The year 2013 started with a bang for Gino and Charlotte Narboni.
One morning in early January, they were aboard the Seabourn Quest enjoying breakfast in a perfect setting. The Caribbean sun, the warm weather created the proper backdrop for casual conversation with the couple at the next table.
That may not seem remarkable, but the informal conversation with their neighbors had a profound effect on Gino, Charlotte, and their two daughters Nicole and Cecile Narboni.
This breakfast chat aboard ship led Charlotte to finally acknowledge that it was time to tell the story of Gino’s remarkable life.
WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE . . . became the inspiration and cornerstone of Gino’s 90th birthday celebration in November 2013.
Turn these virtual pages to learn more about the book, how it came to life as well as the stories that continue even now to pop up about Gino and his journey.
This website is dedicated to the writing of WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE… and all the new adventures that we have encountered since its publication.
We hope you enjoy the book.
Charlotte Narboni, who has been married to Gino Narboni for more than 50 years has heard the stories of his adventures countless times . . . so many times that, in recent years, it’s Charlotte who takes over when Gino is asked about his unusual background and history.
Finally, after telling the story of Gino’s adventures so often, and after hearing the phrase “You should write a book . . . ” for the umpteenth time, Charlotte and Gino decided to do just that.
With the approach of his 90th birthday in November 2013, the first edition of WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE . . . was published.
Charlotte Narboni, a former registered nurse, has traveled the world with her husband and two children, Nicole and Cecile Narboni. Her answer to the question, “What do you do?” is always the same. “I do something different every decade.” Charlotte has taught French cooking classes, written weekly newspaper columns on food and travel, and worked as a fundraiser and event planner for Texas Public Radio. For many years, she served on non-profit boards, including The University of Texas, College of Fine Arts Advisory Council, Texas Public Radio, The Youth Orchestra of San Antonio, as well as the San Antonio Arts and Cultural Affairs Committee This is her first full-length book.
Bernard Edinger, Former foreign and defense correspondent for Reuters news agency 1969-2001
"This a wonderful book, about a wonderful man, who had an absolutely EXTRAORDINARY life!"
“This a wonderful book, about a wonderful man, who had an absolutely EXTRAORDINARY life!
“Gino Narboni served in three air forces, those of France, of Israel and the United States, where he reached the rank of Colonel with the functions of Chief Flight Surgeon…because he was a doctor, too!
“A must read for anyone who is interested in larger-than-life characters, especially those who don’t brag about their exploits . . . “
“A book to read when you begin to doubt the resiliency of man”
“This is the simply told story of a man’s life and the tumultuous era he navigated. A description of his life provides a model for us all. The book is in some ways an an interesting history of World War II and events following it. Gino Narboni was a pilot for three different air forces who became a doctor and a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. After the Air Force he became a private practitioner in the field of Oncology. He was born in French Algeria as a Jew who was subject to the whims of the Nazis.The book is a relaxing read. One almost becomes a part of the family. I suppose the characteristic of a good book is that one hates to see it end. This has that in spades. It would do us all good to absorb the lessons taught here.”
“…I’m half way through the book and I’m speechless. I’ve nothing more to say then I’m speechless. What an amazing story. What a privilege it is to know Gino. Oh my gosh!!!”
“You are so right … How could this story not ever have been told? You are forever my hero for making a brave man’s story never forgotten!”
“When I Grow Up” is a great read. I couldn’t put it down. A best seller!”
“Wonderful, well-written story of the remarkable life of a remarkable man!”
“Well written, insightful and frequently quite entertaining. Provide a rare opportunity to understand a very long, very interesting life in its entirety, unlike “memoirs” written while the person is still in mid-career. Gino has had a remarkable life – how many people are active pilots, for example, in the air forces of 3 different countries? How did THAT happen? Well, the answer to that question is in the book.”
“Also, a good memoir like this one provides a wonderful insight into how thing really were at points in time long ago. Life was harder in a lot of ways, some of which you read about in this book. This made me respect not only Gino for having waded through these difficult times, but others as well who were with him personally, or who lived through the same difficult times elsewhere.”
“Highly recommended as a pleasant, informative, and entertaining read!”