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Our good friend Pietro lost his dear wife Paola. We were all shocked and saddened. We lived in the same building in the little town of Fiesole just outside of Florence. They were extremely important to us, as the helped us adjust to Italian life and kept us from getting into too much trouble.

We considered Paola to be an important guide for us, and with her death we were left with a number of pieces that didn’t necessarily make sense any more. Pietro returned to California with us for 3 weeks at Christmas time, and we were able to observe how difficult it was for him to adjust to his involuntary new life.

Although we certainly were saddened by the loss of a friend, he suffered the loss of a partner. Our experience paled next to his. Yet our reflections were deep and searching. We were struck by the need to continually recreate the dream, no matter who we are.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


I found your black velvet scarf
By the letter you lost in the drawer
Located the missing spare key
And the last puzzle piece on the floor

I hear our favorite song
In the car as I drive to the store
Recall every touch of your hand
See that old opal ring that you wore

Sometimes I hear your voice on the phone
Hope when I come back I’ll find you at home
Now I discover I’m on my own
Lonely and all alone

Some days I try to erase
Those reminders that get in my way
I find each lingering trace
But I can’t find a reason to stay
There isn’t a reason today
No I can’t find a reason to stay


from Reason to Stay, track released January 1, 2005
Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Tom Tomasello - Producer/Arranger
Jim Bruno - Vocal producer
Mr Toad's San Francisco - Mastering
Inspiration - Paola Quagli


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Cheryl and Emerson Martlage San Diego, California

At the age of 48, and after 25 years of marriage, we headed to a secluded town for 6 weeks, to create a new relationship and begin again.

When we arrived as if by magic, we co-wrote our first song ever— "Never Sleep," evoking the mystery and magic of the new adventure. Twenty years later, we're still making music. Join us on our musical storytelling as the adventure continues to unfold
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