by Mariam

My great-great-grandfather was a very famous pianist in Italy. He learned to play the piano at a very early age. His teacher was his grandmother who used to live with them. His first present at the age of one was a tiny plastic piano given by his granny. His formal lessons started at four. He would come home from school and then after a couple of hours, the lessons would start. They would continue till his mentor was satisfied with his performance.

He achieved fame and success early in life and when he was only 25, people would travel from all over the world to listen to him play. It was during one of his recitals that he saw Mary-Alice, his future wife and my great-great-grandmother. It was love at first sight and there was no turning back.

She bore him eight children; the youngest of them was my grandfather. Out of the entire lot, only three of his children took up music as a profession. Even then, they could not hold a candle to him or his talent.

My grandfather was never into music and became a talented architect instead. Still, whenever he would talk about his father, his eyes would become misty and his voice would quiver. There was a strong and distinct sense of pride that would be apparent in his conversation. Even though, he didn’t follow in his footsteps, he thought the world of him.

His pictures are displayed all over my father’s house. My grandfather migrated to America and never thought of going back home. He would occasionally visit Italy to see his mother who continued to live in the same house till her death. After her demise, Italy became a vague memory.

Interestingly, I went to Italy with my husband last year. I ended up at a beautiful art gallery where pictures of famous artists were displayed and I was proud to see my great-great-grandfather’s portrait hung there.

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