JUST FOLKS: LUIGI TIENGO, PAINTER
One of the reasons that Luigi looks like a much younger man -- and it's difficult to believe that he's staring to push 80 -- is his cycling.
He's pedaled more than 2500 kilometers on the Tomifobia Bike Path and many hundreds more in Montreal, where he and his wife, the painter Diethild Schott, maintain a city home.
Luigi was a velo enthusiast when a young man in Fascist Italy in the days of Il Duce, who ended his days hanging from a lamp post courtesy of Italian partisans. He escaped uniformed military service, he says, because of his youth but, at the end of Italy's Axis days in 1943, he was pressed into manual labor at the front for a couple of months.
He also was a flying enthusiast -- he did some glider training as a youth in Italy, and built-flew-crashed dozens of model airplanes over the years.
And, true to his do-it-yourself nature, built and flew an early ultralight aircraft -- a Dragonfly -- from his country home outside Ayer's Cliff, Quebec. There he was, sitting in the elements beneath gossamer wings, gloriously skimming over the scenic Eastern Townships to the growly whine of the chainsaw engine pushing his air machine through the skies.
It was a long way from his Italian birthplace, not far from the canals of Venice…
All images © 2003 John Mahoney/Log Cabin Chronicles/09.03