Letter From The Editor
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"Italian Summers"
Paintings by Dee Bandini.
I have been wanting to write about the subject of wanderlust for some time. First, in the very late winter and early spring, when the feeling, the impulse to go out and travel the world, usually strikes me. There were other things to talk about at that time, and so I do it now. In the structured world in which most of us live, summertime is the greatest opportunity to fulfill this desire to see new things.

Do you get this feeling? You are walking down the street, a road, you are in your car, you are doing a chore, hanging around with your friends, and you get this need to go, to get in a car, on a plane, even a boat, and head for distant shores. Even if you've never been to the place you're dreaming about, you can see it in all its shimmering beauty, promising, before you. The feeling is strong and profound, and even when the feeling's full intensity passes, you are left seriously thinking where in the world you would like to go, places and people to see.

What places are on your wanderlust list? Or is the desire to just wander, here and there, seeing where your adventures take you. Or are there places you MUST see soon, at a certain time in your life?

For me there are so many places, they are almost too many to count. The list includes places I've already been, but where I must, for some reason, return. Before youth is no longer with me, I must go, climb the hills, descend into the valleys, touch the earth, breathe in the air. I feel the need, desperately at times, to return to Tuscany, where my grandparents were born, where a branch of my family still lives. I want to see the towns that my great-grandfather built -- all situated around the natural hot sulfur springs that dot the area of Tuscany around Montecatini. I want to find the Tuscan farmhouse where my great-aunt hid Allied soldiers during World War II, as they fought their way toward northern Europe, to free the people in German-occupied countries. She was medalled by both General Eisenhower and General Montgomery for her efforts, and I want to pay tribute to this sweet lady, whom I only knew as a white haired older woman, by seeing the farmhouse and land where the "resistance" took place, to see the spun silver courage that it took for a young widow, a woman alone in a remote area, to do such a thing.

I want to see again the Amalfi Coast, where my mother's family is from, and the family that still remains. They too have lived in this beautiful spot for countless generations. The crystalline Mediterranean, the towns built right into the cliffs, the hairpin winding roads, where along the side, terraced gardens, mostly of lemon trees, grow. Lemons the size of half a football. My family there lives in a town near Pompeii, nearly right under the still active volcano Vesuvius. It is an ancient place of extraordinary beauty. I want to hike to Vesuvius himself, and touch the hardened, once-molten rock of him with the palm of my hand, and feel the heat that is inside this earth, the heat that both sustains the area with rich soil, but also the heat that threatens terrible danger and destruction. My family there lives in a lovely house. My great-great uncle was mayor of the town, so when the German soldiers came in, they took over the house, and my family lived in a cave in the mountains for the duration. My family preserved one bullet hole in the front hall, they never filled it in, from the day the Germans came in and seized the their home. My family there is warm, and they laugh a lot; they all have the intense blue eyes, azure like the water, that you see in many Mediterranean people.

I must go back to Sicily, a place that bewitched me. I am still enslaved by the spell of the place. I particularly want to go back to one town, for many reasons, but there is a garden at the hotel there, unlike any I have ever seen. There is a person there too, whom I must see again, not for any particular reason, but because I want to know how life has treated him. Sicily is a place entirely of magic.

I want to go back to France; I want to see the Black Forest of Germany and also Ludwig the Mad King's castle; Baden-Baden; the Scottish Highlands; all the Scandinavian countries, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Ireland (and ride their splendid Irish ponies), Africa, Russia, China, Japan, Pakistan, India, Asia, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the South Seas, Australia, New Zealand, South America, pretty much everywhere in the world -- I want to go. I hope someday I will be able to say, yes, I have done this.

I hope you all have an opportunity to exercise your wanderlust, be it exploring your own town or state, looking at your family in a whole new way, finding out about your family tree, learning from where and from whom you came (you learn a great deal about yourself that way), volunteering with kids or older people, giving them the knowledge that there's a great big beautiful world out there before them. Or simply, as we did as children, tired after a day of play, lie on the grass, and look at the sky. As you lie very still, you can see and sense the earth moving. But also, turn over, belly down, and put your face down in the clover and dandelions and grass, and see the whole world that goes on there. It's a busy one.

Whatever you do, just remember that no one is limited, and opportunities for new experiences and beauty are with you always and around you everywhere. Write to me about your wanderlust adventures. Send pictures.

I hope you enjoy the issue. My aim was to jump start your excitement about summertime, particularly with the great photography spread by Carlos Batts of Norma Kamali bathing suits. Ms. Kamali's swim suits are great, and the pictures are POW! Enjoy reading about Yasir, the beautiful young man we met from Pakistan (summer is also looking at boys time!); Michael Cook's unique and compelling art, utilizing the motif of the veil; our Fashion Finds Angels, where we create five very different types of dream brides; the clothing designer of elegance Charles Chang-Lima; our always terrific Top 5 of 5 column, geared for summer fun of any kind, and our Buying Beauty test of lip plumpers.

Two other features I want to mention separately, because I am proud to say they are "firsts" for our publication. We are extremely pleased to show our first men's wear line, Alan Truong. We are extraordinarily pleased over how special and fantastic his work is. The other "first" is our first woman poet! Her name is Kathleen Farragher, and don't miss her two superlative poems in this issue. We are thrilled to have this talented young woman join the Fashion Finds Pantheon.

So go out there and lust to wander, and send me some virtual postcards of your adventures.

Lots of love and keep safe,

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