Paperback copies of, Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar have currently sold out but there is another reprint underway so they should be available again by early December. Thank you to all of you who’ve embraced, Joe’s over many years and to those who’ve recently sent me messages wanting to read it but unable to get a copy. If you’re after a copy, please order one through your local bookshop or online as they’ll definitely be coming in 3-4 weeks (and in time for Christmas too!) 😉 If you’ve been following my website here for years or even just a short time, you’ll know I never ‘sell’ my books and I hate even sounding so. I just wanted to let you know if you’re interested in Joe’s that it’s definitely coming back. For me the main thing is sharing the story of Nonno Anni’s life and those around him, because so many elements are all of our stories really and precious and my one hope is to preserve them.
It was actually Nonno Anni who originally gave me the idea for, The Proxy Bride. When I was talking to him about his life for Joe’s, he mentioned by chance that during WW2 when he and other Italian men were taken from farms around Stanthorpe and sent to internment camps, the women and children suddenly left alone did it very tough. He later heard they were given no assistance and with curfews and restrictions weren’t allowed to drive, many didn’t know how to use the farm equipment or ride a horse and faced poverty and starvation. He mentioned this group of women who banded together to keep their farms going. That really struck me and I felt I’d come back and write about it. When I learnt that some of these women were also proxy brides, it opened up more to the story.
It seems all my life Nonno Anni was telling me different stories, usually at a table after a meal together. Perhaps when I was young, he saw in me that I might write them down one day, even before I saw that in myself. I chose this photo as it’s such a lovely one of him, though I feel unsure at sharing this one of myself in pigtails but trying to look sophisticated, haha! 😄 It was the ‘80s and I was about 13 and my favourite things were roller-skating, dancing and writing stories (yes, even then!) Nanna Francesca took this photo of us after a stop at Lake Jindabyne during a summer road trip. I spent some time with my grandparents every school holiday and while at times I took it for granted or wished I was doing stuff with my friends (yes, just like Sofie in Proxy Bride), I really appreciate those times now and the precious stories they both gave me. Zoë ❤️ xx
2 responses to “Handed-down stories…”
Hi Zoe thanks for this information. I will order this book through the same place that I got the Proxy Bride. I love reading your younger days with your grandparents, because it takes me back to my younger days with my grandparents. My Nanno died young so I had a lot to do with my Nanna. She was so lovely. She use to cook all my favourite foods and of course it was Italian. As you know I am the same age as your Dad and so things were different in our times. I hated hearing what the Australian called us back in those days. Love your message. Keep them coming. Rosemary
Hi Rosemary, thank you, I hope you enjoy reading it. There is certainly a lot in Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar that may bring back similar memories for you. It is so lovely for me to hear how the books bring about your own memories with your grandparents, especially your Nanna, truly wonderful. And yes, I despair when I think of the hard time many migrants endure for being ‘different’ when really, the true majority of them are decent, kind people just trying to live their lives. I hope maybe you sometimes still cook some of the favourite dishes your Nanna might’ve cooked! 😊 Zoe xx