On Sunday March 17 the Orange County Register carried a story, written by Deepa Sharath, about a 70 year old Italian Gisberto Bertucci who wished to return to his native hometown - Pontecosi, Italy, to spend his remaining years.
In her article Deepa Sharath wrote about Gisberto Bertucci , who is a fixture at the Starbucks, Pacific Coast Highway and Bayside Drive, where he sketches free portraits of the patrons, on coffee cup lids as well as helping decorate the store's Christmas tree.
It is heartwarming to know there are still many people, in our present economic state, that still dig deep in their pockets to help those less fortunate among us. The patrons of the Starbucks store, under the leadership of "Marc Foster" a financial consultant, have created a fund to send "Bert back home"; after learning that he had told the Register - and I quote the article - "when you close the paragraph of your life, you want to go home".
Another support came in an email from Luca Scognamiglio of Pentecosi who said he posted the Register article on the towns Facebook page and received a response from many of the residents in support of his return. While none of his relatives still live in the town, some of the people still remember him and will be happy to welcome him and give him any help he may need.
In the meantime Gisberto Bertucci still carries coffee lids in his bag, sketching when he gets the chance, either in his spot at the Starbucks or on the Laguna Beach boardwalk where he plays chess in the late mornings.
Say hello to Gisberto, if you happen to be in any of these areas, and if you wish to help send him home you can send contributions to "M Foster in trust for Bert Bertucci", Starbucks, 377 E Coast Highway, Newport Beach CA, 92660.