Tag Archives: Italian Australian migrant stories

Tying knots and stories…

A post script – there were too many little incidents to include them all in, Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar, but in relation to the previous post, here is a small, extra story…

Just up from the family house in Wyandra Street, Teneriffe was a Gospel Hall that had Scout meetings on Friday nights. By then, it was the early 1950s and Remo, not yet ten, went along.

To his dismay, when Granny Maddalena found out, she turned up and told him to get home. ‘You’re not going to any more of these meetings, the devil is in there!’ – Perhaps because the Gospel Hall wasn’t Catholic?! – Bewildered, Remo said to her, ‘But we were just learning how to tie knots!’

Nearly thirty years on, the Gospel Hall was still there, next to the land Annibale was hoping to purchase to build the ANFE premises. He made an appointment with the Minister to see if he was willing to sell it. The Minister took a long look at him and said, ‘But I can’t sell this hall to you! The devil is in it!”, and then he winked. He and Annibale had a good laugh, remembering, and then the Minister said, “All right, I’m happy to sell it since the land will be used for another community venture.”

…Dad reminded me of this story just the other day. I didn’t recall ever seeing any photographs with this Gospel Hall in them but then, not long afterward, a curious thing happened. I went back to work looking through old photographs for another book I’m working on, and by chance, out fell a photo Nanna Francesca took in Wyandra Street when they lived there and in the background behind the car is the timber, Gospel Hall. All these years on and I happen to see this for the first time now.

Perhaps I was a bit too sentimental in my previous post, (I can be at the best of times!) It might’ve been because Wyandra Street features so strongly in my family history and now, little remains of how the area once was and another bit will soon vanish. But I accept life keeps going on, change happens and so it is. In the meantime, we connect and live on in our stories and I feel very blessed to be able to share these stories with you and to hear yours in return. Gentile auguri! Zoe xx

PPS Apologies for the picture quality, these photos are almost 70 years old now. (The older boy is a cousin possibly dressed up for an occasion and Dad as a little boy seems to be copying his stance!)

Previous post… A place to meet, share food and stories

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Sneak peek… next book

The Proxy Bride is a novel inspired by true stories and set between the 1940s and the 1980s in Italy and Australia. There will be angry spaghetti, mixed grills, mixed tapes, Dean Martin on the 1950s stereogram and plastic on the lounge suite and, above all, hopefully characters you may come to love who band together amid tough times for a new life.

To be released 7 September, 2022…

The plaited chillies hanging in the kitchen are on their way!
Buona settimana!  💛🍝 Zoe x

About The Proxy Bride…

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Buona Pasqua a tutti!

Whether this time for you is about faith, new happenings or taking stock with the changing of the seasons, I hope it brings you much happiness.

This article (pictured) appeared in a magazine a few years back in a feature looking at how French, Greek and Italian Easters were celebrated in Australia. I always feel a bit shy having my photo taken for these things and the main part of this photo is the Colomba, or Italian Easter cake in the shape of a dove that sits on the table in front of me. (I recall the photo shoot was weeks before Easter and it was difficult to get hold of one then!)

Colomba cakes are mostly bought and Nanna Francesca used to make a more modest Easter bread with hard-boiled eggs baked into it. This year I broke with tradition and made an ‘Easter lasagne’ for the family. It has been a rainy day so it seemed the thing to cook.

As for the rest of the Easter weekend, after it being very busy so far and with more rain to come, hopefully it will be dolce far niente, ‘the sweetness of doing nothing’. 😉 Tante belle cose! Zoe xx

Brutti ma buoni (ugly but good – hopefully!) 😄

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