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Friday, August 19, 2011

On my mind...2 books

Today, being Friday, means that I'm joining in with Rhonda Jean's (here) Friday feature, "On my mind'.

For my birthday, my friend Pamela gave me the book on the right.  The book is written by Zoe Boccabella and describes her growing up , caught between two cultures; Italian and Australian.
It's complicated, the web of relationships that meant Pamela  knew about the book and thought I would like it. P works in a state government cars' garage. One of the tow truck drivers is Santo; he is married to a cousin of Zoe's father. Santo's wife is the sister of one of my good friends, Maddalina who is also a Boccabella cousin obviously. Zoe's father taught at the high school where my DD1 and DH's 3 daughters went to school. Zoe's little sister came to some sessions at the vacation Centre I used to run in the 1990s. Finally my SIL, M and my BIL, D went to Santo's wedding years ago. Now you are completely confused aren't you?? lol

After I started reading "Mezza Italiana', Maddalina sent me Zoe's FaceBook page link. Reading that, I saw mention of the book on the left which relates the stories of Italian Immigrants in the Stanthorpe district between 1925 and 1935. Zoe's grandparents are mentioned in this book but the time frame is too early for a mention of my father and my godparents. I was able to borrow the book from the council library. It's been interesting reading about a town that was almost like a second home for me in my younger years.

Santo took my book to the book launch so I would have a personally signed copy!
My father died when I was 15 and as my mother was Australian, we pretty much reverted to that lifestyle after he died. Until I read Zoe's book, I believed that I had no Italian customs but I now know otherwise. I do have similar memories to Zoe such as being fascinated by the fact that my father never ate vegetables and meat together on the same plate; always separate but I can't remember for sure which was eaten first, but I think it was the meat. I still tend to put communal bowls of food in the centre of the table...and people serve themselves...we did that at home and it's an Italian custom.
My father and godparents always preserved food, and I'm trying to recreate that custom nowadays. Another custom I'm going to continue with is taking produce from my garden as gifts to my friends and neighbour. I'm ashamed to admit that I used to be embarassed by the fact that my parents would send me to school with homegrown tomatoes for my teacher instead of flowers. She loved them but I felt awful!!!
Zoe has also written about the lavish Italian weddings; yes I have childhood memories of attending such functions for 500 people but my own personal experience of weddings with mine and my DDs' weddings is much more restrained. Racism is also dealt with in Zoe's book but I can only only remember 2 occasions where I was at the receiving end, and those were 2 particularly ignorant people. Zoe endured taunts at school which is sad.
I haven't finished either book as I have a number of items I'm reading basically at the same time. So I may find some other old memories stirred up!


The Potty Knitter said...

What a beautiful throw you have as your banner, gorgeous colours. I'm still pretty green when it comes to this blogging caper, so you made my day by leaving a comment on my blog, thank you. I too have retired from teaching, although not for as long as you. I took a 6week contract and stayed for 10years, you know how it is. These days I can honestly say that this working for a living seriously interferes with my life style. Finished a fabulous book the other day, 'Radical Homemakers' by Sharon Hayes, very motivating and re-assuring, for those days when doubt creeps in.

Dmarie said...

gotta love the books that make us think...and feel. thanks for sharing!