could see that once again I had caused him great sadness.Watching his sixty year old face just crumple up,for a fraction of a second I thought I could see in his dark eyes the child he had

                   (V/O CONTINUED)
once been.Mario looked vunerable and hurt.I thought then that perhaps it would have been better had I never made
the trip to Italy.I would never have hurt anyone had I stayed at home.
Later on that day I was in the kitchen making myself a sandwich.Mario walked in,and stood behind me.I could see from his face that there was something Mario was longing to say.

MARIO ESPOSITO  Father,this is very important to me,so I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say.(PAUSE)When you first arrived here in San Rocco I hated you,hated you for what I thought you had done to my mother.I did not realize that perhaps you really had not intended to abandon us when you returned to England after the war.Over the past few weeks you really have been a father to me,and we have made up for some of the time we have lost.Now you tell me that you must return home.But don’t you see this could be your home.Think about it.What do you have to return home to?Your wife is dead,you have no children,and you are retired.You could spend your last years here with us,with your family.
HENRY WHITE  I couldn’t...I ...


(V/O)After Mario had told me this,I went down to the church to think.Apart from the war years I had always lived in England,I’d never really envisaged myself living anywhere else.And yet Mario was right,I did not have a great deal to go back to.
For a few days my mind was in turmoil.A part of me wanted to stay almost desperately,but there was a part,quite a small part of me that was afraid,afraid of saying goodbye to everything familiar to me.Tiny things became important,things that when you are in England you take for granted,but which make our little island the unique place that it is.
Then one night I had the strangest of dreams.I saw Winifred standing at the foot of my bed.She was not the Winifred I had known at the end of her life,but the young,vibrant Winifred I remembered from the early years of our marriage.She spoke to me.

WINIFRED WHITE  Henry,I hear that Mario has asked you to stay in San Rocco.You must listen to him,he is your son.I was your wife for fifty years,and I know how much you wanted children.Here is your chance to have the family you have always dreamed of.In England you will be alone,you will live out your life alone,Here you have Filumena,Mario,grandchildren,and even great grand

children.They can give you joy and happiness.Do not forsake this for foolish reasons.Do not think that I will be jealous of you spending your last days with Filumena.I had your love for fifty odd years,and I think that you owe this woman,Filumena so much.You can at least give her and her family the best of the days,months or years that are left to you.


(V/O) When I awoke I rushed off to tell Filumena straight away that I wanted to arrange a meeting for the whole family as I had an important announcement to make.Filumena tried to find out what it was I wanted to tell them,but I vowed not to say anything until we were all together.Filumena busied herself on the phone,and a meeting was convened for that evening.
I could hardly wait to tell them all what I had decided.I was so worked up about it,I found it extremely hard to settle to any tasks that day.Slowly though,the morning gave way to the afternoon,and the afternoon to the
evening.Carla was the first to arrive.She had even brought her  husband and children along.Next came Salvatore,then Mario arrived with his wife,Anna.

                (V/O CONTINUED)
The entire family was ushered into the dining room,and finally when the last people arrived,I sat myself at the head of the dining table and spoke.

HENRY WHITE  There is something very important I wish to say(PAUSE)Since I arrived here six weeks ago my whole life has changed.I had no idea I before I came over that I had a family here in Italy.Yesterday Mario asked me to come and live here in San Rocco for good.I said no at first because as someone who has lived in England all my life it is difficult to say goodbye to a place that has been my home  for all these years.Apart from that brief stay here during the war,I have known no other home.So it was extremely hard for me to envisage living in any other place.But the more I thought of having to leave all of you,the more I found the thought unbearable.During all these years since the war,I was unaware of having a son,the discovery that Mario is my son has changed everything.And since Mario’s heart attack we have got to know one another very well.In a short space of time Mario really has become my son,and not just in name.I feel now that he is my flesh and blood,and I cannot,and will not leave him.

I know that for Mario,Salvatore,and Carla I have come late into your lives,but I hope that this will not matter too much as we all get to know each other better.I have
decided that I want to spend the twilight of my life here in San Rocco with you.
MARIO ESPOSITO  Papa’...Father,I am so glad that you changed your mind.
FILUMENA ESPOSITO  Henry,I’m very happy you’ve decided to stay.
SALVATORE ESPOSITO  I think I speak for my sister,Carla as well when I say that we would both like to welcome you into our family.


(V/O) I could not have expected on that day so long ago now that my life would change beyond recogniton within such a short space of time.I bid farewell to my old way of life,and immersed myself into a new life,and although there have been days when I’ve missed England,and all that I knew before,I would not exchange any of it.I have a son,this alone is worth anything I could have back

                  (V/O CONTINUED)
home.I have the company of a good woman,Filumena.I have my grandchildren,Salvatore and Carla.Watching this young
man Salvatore as he goes about his daily business is uncanny,he resembles me so much.It’s rather like watching a young version of myself.I find it somehow reassuring that he will still be around when I am gone.A physical
reminder of my existence.Neither Salvatore or Carla call me ‘Nonno’,the Italian for grandfather,but Carla’s children do.No one has corrected them by telling them it should be great grandfather in their case.



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