Gateway: Living

Retired PSD teacher helps readers see Italy through his eyes

Paul Spadoni began his career as a journalist and photojournalist for The Gateway, but after a few years, he used on-the-job experience to become a journalism teacher. During his 31 years as a teacher, the student newspaper he advised, The Peninsula Outlook, was inducted into the scholastic journalism hall of fame.
Paul Spadoni began his career as a journalist and photojournalist for The Gateway, but after a few years, he used on-the-job experience to become a journalism teacher. During his 31 years as a teacher, the student newspaper he advised, The Peninsula Outlook, was inducted into the scholastic journalism hall of fame. Courtesy

Paul Spadoni’s path to becoming a published author was a rather unexpected one.

A retired Peninsula School District teacher and owner and operator of Paul Spadoni Asphalt Maintenance, Spadoni never aspired to write a book.

But he got some advice on the subject early in his life from a hometown source. Ruth Crook, a former English teacher at Peninsula High School, told Spadoni to pursue writing in college.

“She praised my writing and encouraged me to consider writing as a career,” Spadoni said, “and that contributed to my decision to major in journalism in college.”

Still, becoming a published author was never on his radar. He started blogging about his experiences in Italy once he was financially able to make trips regularly.

In his new travel memoir, “An American Family in Italy,” Spadoni recalls his time in Padova with his wife, Lucy, and their two teenage daughters.

Spadoni never though his travel would turn into an Amazon.com bestseller, but after getting so much positive feedback from his blog, he decided to look to publishing his fondest memories.

“It pleases me to know that someone else may be enjoying something I wrote, laughing at my mistakes and learning from my discoveries,” Spadoni said.

Even with his notes and blog posts though, he discovered early that writing a travel memoir is strange because one has to think about they will write while they are experiencing something.

“It’s always a struggle to sit down and do the writing,” Spadoni said. “In some ways, this takes away some of the pleasure of the experience, makes a seem a bit like work.”

Once his experiences are written down, he’s able to sit back and enjoy those moments forever, he said.

Spadoni wants his book to show people Italy though his family’s eyes.

While he may not have had dreams of becoming a famous author when he was younger, writing is something that’s always been part of his life.

“I wrote a play in fourth grade, just for the fun of it. My teacher saw it and had me select classmates to play the parts,” he said, “and then we presented it for the whole school.”

He looked back on that time, saying that if he hadn’t been so naïve he might have been nervous, but at the time it seemed normal for the school to share his work in that way.

As a business owner and author, Spadoni has found it difficult to balance both areas of his life since he works 10 hour days from May to September on his road maintenance business, leaving little time to work on his writing.

“I found it frustrating when my editor finished her first round of editing in April of 2015 and I had no time to look at her suggestions until autumn,” he said.

He does appreciate the different pursuits though.

“After about six months of one activity, I find myself looking forward to changing my focus from one to the other,” Spadoni said.

Early on in his career he worked as a journalist and a photojournalist at The Peninsula Gateway, but started teaching journalism, photography, graphic design and English for the Peninsula School District, eventually moving to the South Kitsap School District in 2002 and retiring from teaching in 2010.

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