Updated: Jan 27, 2020
So many wonderful memories and so many more yet to make.
Papa Filippo and Mama Rosa, my inspiration, my heart, my heritage and my WHY...
I come in at the bottom end of the pecking order, number 8 and a twin. I am the baby girl of the family and just like most traditions the youngest was always the one left to help Muma in the kitchen and most importantly Papa's baby girl (bella di Papa).
My Papa - (do they even make them like this anymore?)
the most humble, patient, committed hard working and passionate human I am blessed to call Papa.
Born in Southern Italy in 1929 well that's what we have recorded anyway, back in those days records were changed, kept a secret and who only knows what else, however I'm sure they all had their reasons.
Papa is the 8th child of Nonna Carmela and Nonno Gennaro, our history, traditions, culture and generations digs deep into the "land" of agriculture, self sustainability, fresh produce, market gardeners, farming, husbandry, community and a precious connection to mother earth.
As most Italian immigrants they left their homeland, families and lifestyle to venture out and discover new opportunities abroad. Mama was left with 3 children at the time and pregnant with there 4th, she still tells me the story of the day he left and countless days and nights she cried missing him dearly and wondering, hoping and praying that all would be well and some day soon they would be reunited together to raise their family and live an abundant life of love. Two years later Papa sent for Mama, he wrote letters to Mama frequently. Allow me to interrupt this paragraph and remind you that Papa had minimal schooling, there were no mobile phones let alone a landline in those days, communication was minimal, there love and connection was built on trust, honour and their mission to survive through the poverty and embrace a new world of opportunity. (Another blog so much more to share on the experiences of their love story).
Landing abroad Papa set foot firstly in Perth, Fremantle (with countless immigrants at the time), after a few weeks here it didn't feel like home to him so he and his brothers moved on to greener pastures. Papa was lucky enough to lay his foundations in a little ol country town of Port Augusta, South Australia.
The family was re-united a little while after and Mama & Papa had a total of 10 children, he had land and a hell of a lot of it. Work was waiting for those who were willing and the conditions were fair, the Australian National Railways provided opportunity and Papa was ready.
Port Augusta to Papa was a opportunity to create, produce, provide, replicate, survive, prosper and care for his family and community, as well as continue to maintain and uphold his culture and traditions. (I cant even imagine how many tears he cried leaving his Wife and children but also his Mama and Papa at the time).
We were lucky enough to have a large plot of land (Giardino), the backyard, the front yard, the block across the road, the other block across the road were there was an empty space and the potential to plant or produce crops he had is zappa (shovel and tools) dug deep into the soil and working towards his mission. To this day at the age of 92 or 93 (we still really aren't sure) he has his plot in the backyard and his little shed (to get away from Mama), obviously not as active or physically able to do as much, however every morning he rises with the sun (well a bit before) he opens the back door sets his eyes on the weather, looks down towards his plot and reminisces of the wonderful life he has so humbly given, respected, worked and achieved in his life. A man of honor, a father of many, a husband of commitment, a farmer to the land, a giant to culture and tradition with so much love for all that life has given him.
Zia Ria that's me, Zia translates to Aunty and Ria is short for Maria = Zia Ria, I am a little mix of both my Papa and Mama' and humbly blessed, grateful and appreciative of the life they have sacrificed for me to be here today.
My produce is a symbol of generations that come before me, the sacrifices they made and continue to make that allows me the opportunity to maintain and honor my tradition and culture for generations to come.