45. Baby Love

Italians love babies. Not like the Americans who give phony lip service to family values and protecting the innocent, but then don’t want to spend a nickel on their actual well-being, or even necessarily want to be around them. I mean really love them.

Babies seem to always be out and about with their families, even as late as midnight. Kids can be seen in restaurants, eating dinner at ten o’clock. And remarkably, other people seem to delight in their presence, not seeing it as something that must be tolerated or endured. You see people of all ages, male and female, even teenage boys, stop to peek in the stroller and admire, and even do goofy things to coax a smile from the occupant.

One way this baby love manifests itself is in formal portraits. Here are some seen in a window of a photography studio in Naples. This custom must go back to at least 1921, when these pictures of my father were taken.

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