I never met him. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even seen his photo. But I have been told about him so many times, that a vibrant image comes to mind. A dashing figure. A fine story teller. A man of wit and charm and good looks. He could draw and paint and play many instruments. He gave lessons. He had a following, and was invited to parties. His siblings adored him as someone with a “great gift”. You knew when he entered the room. Scarlet lined cape flipped over a shoulder, soft Fedora at a jaunty angle over one eye, sporting a hand carved cane. He filled the space. He had presence.
But in his heart of hearts who was he? In the down times, when left to himself? Sure he came to family functions on occasion. And if you know anything about Italian family functions you know the warmth, and food, and good times that entails. But in the end, all my mom could tell me is he married a barmaid and they had many children. Mom never met them. The family always stayed home.