I was born in the early hours of the morning at a time when men did not stay to see their children born. Nope! Dad took mum to hospital and then came home to wait. Home then was a serviced room in a boarding house in central Brisbane. My parents weren't exceptionally poor, it was just quite common after the war for people to live in such accomodation. My dad worked in a fruit shop in the centre of the city so he was close to his work by living in the city. Now about my parents...
My dad was Paolo, but preferred Paul. He had come to Australia from Sicily as a 16 year old to cut cane in North Queensland. After 'making his money in the north, he moved south and at first farmed in the Stanthorpe district, growing grapes, apples and stonefruit. By the late 1940s he moved to Brisbane. My Australian-born mother was from Victoria and had been a penfriend of my dad and eventually he convinced her to move to Queensland. There was a bit of an age difference; dad was 42 when I was born, mum was 27 and both had been married before. When I was about 5 months old my mother was hospitalised and my dad took over the job of weaning me...with a cup and spoon. ( By the time I was 5 we finally found out why she was so ill...she had MS and pregnancy exacerbates the symptoms) dad was always a 'hands-on' father which was unusual for those times.
When I was 1 year old we moved into a flat in the suburbs (Paddington). The owner of the shop where dad worked owned a block of flats behind an electrician's shop and we rented the ground floor flat. Then when I was 3, my dad bought a house at Newmarket where I lived until I got married. The family dad worked for were Greek and treated us all as though we were family. In fact my mother used to tell the story of how when I started to talk I used a mixture of English, Sicilian dialect and Greek. I don't remember much these days which is sad...but you have to use language.
|Taken on my second birthday in the garden of our Paddington flat|
|10 years old here...can you find me in my striped dress?|