I have memories of Giovanni since grade school. I was on his bus route home.
In middle school I recall that he wore an ergonomic back-pack, made from brown paper or leather and had shoulder straps, and it fitted across the back. American kids were outfitted with denim rectangular sacs with a draw-string pull to cich the top. The bus kids jeered and laughed at him about his weird unit he’d always turn to look directly at them, then he’d flash that million dollar smile, and get off the bus. Didn’t phase him one bit. Didn”t respond a word. Just got up and left. I realized that was because he knew there was a bigger world out there than those yokels knew; but even so, he had such an impressive adult, and understated, response...
His parents often came to his bus-stop drop-off point after school to greet him and his sister. Giovani always Ran to greet them. I recall thinking his mom was so pretty w/ her long hair, and so hip in her leather belt and jeans...But more importantly, I thought it was incredibly nice of them to put out the effort to do that. I remember spotting Giovanni when I attended an event down at the historical marker place (by Eagleville fire department and Ball Hill road intersection) only to learn his Dad was to lead an informational showing on ‘How to shear a sheep’ ! Ha!
I remember thinking they were such an interesting family. So different than mine
Later in high school, Giovanni and I had 9th grade English together, with Mrs.Singer. He sat behind me. I’d hear odd noises, only to turn around and find Giovnni under the desk! Or, sitting on top of it, or, on top of the back of the chair! He would even answer her questions from his knees on the floor beside his desk! (Of course the answers were always spot-on and full-coverage!) My eyes would get so surprised by what I was seeing; then Giovanni would see me looking, become self-conscious, and then flash that million dollar smile at me He was so hyper, yet being a good student, never left his desk or roamed the room; he simply adjusted his personal space to a larger sphere which was more tolerable. Quietly intrepid and adaptive, much more so than the average student would ever think of. ^_^
He was brilliant, eccentric, and wonderful!
I knew he would “do well and go far” but I didn’t know How or Where. At each high school reunion I’d ask around about him. Somewhere early on, I heard he was in the Stock Market, but after that nobody seemed to know anything. Giovanni never attended any of the reunions When I learned about facebook and joined, just to keep in touch w/ my E.O.S. classmates; he wasn’t on there either. Disappointed, I often wondered what happened to him. I still eagerly looked forward to lobbing ‘ye old’ standard reunion query:
“SO0ooo what have You been up to all these years?!”
I feel very twisted around and deprived because I’ll never get that Post-High-School chat.
Unfortunately, one seems to learn more from a person’s obituary than when they were alive. Apparently, he did go far and wide and was talented and brilliant all the way through!
His loving family, spouse, and friends have known all along ‘what he was up to’ and were able to enjoy him right up to the end. I am so desperately sorry he went so fast, w/o warning. I do hope your many memories will tide you over, till you too pass, and you can see him again.
For me, I’ll forever remember that beautiful million dollar smile.
These memories are sent with sincerity, and with sorrow.
Michelle Sandra Berry