Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Gammari

Lately I could not stop thinking about my grandfather. His name was Jean-Marie Cefai, died at age 82 in 1987. That makes it more than eighteen years that he’s gone. My grandfather was a weird character. When he was very young his father migrated to Tunisia together with his wife and only son. There they lived in an Italian and French community where in his late twenties Jean-Marie met my grandmother Giannina d’Angelo. Just before the second world war he came back to Malta where he lived together with his wife and three kids till he died. Nobody called him Jean-Marie, only my Italian-French grandmother. All the rest called him Gammari, with that heavy maltese accent.

Until he was my age my grandfather never worked. He lived off his father’s and his father-in-law’s money, which were both prosperous businessmen in Tunis. Back in Malta he had to start to earn a living. Then he became a socialist. Well not really, a Mintuffjan is more appropriate. And he had good reasons to be. In a country where pseudo-historians try to make us believe that under the Mintoff government of the 70’s Malta has been through it’s worst period in history, have never met my grandfather. In his fifties he lost half of his right hand while working on a sawing machine. The joinery firm he worked for, still in operation today, sacked him. They had no use for a semi-invalid. He depended for his livelihood on his children, mainly my father. Then Mintoff came and gave him a pension.

I don’t know why I am writing all this but whenever something important happens in my life I always remember Gammari. I was the only one from all of my cousins that had the right to call him Gammari. Whatever I did was perfect to his eyes. That’s why I sought his approval because I knew I would get it. How proud he would have been last Thursday.

Death is a strange thing. I cannot understand how is it possible that a person that I have known for less than half of my life is still so present and important in whatever I do. Not that I believe in the afterlife or reincarnation but I truly believe that man remains immortal as long as his name is remembered.
This post is to remember your name nan.

2 comments:

Aurélie said...

Hello,
I am currently working with the Malta independent on sunday, and i would like to write a story about the maltese bloggers. i saw your blogs on the internet, and i would like to ask you a few questions, to know a bit more the maltese bloggers, because i think this "revolution" is interesting (I myself have a blog!). i read parts of them, but unfortunately i didnt have time to read everything.
why did you decide to blog and when ?
do you regurlarly blog?
how would you describe your blog?
what is your own definition of a blog?
do you know how many people visit your blog?
what kind of blog do you personnally like?
do you go to blogs made by your friends, or from people you know, or do you discover some by chance?
what kind of things do you usually talk about in your blog ? personal stuff? politics? news?
how do you explain the fact that more and more people blog?
thank you for your help.
aurelie

aherbemont@wanadoo.fr

Anonymous said...

Gammarie wasn't the only one who was proud of you last thursday...