My mother in law is an immigrant from rural Italy in the 1950s. She came with her sister and her sister’s fiance to join her father who had already been in Australia for a few years. Some years later they managed to bring the rest of the family to Australia.
She had a job in a clothing factory within days and so started her life in Australia that she continues to live. She met up again with a man who came from the same village in Italy and they married and settled in Liverpool in Sydney’s southwest. They worked every hour they could and saved and scrimped. They bought and sold some farm land over the years and finally settled at Moorebank on a few acres where they raised chickens and three boys.
If you have read my ‘about’ you will know that 50 years later we are still here.
She is a remarkable woman, my MIL. She lost the love of her life and patriach of the family, 18 months ago, a loss she feels every day. There were over 1000 people at the funeral, a testament to what their shop had been to the community. She is surrounded by family but nothing quite replaces the relationship she had with her husband.
These days she is paying the price, health wise, for all those years processing chickens on cold winter mornings. She has osteoporosis and arthritis and is frequently in pain and immobile.
But she makes me laugh. We have some good times together. Well, I see her everyday over the washing or the children.
She said to me one day, looking down at my feet in those damn thongs again, ‘Oh Pauline you’re getting a bun-onion!’
We’ve never called bunions anything else since.