This year my dear ragazzi, I will not write words of mine to wish you nice and resting holidays , as I have been touched by the episode that have shocked the community of a municipality in my country in Sicily, RAVANUSA. A gas explosion has destroyed 7 buildings , forming a giant crater where 9 persons have lost their lives. One of them was Pietro Carmina, a retired philosophy school teacher much loved by his students.
I’d love to unite to his ragazzi and give a thought to him and to his contribution to the life of many many students , translating the letter he wrote to them when he retired 3 years ago, from Istituto Foscolo in Canicatti’.
Dear friends, in the world , there are so many Professor Carmina, so many dedicating their lives to reach the souls and the real feelings of many ragazzi in the classes, instilling passion, love, real and profound knowledge and experiences. Students who are not numbers , but hearts blossoming to life. I hope you’ll make this letter yours for any moment of despair, lost of sight and fatigue during your beautiful path of life.
Keep your dreams alive and the tiller handle straight, also in these difficult time of Pandemic, stay steadfast on your feet, there will always be someone willing to guide and support you.
Professor Carmina, grace and grandness to you, you’ll be remembered.
“To my ragazzi, of yesterday, of today.
I just closed the school register. For the last time. While awaiting for the bell which will free them and will let them swarm towards the holidays, I find myself looking at all of them, in front of me. And, as in an imaginative kaleidoscope, behind their faces I see others, many, hundreds, all those I have come across in these last 43 years of mines.
Of many I remember everything : even the smiles, the jokes, the gestures of disappointment, the way of justifying themselves, of confiding, of communicating joys and sorrows, of others, many in truth, only the face or the name. Friendly alive relations persist with some, but the passage of time and distance have weakened or interrupted, alas, those with many others.
I have reached the end of the line and the most excruciating sadness is not so much in being enrolled by right in the club of the elderly, as in separating myself from these guys.
I believe I have given everything I could to everyone, but I also believe that I have received more, much more. I’d love to embrace you all ; the ones I meet in the street , the ones who are friends on social media, and, through you, reaching all the others, embracing you all, wherever you are.
I’d like you to know that one of my happinesses is feeling remembered; one of my joys is knowing that you are affirmed in life; one of my satisfactions is the conscience and the awareness of having tried to teach you that life is not a « scratch and win »: life needs to be grabbed, biten off, conquered.
I learned something from each of you, and from each of you the joy of living, the vitality, the dynamism, the enthusiasm, the desire to fight. The years of high school, however beautiful, are not always happy or easy, especially when you have had to deal with a professor that some mornings reached sublime levels of surliness and harshness, in short…. he broke big. But he did it on purpose, in an attempt to pave the way, highlighting obstacles and difficulties.
I apologize if sometimes I haven’t listened properly, if I have not been able to establish the right empathy, if I have only judged appearances, if I have disappointed expectations, if I have given more value to results and neglected the path and progress , if, in a word, I have not lived up to your expectations and I have not been able to make you perceive that you have been and are important to me, because you have formed my second family.
One last recommendation, while my bus is stopping:
use the words I taught you to defend yourself and to defend those who don’t have those words;
do not be spectators but protagonists of the history you live today: slip in , get your hands dirty, bite your life, do not “adapt”, commit yourself, never give up on pursuing your goals, even the most ambitious ones, put on your shoulders those who cannot handle: you are not the future, you are the present.
Please: never be cold-hearted, don’t be afraid to take risks so as not to make mistakes, don’t stay glued to messing around with your iPhone all day long. Read instead, travel, be curious (remember the rabbit in Sofia’s world?) I did, or rather, I tried to do my part, now it’s your turn.
Our paths diverge, but remember that you have been part of my experience, of my history and, therefore, of my life. For this reason, even now that you are grown up, for advice, for a disappointment, or simply for a laugh, a memory or a greeting, I am there and I will be there. You know where to find me.
Here you are. The bus has arrived. I stop here. To you, have a good trip ”.
PROFESSOR PIETRO CARMINA