My dearest Yampa,
this short letter is for you … Do you remember when I was little and I couldn’t pronounce the word grandpa so I started to call you Yampa? Little did I know how much that word would mean to me over the years and will mean to me forever.
For children, grandparents are the symbol of wisdom but also the people that always give in to whatever request grandchildren make. But you were different. You were the Yampa that would take us to England on adventurous trips. You were the Yampa that would take us to public foot paths, watch cricket matches in Lancashire and get us to appreciate the English countryside. You were the Yampa that would drive for miles to take us to car boot sales but also to the places that had so profoundly marked the English roots of our family. Nothing could make us feel more special than sitting next to you in your ‘right handed’ Rover.
But you were also the Yampa that inspired us with love for music instilling in us the added value that music can give to a person’s life. There was never a dull moment when we came to your house – it was better that an amusement park! The piano, the organ, the billiard table, the darts , the jukebox or just writing on the blackboard with colored chalk eating liquorice allsorts. You managed to make us feel like adults when, together, we painted your room turning this simple gesture into a memory to treasure. Everything was magical in your study, the books and the newspapers you used to hold with both hands, turning the pages over as though they were made of gold and reading even the smallest footnote.
Summer also meant going to Jesolo and you would make even that special with the mini-golf, the traditional walk on 15th August to choose the flashiest hotel and the ‘I spy with my little eye’ game in the evenings. You used to love watching us run into the sea and we were so proud of our Yampa.
Growing up we started to see things with different eyes and the light-heartedness of childhood was replaced with the awareness that our family was different and that you were the origin of our uniqueness. We began to understand the immense advantage of having two cultures and of integrating the English mentality into our perception and understanding of reality.
With time some of your favorite quotes gained a different meaning and among them ‘live every day as though it was your last’ and ‘the best things in life are free’ encouraging us to appreciate beautiful landscapes became your most important teachings. You managed to live up to our expectations right until the end showing a degree of sweetness and ability to endure pain we will never forget.
The future is a big question mark now that you are no longer among us but we can assure you that we will do our best to make you as proud of us as we have always been of you. You brought England to Arzignano and we will make sure that we keep up the good work started by you.
With all our love
Marianna and Riccardo