Piero was at school with me at the Don Bosco Salesian School in Beirut , from the end of 8th grade to the end of 10th grade/beginning of 11th grade. His name was Piero Karam, born of an Italian mother and a Lebanese father. One day he asked us to start calling him Piero Lucia.
From what I have since found out, Piero had two sisters and a brother. He talked with me about his sister Paola ( in part due to the fact that we shared the same name).
His cousin, Cherine, a classmate of mine at the Italian School for girls, with whom Piero got me in touch after 45 years, was the one who announced to me the sad news about him, a few days after he had had his 55th birthday….
Piero also studied in Egypt after the Italian schools shut down in Beirut, during the Civil war. I believe he went there with his mother. He was a student at the Franciscan’s Italian school in Cairo. I am not sure how long he remained there. Some of the classmates do remember him there too.
Once, I knew he was going to NY and we met there after many years. Later I knew he had moved to Los Angeles. There he became an editor for an Italian newspaper servicing the Italian community. Piero was also an author (I corrected a series of French writings he had authored and wanted to publish under an assumed name…however per his request I will not divulge the name). He was a sweet, unpretending person and one of his wishes was to have a school reunion in NYC. “Let’s try, you never know” he would tell me, full of enthusiasm… however this feat proved to be difficult to say the least. He always wished he had not been so far from the European continent.
A few years ago he requested a picture of me and then removed all the fine lines to give me a more youthful appearance. Being Piero, he asked me to forgive him if I had been insulted. I had a good laugh and told him I looked much better without all the touch-ups!
Piero was passionate about “Star Wars”, so you can imagine how surprised I was to know he had written a book of Italian recipes!
(His other writings were stories of outer space, intergalactic populations and wars…). The last comments we exchanged, sadly, were about the beautiful pictures of Italian pasta dishes depicted in his book.
Piero loved friendships and he never put himself first. He never asked to be recognized nor famous: if one remembered him , he was happy about it, if he could help, he did. When my e mail was hacked into, he had words of wisdom for me. When I thanked him he said:” Friends are here to help their friends!”
For those who know Piero, I am sure you agree with me that he was a true gentleman and coined this term!
For those who did not know him, please look around you for the “Piero” of this world…it is probable you already know one just like him, maybe someone you say hello to every day but don’t stop to talk to…
A Life always counts, even when it is in the background, does not make noise and is pretty quiet.
PAOLA DURANT RONCAGLIA