One day in January in the house of Ramiseto, together with the Australian relatives, mother and son playing cards. Mirella has a lot to tell.
I was born in Melbourne on the 15th of May in 1957 by Zecchetti Lina and Bertoldi Pellegrino. My 31 year old father emigrated in 1951 in Australia, because Immediately after the war, there was not much work in Ramiseto. At the time, in order to move to Australia, a guarantor was required; a lord of Ramiseto, Arnaldo guaranteed for my father.
For two years he stayed in Melbourne alone. At first it was very difficult: he would keep in touch with my mother only through letters that could take even two or three months to arrive at destination. He had to look for a job, but the language was a huge obstacle and homesickness was too strong. Until, on July 5th 1953, my mother, then twenty-four, joined him.
I lived the first years of my life in Australia, but the love of my parents for their origins won over. So on 4 August 1965 we embarked in Melbourne on one of the last Achilles Lauro and on the 4th of September, after a month, we arrived in Italy to live there forever. It was a very great change: me as a little girl passed from Melbourne’s wide streets, to the 60’s mountain roads; from the big city to mountain life. My dad started working as a house painter and it was not easy for him either to get used to his new life. Ramiseto had changed a lot over the past 14 years. My elder brother didn’t make it and after almost a year he decided to return to Melbourne to build his life there.
I went back to Australia twice: for my honeymoon and for my father’s funeral. Of my life in Melbourne I remember the profound bond between Italians, even among Ramisetans, meant to keep alive a connection with our Apennine origins. We met in the clubs or homes, to chat and play cards. On the Day of the Republic there was a big party with dancing and singing.
I feel both Australian and Italian. In Ramiseto I built my life and my family with the open mind that was handed down to me by my parents. This mentality is the result of these crossings, of these experiences, of these links with the people and places of their life. It was an enrichment.
It is thanks to my parents the family has remained together, because since 1983 they decided to spend the winter with my brother and the summer in Ramiseto. They did it because they realized they were losing a piece of their roots, they wanted to be with their Australian grandchildren, they wanted to be their grandparents. We owe a lot to Australia, my father always said: “Thanks to Australia, we gave a future to the family” and this house, where we are now playing cards with my Australian granddaughter with the Italian name Cecilia and her friend Kelly is the demonstration.