I first received the hardcover in the summer of 1982 as a going-away present from a dear,
dear friend who knew how much I'd enjoyed Buscaglia's work, having read some of his earlier
books and seen his appearances on public television. It was quite the sentimental token to
take along as I embarked on what turned out to be a three-year adventure in Italy. A lot of
my first year there was very lonely, and Buscaglia's warm, soothing words were a comfort
to me in my most homesick times and gave me hope. More than merely a gift from a
good friend, the book itself became a friend that I could turn to again and again.
Weeks after returning to the States, in December 1985, I attended a performance of Lily
Tomlin's Broadway show, and during the intermission, I noticed a man who could only have
been Leo Buscaglia chatting animatedly with a woman a few rows ahead. My heart raced; my
mind debated. After all, wasn't he there to enjoy himself as much as I was? Yet I had to meet
the man whose work had touched me so. I mustered all my courage and approached him. "I'm
sorry to interrupt, but are you Leo Buscaglia?" He smiled warmly as he nodded. I blanked on
what to say next. Finally, thinking of what I considered to be his trademark, I blurted,
"Could I have a hug?" It was a magical moment. The man was so loving and genuine that I knew I'd done the right thing in going up to him--plus, it was the most heartfelt hug I've ever received in my life. That really cemented the book's meaning for me.
Laurie Kahn, Associate Managing Editor