November 13, 2022
On this day, three years ago, my father left us. It took me the first two to forget the ugliness of the disease, what it means for a person who is cerebrally active to slowly extinguish like a candle who has withstood the winds of life, who has clung to all his strength not to give up but who had to surrender to the slowness of a sick heart that pumped little and that also badly watered his brain. What he put to the test to test the resistance recalling old poems, in the moments in which he lost much of his lucidity the fact that he recognized the actors of a film constituted for us the hope that his struggle to remain lucid was winning. But his body, together with his mind, said that every day he was less and less able, more and more in need of care, more and more dependent on the help of others.
My dad and I were too alike to never get into a fight. As a child she made up for us, my sister and me, a mammo, she played a lot with us, while in adolescence her severity kept us a little away from the life that flowed, we went out little, only to go to study at a girl’s house. comrade, on Saturdays if you went for a walk, you would return before the age usually allowed for other girls of my age. My adolescence passed between the desire to do well in school, the committed study, the desire for recognition on the part of my parents, especially my father, and the rebellion of those who are denied rights that they think they must acquire to that one. age, for example being able to go to the disco. I saw the first ones at the age of eighteen when my friends came of age. A time, that of majority age, which for me was prolonged: it lasted two years. My sister is less than a year younger than me and when her friends celebrated, I was one of the guests.
My father has always been a point of reference for me.
As a child I learned to bring the two-wheeled bike because he taught me, with him we took the first polaroids that portrayed us in affectionate poses, usually while we were playing. The walls of my room have known the bounce of the tennis ball during all the years we practiced to play, the purchase of a ping pong table kept in the house by the sea met with the same success. I always lost, I lasted in the dribble, but I was often in a defensive situation, I didn’t know how to hit. The ping pong table replaced an old billiard that years before I had been passionate about, so much so that I shared this passion not only with him, but going to challenge other guys who had villas in the nearby avenues. Guys, because with my father I obviously played games that mostly men played.
When I could not understand something about the study, it was him that I turned to. While teaching mathematics, he knew a little bit of everything, perhaps because he read a lot. When I got my tenure in secondary school, I had marketing and finance classes to teach French. Certain concepts were completely abstruse to me, far from my training. If it hadn’t been for him to explain the rudiments of business economics to me, I wouldn’t have been able to get away with it. I should have turned to a private professor. For me he was a father, a professor, a person from whom I inherited the taste for knowledge, the desire to learn.
Perhaps I inherited the way of conceiving the school from him who was not only the head teacher, but the mathematics teacher who loved to have a direct relationship with the boys. Although he embodied the rationality of those who have to run a school, he has never forgotten the impromptu nature of those who, seeing a beautiful sunny day and tired pupils, organized a volleyball match with the boys in which he too participated. The school he directed was a kind of home, he had a direct relationship with his teachers with whom he used to have long conversations, with some more than with others. He was a speaker, it wasn’t easy to listen to him, but listening to him you always learned something.
Sometimes he told of the times when, immediately after the war, there was a city to be rebuilt, a starving city that showed its poverty when, having crossed the door, entered the houses to bring bread to those who he had ordered. A poor meal, as the pockets of those who bought it were poor, but who lived in the hope that once the worst was over, one could only expect the renewed ability to stand up and live a more serene life again, where the economic recovery would have made it possible to loosen that belt that held tight to the hips the trousers that often fell down due to excessive thinness. At other times he talked about topics relevant to the school, about the school progress of the pupils, but also about family problems and events that concerned his life or that of his employees. He recognized the value of the person of his employees, he was tied to all of the esteem that she was reciprocated.
At home he often talked about his past, about how many kilometers he grinded as a boy when he traveled mostly on foot, about adventures with friends on the street. The road was the constant scenario of part of his life, the one that makes you breathe the reality of times when he lived contenting himself with little.
In adult life, she has always believed that acquiring the possibility of educating herself meant acquiring that economic independence that allows a woman to be able to choose her path without thinking that she would necessarily feel satisfied in marriage, be able to travel, be free from constraints. to be trapped in a relationship functional to its maintenance. For a man, getting educated meant, on the other hand, getting a job that allowed him to carry out the project of starting a family, buying a house without having to beg from a boss for career advancement, without the human being having to place himself in the position of humiliation in order to achieve what he would have achieved on a regular basis in a fairer society. He never speculated by paying his teachers badly, because speculating for him was symptomatic of the denial of the values he believed in.
Although he was a generous person, he knew how to bestow with justice, I bought my first car with the first money I earned. He taught the value of effort in conquering a material good, he gave me what had no price: education, education, it was up to me to make use of what was offered to me. He taught me the value of sacrifice, that of friendship which has a value that transcends pure convenience. I have had friends from all walks of life, the same goes for loves. My father taught me to look at the person more than the title or what he owned, he treated as a son who I loved despite coming from a modest family background.
In elementary school I had a teacher forerunner of all the successive theories on the well-being of the psyche and the body: she taught us the pleasure of inventing stories starting from images, she took us to the garden to do speed races in the race to be able to grab a handkerchief and give the correct answer. I was a fool in speed, I was anything but sporty, but to answer I ran like a madman. I loved the weekly English hours, even more during the Christmas period. I learned that and as a child, at school, accompanied by the musical instrumentation made available by my uncle, “We Are the World”. I was excited by the thought that the proceeds of that song were donated to poor countries, I thought that even the disinherited children, perhaps thanks to those donations, could forget poverty for a day.
I come from this school, a school where every activity was aimed at achieving objectives that did not concern only knowledge: learning to read, write, compose stories, solve problems, history and geography, everything was aimed at forming a better man . Able to get excited, spend their energies for the common good, get excited for a cause. Where harmony meant trying to give the best of oneself in the perspective of being useful to the other as well.
Today my father is gone, but his ideas remain, his spirit that lives in me, his reflection that I see in the things or in certain people around me. His body isn’t there, I don’t hear his voice, I don’t hear him cheering for Inter scoring a goal, but I feel that breath that keeps me warm in the moments when an icy wind blows in my heart.
In the photo: Toka, Angela Di Finizio