Mr Giordiani lived below us in warrior square, St Leonards on sea. 1995, Giorgia and William are toddlers and my eldest son an angry teenager. We are living with the toddler’s father in a two bedroom flat at the top of a Victorian residential square by the sea.
The kitchen a tiny galley partitioned off and a tiny corner bath. The struggle up and down the echoic stairs, push button lighting so at any time we were plunged into darkness
A trauma not only for me and the screaming children but also for the old couple that live directly below us.
Mr and Mrs Giodiani . Mr, a small strong chap in a thin vest even in the winter, a well-kept 1940`s spiv moustache, a sweet man would always stop and pass the time of day even while the children were screaming. and sometimes offer a toffee .His wife a white Russian with dyed flame red hair and angry eyebrows would never speak, I would only hear her from behind closed doors screaming the word "shit " "your nothing but a shit" presumably at tiny little Mr Giordiani. A terrifying woman and very angry.
I used to find her lurking on the stairs, and she would glare at me and the children as we squeezed past her.
I had re occurring nightmares about her laying out dead on her Livingroom table, and she would suddenly snap her eyes open and look straight at me and screech.
She must have stood at 6 ft. high, and he at 5 ft. 4
And then she died.
I can’t remember her death I just remember suddenly being presented with this mild mannered ex hero as part of my dysfunctional and panic stricken life. Panic stricken in a crazy relentless child, teenager, husband, housework, stairs depression mother issues and an unfulfilled artist painter in me, along with making ends meet and living in a flat that was too small for us all.
Mr Giordiani Greek born, Burmese war veteran, officer with the Ghurkhas fought in the jungle, against the Japanese, endured throughout a month of rain the whole time holding his gun above water while he waded and drowned.
The proud owner of a Military cross given to him by the queen, for bravery. And survivor of his wife.
This was my first encounter with dementia.
Dear widowed Mr Geordiani was from that point on, a regular visitor to our flat, Guest at Xmas dinner< godfather to my children. His flat was directly below ours and, and a perfect size for him alone, filled with Indian Russian and Chinese antiques. A bright red full sized Persian carpet and the most wonderful fabrics I have ever seen.
These were all thrown away as old and dirty by his Canadian son, to my horror, I assumed his parents life’s possessions would have been of value to him but he had no room for those beautiful things in his life.
Dear Mr Giordiani developed dementia and it looked like as a neighbour who liked him, I became the next of kin. So I became his second mother in making sure he was adequately dressed in the cold, hydrated and fed, I was the contact with doctors and social workers for him,
Until one day when he presented himself at the front door with a multi pack weeks supply of all his pills, but empty