What a grandfather is.
His name’s Italo, a characteristic name for a peculiar person, he’s my grandfather, and I love him.
He was born in 1931 and during the world war 2 he was the youngest and skinniest of his 3 brothers and 2 sisters. His own grandmother for that reason used to smuggle an egg a day for him to drink it right away and quickly, hidden from his siblings.
He grew up in a poor family of farmers, and for that reason, since he was a boy, he developed a strong link to the sense of family, in particular to the kind of mutual help that becomes a must when resources are low and the mouths are many.
He worked in the fields until the age of 15, when he received a job proposal as an apprentice tailor 60 kilometers away from Asiago, his small hometown. That was another defining moment of his life, as he found himself facing alone the unknown city and the unbelievable number of new faces that suddenly surrounded him.
He was courageous, and he was moved by the sacred flame of redeeming the fate of his family, as many others did in those years, when people actually cared about providing and give back tenfold what they’ve received from their parents. That was because behind a loaf of bread there was a good measure of sacrifice, giving it a completely different taste, called VALUE.
His humble origins taught him another important lesson that has been handed down and still exists two generations later:
‘Never get angry, don’t get offended, put aside your pride, and you’ll be happy’.
When he gets to this sentence (quite often in his speeches) he does what every single grandparent does always, he starts with a story, and nothing makes me happier than stand silent hearing it for the 100th time:
“It was 1955, and me and Danilo (his eldest brother) had just moved to Turin to finally get a proper job in FIAT. We were living close to the city’s centre, in a tiny garret and a month later that we arrived, we got our first salary.
In the two weeks before it, we were running low on food and that situation led us to decide that a well furbished pantry would have been a must as soon as we were going to get paid, and with those money, I went to the cheese maker and bought a monstrous wheel of cheese.
Cycling back home, at the last turn, I was almost run over by a tram, I stopped in time, but the cheese rolled over the bike and ended up being split in two under the tram’s wheels.
I didn’t care about public judgement, so I walked where the omelette was and I picked up the remains of it. When I got back home, I hadn’t only a story to tell, but also a good chunk of cheese to savor with it!”
He inspired me with this and many other stories into finding the right dimension to live in, and as he did, I followed his example, and left my house to have a look at the world.
Grazie nonno Italo!
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