Now & Forever ABCs (Zoë)

Zoë Aini Constellino née Ayishah

15 September 1972
Jehovah‘s Lawyer

Zoë grew up with wealth, as her parents had a fair income between writing and inheritance by the time she was born.  Still, she never liked high society, nor flaunting wealth — instead her love mirrored that of her parents:  travel, and experiencing the world from the level of the natives.  She loved living in little Chilean villages and eating local home cooked foods to the versions found in the fancy restaurants of the big cities of the world.

She has many friends, dear and diligently kept in touch with, literally around the world — including one person who has recently taken up residence at a science station in Antarctica.  She can speak many languages, and insists she’s uncertain just how many, and can read and write in nearly all of them, and knows anything from a few swear words to enough broken phrases to get along if stranded somewhere in easily several dozen more.

Zoë is French by birth and overall culture, as her family frequently returned to Reims, France where they maintained a large house; she was also educated, primarily, in French schools, though she spent part of high school in Germany.  Though few realise her heritage given that her English is often closer to Public School British English than anything else, and her physical appearance takes heavily from her father’s Haryanvi family, she still favours French foods, and her first and preferred languages is French — reverting to it if she’s stressed enough to forget herself.

She gained a deep fondness for horses as a little girl when her family stayed with a family of Gauchos in Argentina for a summer, but due to her parents’ wanderlust she was unable to ever have a horse of her own — though she rode those of friends every chance she got, and even gained some proficiency in some of the events of equestrianism.  Though for the first of their wedding anniversaries in Colorado, Lucas took her to a ranch whose horses she’d repeatedly remarked on the beauty and grace of so that she might choose one of her own.  She’d, in her own turn, got him one of his favourite models of Camaro — though both would admit that her method of presentation was far more creative than his.

Now & Forever ABCs (Nonnino)

Amadeo Marzio Isaia Constellino

4 December 1947
Roman Catholic

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.

Now & Forever ABCs (Mlle Jeanette)

Mademoiselle Jeanette Louise Marie Deveraux née Olivier

22 June 1964
Roman Catholic

Mademoiselle Jeanette, as she insists her students call her, is a Parisian ballerina who studied at L’École de Danse de l’Opéra de Paris and performed with various ballet companies including the Opéra National de Paris until after the birth of her second child when she elected to begin teaching instead.

In the late nineties Gabriel, her husband, was offered a promotion that caused the family to locate to Tacoma. Undaunted, Mademoiselle bid adieu to her French students and had an appointment with a real estate agent to look for a location for her new school scheduled the very day after her plane landed in Seattle.

She is a quirky woman who loves to laugh and to see her students laugh. While her English is letter perfect, and if she cares to she can speak with a nearly Oxfordian English accent, she does not make the conscious effort that such a feat requires for her, and has been known to exaggerate her native Parisian accent to various levels just to see the smiles it elicits.

Hers is a repertory school, Jeanette having never lost her love of the stage, and combines her favourite class of students:  children. As a result she accepts experienced students between the ages of eight and eighteen.  Though many of her students give up dance after graduation, a fact that she is quite philosophical about, those who have gone on to careers as dance instructors or performers have been successful, a fact that she is quite proud of.