January 14, 2009
Ulysse was my grandfather, one whom I suppose everyone would wish to call “grand-papa”. His origin was Swiss-Italian. His father, a sculptor, came to the French-speaking part of Switzerland in search of work, which he found in a small town where my own grand-father was born. As far as I remember, my souvenirs of Ulysse were those of a kind, patient, humorous and sociable person. He used to sit for hours in his “grand-father’s armchair”, reading through his very thick glasses, oblivious of everything happening around him. Lost in his own world. He read whole bookcases. Mainly history books. They were about the history of the canton he was born in (Valais), and of its people. He collected ancient books too and, when money permitted it, he had some of them bound by Léon, a good friend of his, a bookbinder who loved books and treated them with the same respect and admiration as Ulysse did. This soft, scented leather enchanted me whenever Ulysse showed me his recent discoveries.
Before he passed my grandfather gave me something precious : many of his history books and the wish to learn more about it. He also gave me the love of books, of reading and writing. I was lucky to receive his old armchair too. When I sit there, a book in my hands, not a day passes without thinking of my grandfather. With such gratitude and happiness that our paths crossed.