70 years of a man life is a very substantial number. I believe that at this point in life, it is good enough to say if the man has had a good life or not.
Ruggero’s life was not just a good and fantastic, but an incredible, exciting, and unforgettable one.
Born April 25th 1940 into the family of a construction worker, Serrati and his wife, Anna, Ruggero showed at a very young age he was a restless, daring, adventurous and passionate child. His mother had a hard time to keep him stay quiet and at home beside school and meal times, as the streets of Milan were the battle fields for him and his childhood friends. If it was not soccer, then it must be the bike racing or many other kid competitive games of the old days. “We had no computer and electronic toys those days !.” He said. ” So we had to create our own toys and our own games. That is what imagination and fantasy are for.” He still amused at those memories.
1960, like other young men in Italy, Ruggero grew up, got married and lived for awhile with his obligations as husband and then father to a beautiful daughter Antonella Serrati (born 1961). But by 1963, unable to live with the emptiness and meaningless, Ruggero decided to change his life course to follow his true destiny calls and his heart desires. He quit his job (in one of the most famous fashionable handbag company, Pirovano in Montenapoleone Milano ), left the family behind, and joined a group of young musicians to travel all the way to Africa.
From that year on, Ruggero traveled all over Europe. After several years of working and performing in night clubs and places of entertainment, and learning the trick of the trade. He formed his own music band called “The Serrati Five” and went on living an expansive and adventurous life with his companions for quite some time.
As he and the band passing through countries including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, , Khartoum (Sudan), Cairo…his language skill built up. Ruggero speaks and sings fluently six foreign languages just by studied from the books himself.
1982, after almost twenty years living and working abroad with bands, Ruggero finally felt he had enough of this life on the road. He came home to Milan, but only to realize that did not make him happy either. He felt bigger emptiness and disappointment. Fortunately, through friends and connections, one day, a letter arrived from Los Angeles, USA that changed his life for good.
1985, the plane landed in New York airport. From there, with an old 1970 Ford Grand Torino he bought for $700 and a map in his hand, Ruggero drove over three thousand miles from the East Coast to Los Angeles in three and a half days. The car broke down as soon he reached to the gas station on Beverly Hills Boulevard, just around the corner from Cafe’ Roma (one of the most popular Italian Restaurant), where he was to work as musician for the next two years. From 1988 – 1990, beside working with a partner in his own restaurant (Trilussa) every night, he did also many car restorations for friends from his shop in Beverly Hills as a hobby, plus running an Italian bakery in Tustin with another friend.
November 1991, we met. That was the end of his single and lonely life. Together, Ruggero and I had created several businesses more after that. Some failed, some succeeded. Though money has been important aspect in every journey we took, yet our happy time together and the experiences of peace and joy of each passing day were our main goals.
Till today, he is still telling me so many interesting stories from his past. We both are still learning from each other in many ways. Mine from the East, and his from the old memories of traveling from one continent to the next. After almost twenty years living with this man, he still amazed me and made me laugh so hard (sometime too much so).
I want to finish this post with the memory of him in March 2008. The day we both never forget. Ruggero and his surgeon spent six hours in emergency room for a triple by-pass surgery in Portland, Oregon. After another four hours in extensive care department, his surgeon came out to meet me in the waiting room. Still in his cape that filled with some blood, the surgeon comforted me and told me of Ruggero’s condition. At the end of the conversation, as he was about to turn away from me.
“It was a beautiful heart!…” He said.
“Pardon me, what did you say?”. Was not sure what he meant, I needed an explanation.
“He has a beautiful heart.” The surgeon paused for a second then said. “Over thousands cases of surgery, I have never seen such a big and beautiful heart like his. Must be a very good man!… “. He then disappeared inside the extensive care room again, leaving me speechless.
“Yes, Ruggero is a very good and fine man.” Not just his family members, his friends, and his children will agree with that, but me too. I have to say that after so many years living and knowing this man, he was, still, and will always be my inspiration as long as I live.
Happy Birthday Ruggero !!!… from all of us.