Joseph W. Psaila writes:
For decades, Michael Camilleri, who has passed away to eternity last month, was the embodiment of Victoria Hotspurs FC.
There he served as a player, coach, high-ranking official and historiographer. His published history of the club is not only a year by year diary but also an insightful glimpse on the social life in Victoria during the 1960s.
Michael treasured long-lasting friendships. In his years as a teacher and head of school, he enjoyed organising re-unions for his colleagues at St Michael’s Teachers Training College (1960-62). He was a life-long bandsman at the La Stella Philharmonic Society and an enthusiastic member of the Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco.
He greatly appreciated the simple things of life – from an evening walk with his pet dog to a page of Pickwick Papers in its juxtaposition of words and phrases and to a narration of a joke that he would punctuate with hearty laughter so much as not to be able to conclude it.
In the early 1960s, Michael’s worst foible of youth was that he regularly arrived a little late for the only early morning bus from Victoria to Mġarr before boarding the first Gozo ferry to Marfa.
Salvu, the bus driver, himself a gentleman, used to switch off the engine at the crossroads and call out at the passengers: “Is Michael here?” As the possibility – indeed the probability – turned to assurance, we were all ready to wait in the bus until Michael arrived in haste. We all enjoyed the tradition as Michael laughed at himself and at our comments.
Michael was a Franciscan at heart. Even in his adult age, Michael still nurtured a sense of childlike wonder at the marvels of nature. Not once during our weekly walks in the countryside he would stop to enjoy the last rays of a sunset. He would talk in admiration of the faithfulness of a dog or of the graceful trot of a pony, as if paraphrasing the Canticle of the Creatures.
For four decades, I have been living at a stone’s throw from Michael’s home and I have grown to regard him as one of those persons who Pope Francis has recently called ‘I santi della porta accanto’.
My condolences to his wife Maria, to his daughters, Doreen and Ina Maria, and to his sons, George and Andrew.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us