Good storytellers can spin the details of a trip to the grocery store into a side-splitting tale of hijinks and hilarity; this was not the case with my father. His stories, presented in broken English, had long philosophical tangents that scattered the narrative arc across a path far longer than any reasonable attention span could follow. But we listened, first out of respect, and ultimately, in awe knowing that the loss of this ephemeral content would be tragic. The legacy of Pietro Alessandro Bonamico will not be in monuments or statues. It will not rest on a plaque in an office or the inscription on the back of a gold watch. It will be an enduring tribute through the stories and experiences that begin with three words: "I still remember."
Over the years, a great many conversations about my father began with the words "I still remember." When I began working with the Mad River Chorale, people would often approach me after a concert—not with comments about the evening's music, but to say that they still remembered my father's Spaghetti Carbonara from the Beef and Bottle. Just as often, a Facebook conversation with a former classmate would start with the statement, "I still remember the pizza we had at your house in second grade." I was not entirely surprised when, after learning that I was the son of the Piero Bonamico he had worked with decades ago, a seventy-year-old bartender at a four-star restaurant in New York City said, "I still remember how nobody could get any tips after your father worked on a ship because he made all the money!"
I hope to collect more of these stories and use them at our memorial service this spring. Please share your memories with the family here as comments on this post (just click the link below). If you have a picture to share, you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, my father will be missed, but his selfless dedication to family and community will allow his spirit to endure through these beautiful stories. I want to thank you for your contributions to this project and the beautiful words of support you have sent us already.