Hartford, CT – It was a love match that needed some nudging. Peter Bilello, working in America, was back home in southern Sicily when his mother questioned her unmarried son as only a mother could. “My mother asking me, ‘say, why don’t you get married? What are you waiting for?” Bilello said. “She said, ‘I know a nice girl on the same street and her name is Grace. Take a look and see if you life,'” his mother said to him, he added.
He looked at Grace Caruso and liked what he saw. So did she. “She had to like me to get married in 40 days,” Bilello said with a laugh.
The couple moved to Hartford where they were blessed with two children and four grandchildren. Their enduring love, eventually symbolized in two, one dollar bills.
“Why, I don’t know, that happened to come to my mind like this, so we both signed. I signed one and she signed the other one. And, I said ‘this dollar is going to be in my wallet forever,'” Bilello said.
But five years ago, Bilello accidentally spent it. “I feel so mad, I feel sorry and said, ‘we’re never going to see those two dollars back again,'” he added.
Bilello lost Grace to breast cancer last year, five months after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Seven months later, there was a miraculous discovery when he took his grandaughter to a Subway and looked at the three dollars he received in change. “When I see the first one, it was my wife’s dollar. ‘Oh my God. Ashley, look at Nona’s dollar, back again 5 years later,'” Bilello said.
The dollar with Grace B. on the front mended his broken heart. “I never thought I was going to get that dollar back again, never,” he said. “The first thing I said, ‘Grace, she did this to make me happy and her to be happy, too,'” Bilello said.
Visits to Grace’s gravesite are now more comforting for Peter. “What do you think? I believe in miracles. I believe, too. Every,time I go over there, I cry, I say, ‘Grace you did this,'” Peter added.