When every day is a battle, you fight.
BIOT, France- About 1 p.m. on Monday, in a dining room filled with antique interior elements, a french-italian constructions worker and businessman Marcel Honorat Gatti, was preparing ingredients for homemade pesto.
When basil was chopped and parmigiano-reggiano shredded, Musieu Gatti drifts off into a reverie. “My Father was Italian, from a comune called Murazzano, in Cuneo. And my mother was a beautiful French woman,” said Musieu Gatti.
“My father used to sing her a nice french song… “Trop fragile trop belle pour rester seule. Tu ne vis ta vie qu’à moitié.” [Too fragile too beautiful to be alone, you only live your life once]. He always called her my fragile lady… they were married for 65 years before my mother died”, he looks nostalgic while sharing these memories.
At that moment, Gulsara Djangazieva-Gatti, a 67 year-old retired artist hands her beloved husband Musieu Gatti his green smoothie in a beer glass. At the end of September frenchman was diagnosed with stage four abdominal cancer and he is now on a healthy diet, thus smoothies became his good friends. The news was hardly perceived by the family and friends, they needed time to accept it, but Gatti faced the illness like a real man- with strength and patience.
“My mother had cancer and diabetes, my father had diabetes as well, so unfortunately I have an experience with comprehending this kind of news,” stated Gatti. “That’s who I am. I am a warrior.”
“I never really thought about my past a lot but now I keep recalling certain moments of my life,” Musieu Gatti said. Born in tiny village Utelle on the south of France, he nevertheless considers Biot to be his home.
“My parents met in Utelle, when my mom was 18, but after some time the World War II started and my dad had to leave,” he recalls. “They met again after the war was over, then my brother was born, and later on me. At some point they decided to move to a bigger city and lived some time in Nice, but I guess it was too loud and busy for them, so we moved to Biot.”
Madam Gatti was not that positive with the news, “He is the most generous person I have met. Ma cherie never smoked, never liked fast-food, he worked his butt off since he turned fourteen,” she said. “This is simply not fair,” she holds back tears and tries to stay strong. Musieu Gattie doesn’t want to be treated differently, he doesn’t want people to be sorry for him.
“Doctors said that he needs rest but ma cherie is still doing all the routine work,” said Madam Gatti. “He goes to the bakery every morning and brings freshly baked brioches. He feeds rabbits and chickens two times a day. Moreover, he still takes orders on reconstruction.”
“He is the type of man who would give his last loaf of bread to a friend, his heart is so big,” she says. “He still prepares the pesto and makes the red orange jam, he acts like nothing is happening. Honestly, I don’t know how to react, whether to be happy or sad about it. Je ne sais pas,” Madam Gatti adds.
Gatti shared some interesting stories from his life.
He was competing in motorbike races and still has 1st place medals, “They are somewhere in the house, I haven’t checked on them in many years.” Musieu Gatti said that the love to motorbikes was in his family’s blood, they shared the love to bikes with his older brother and both participated in races. “They [reporters] even wrote an article about me. I still have that issue.”
“I remember how me and my brother went to see The Beatles in Nice, we even got the tickets one month before the concert. The show was amazing but then we had to go back home,” Gatti smiles. “It was 3 a.m. and there were no buses or any public transport that could take us back home to Biot. So we had to walk more than 10 kilometers to get home. We ended up looking at the sunrise at the beach near our house.”
Musieu Gatti was 14 when he started working. First,he helped his parents, worked with plants and flowers, then in a waterpark- he cleaned the pools, and later became a construction worker. “I liked it, I was young and strong, I could lift a whole truck!” he says laughing. Gatti then started his own construction business and hired mostly immigrants. “They were not wanted here, they still aren’t. But they need food, right?” he says and a hint of sadness can be seen in his eyes.
This kind-hearted man never wanted anything in return. “People are people, some are good and some are bad. There is nothing I can do about it, but if I can help someone, I definitely will.”
That’s when his phone rings and Musieu Gattie leaves the table, apologizing in advance. He spends some time explaining his old friend how to get to his house. “Mamma Mia, French people, always act like they know everything,” he said after ending the call.
There are many guests in their house now, when the news about the illness spread over the acquaintances. “People love him; they respect him a lot,” Madam Gatti said. “We have guests almost every day, they come to say ‘bonjour’ and bring some cheese or olives.”
The conversation with Musieu Gatti and his wife was interrupted by his friend, who finally managed to find his house. As people came to the dining room with a box of Champs- Élysées
chocolate and a bottle of Italian Prosecco, Gatti apologized, “Pardon, I have to go, my silly friend came!” and went to meet his guests boasting his Adidas sweatpants.
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