Carlo and Betty Bruno have played golf from St. Andrews in Scotland to courses in Ireland, Italy and Australia. A love for the game brought the pair together at a St. Louis driving range in 1959—and they have been traveling the world together ever since.
After retirement, the travel bug only intensified for Carlo, 88, and Betty, 87. Through Road Scholar, a nonprofit educational travel organization, the couple has jetted off to Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand, among other locales. They have been mesmerized by the epic Three Gorges Dam spanning the Yangtze River in China, the stunning red glow of Ayers Rock in Australia, and the charming sounds of street musicians in Cuba.
The visit to Cuba—one of the couple’s most memorable trips—was sparked by their interest in seeing how it had changed since Carlo traveled there while serving in the U. S. Air Force in the 1940s. “Everywhere you go, there is someone singing or playing an instrument,” Carlo says.
For the Brunos, travel is all about the educational and cultural experiences—not the shopping. “Spend your money on trips—not gizmos,” Betty advises. And the pair has unique ways of capturing each new experience. “Every trip we go on, Betty takes the photos, and I do the drawings,” says Carlo, who also is an artist.
While they love to travel, the Brunos also enjoy coming home to St. Louis. The city’s thriving arts scene, from St. Louis Symphony concerts to STAGES St. Louis shows, interests them most. And, of course, there is time with family: their grandchildren and their wide range of activities, from music lessons to soccer games, keep the couple on their toes.
A typical day at the Bruno home is buzzing with activities in the drawing room—where Betty hand-sews quilts, and Carlo draws everything from their grandchildren to presidents and golf courses to cars, airplanes and trains. Some of their masterpieces line the walls of their home: Many of Carlo’s scratchboard works grace the walls of the drawing room, and a quilt sewn by Betty, along with members of the Mead Quilters in England, is displayed in their kitchen. The Brunos also are active at their church, St. Gerard Majella Parish, where Carlo has headed up construction projects and Betty always is ready to create something new with the quilt group. “I’ve always got a quilt in my mind if I don’t have one in the frame,” she says.
But no matter what keeps the Brunos busy in St. Louis, the itch to travel never leaves them. Betty says the great thing about aging is that you live in the moment, always planning for another trip in the near future—not a decade down the line. “Who knows where we’ll go next?” Carlo says.