While we were on vacations, this August 2008, Damon passed away discreetly and without notice, like his father Mario Lanza and so many members of his family.
In this Greek tragedy, Damon (a greek name) has joined his parents, brother and sister and it is our sole consolation in the heart of our sorrow.
I don’t even want to think about the shock my wife and I had when I read the mail from Marlene d’Attanasio, it was 1 a.m, August 22. We had just dropped our suitcases from the airport, in the early afternoon, back from vacations in Canada, and I had not read my emails. So here I was, at 1 in the morning, starting to read my mail : « From Marlene, object: Damon « … Rather odd, but who could imagine such a terrible message ? And « boom » !
We read and re-read in disbelief and shock! Maybe we had not fully understood ?
Friendship at first sight: that’s what my wife and I felt for him when we met at the Mario Lanza Museum, in Philadelphia, that glorious sunny friday of November 2006, before our first Mario Lanza Annual Ball.
We were introduced to him by dear John Luciani, who loved him like a father. Damon was in jeans and tee-shirt, giving a hand to Mary, Jeannette and Brian Beacock, and my wife and I wondered wether all these people were family. They were !
Damon greeted us with a broad warm smile, and we talked and talked and talked like old friends.
« How did you hear about my dad ? » he asked.
« Long story », I said. And I told him about my youth in the Morocco of the fifties and how I was dazzled, like so many french people, by the the Voice and the charm of his dad in the « Great Caruso » and before.
« Did you know that « charm » comes from the latin word « carmen », which means « song », I said ? « What do you think of this coincidence, and after all, is it a coincidence, speaking about your father ? »
He answered : « I did’nt know that, wow ! »
I loved his « wows! », he used to tell them like a little boy listening to a fairy tale !
We took pictures, he kissed Michèle, we hugged and « Let’s have a drink tonight at the Double Tree ».
I had just met a genuine friend.
I came back in 2007 and again and again, friendship and hugs and warmth.
When my family saw the photographs, they said: »this guy is lovely ».
When Alain Fauquier came for the first time in 2007, he said: « this guy is lovely ».
You saw him, you loved him: humble, open, warm, smiling but « sad of eyes », and pure, no tricks.
A « Nature Boy », like the kid of the song he knew the Great Secret:
« It’s just to love,
« and be loved
» in return ».
We love you Damon,