Amadeo Marzio Isaia Constellino
4 December 1947
Amadeo grew up in Propriano, Corsica. The family held strong ties back to Italy, despite their home being part of France and so taught their children Corsican, and Italian first, French last. He was the son of a fisherman and spent quite a lot of time on the water helping his father as did many of his siblings.
Amadeo never spent much time in school, but he was an avid reader, able to devour whole books in, often, a matter of hours. He love histories, especially those centred on the ancient Greeks with their great Spartan warriors and their noble philosophers, as well as the Romans and their conquest of the world. He also became addicted to Marx brothers comedies, despite never having learnt a polite word of English — he heartily enjoyed them translated into Italian and made quite a practice of imitating the great Groucho Marx.
When he was seventeen he moved to Naples to try to make his fortune. A brother of one of his friends owned a little coffee shop and agreed to give the young man work to keep him from starving. Soon Amadeo proved indispensable to Raul and started to be thought of as an adopted son or baby brother — Raul’s wife, Josée, frequently inviting the cavalier young man to dinner. Amadeo found himself with ever greater pay and responsibility at the café, and supplemented himself with music — something he had always held a great talent for. Raul and Josée tried to talk him into becoming a professional musician, but Amadeo preferred to keep his music spontaneous and fun, something he felt could only happen if he were sitting on the city pavements or beneath the trees of a park.
Eventually a young woman attending college in the city visited the shop and caught Amadeo’s eye. As he handed her the cappuccino and biscotti she’d ordered he asked her to a movie. She refused, but did frequent the shop. Amadeo would converse with her as he could, asking her to the movies from time to time and often refusing to charge her for her orders. Raul didn’t mind this, the young woman often brought friends and Amadeo was a hard worker and a good man who more than made up for the cost of one woman’s coffee (and Raul wasn’t blind, so encouraged Amadeo’s attempts to get the lady’s attention).
Eventually he wrote a song, and brought his guitar to the shop, determined to do so every day until she next came. He only had to wait two days. Josée took over waiting and bussing the tables for him while he played for the young Rachele and the half dozen other patrons present, including the young man who Rachele had brought along to study with. When he was finished, Amadeo extended, again, his invitation for a night at the cinema. This time she accepted.
They fell in love, they married, and — as is often the course of such things — had many children.
He continued to work with Raul, becoming manager of the shop he met Rachele in when Raul decided to open a second shop in another part of the city, and then became co-owner of the two, and eventually sole owner when none of Raul’s own children took interest in the coffee business and he was ready to retire. Amadeo eventually opened a total of four shops and did well by his little family with them and through his wife’s shrewd talent for money management and investing. He salary at the school helped a lot as well.
Amadeo was immeasurably fond of his grandchildren and often called them his treasures; he was ever a caring and devoted father and husband but, he said, grandchildren are all the fun and none of the responsibility and so the true treasure, value, and meaning to life.
Amadeo had been left with a weakened heart in his twenties by an accidental case of lead poisoning. On 24 August 2008 he died in his sleep of heart failure.
Sally had always been the closest of his grandchildren, an irony not missed on the pair given that she was — physically — his most distant grandchild. The two shared a bond as she was so clearly a female clone of himself, irreverent and cheeky, but sweet and caring; fond of laughing and determined the the mysteries of life and the universe can be unravelled with music. He had been surprised to learn that Salencia had taken an interest in the young girls of her classes, rather than the young boys, but he never said anything against it — he never said a word about it at all to anyone except a few quiet and private ones with Rachele.
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