• A photo of Dad's Austin on a family outing with cousins. You can see Jim is peeking through the back seat window.
  • A precious photo from the early 70's of fun times at the park near home. Jim is about to slide down with Nick right at the top and Frank is underneath it trying to grab their legs.
  • Jim making sure that no one would eat any bit of his snack.
  • Mum sitting Nick and Jim on their bench in Gladstone Road, Dandenong.
  • Jim and Nick leaning against their swimming pool that Dad had bought them.
  • It's Christmas time and Nick is trying to steal 'Santa' off Jim. The fireplace behind holds many precious memories and secretly holds all their baby teeth in a small hole on the right side.
  • In 1998, we lived with Mum and this photo shows her happily teaching Sam the secrets of sausage making.
  • Our delicious sausages drying out and being smoked by Mum everyday and getting them perfect to be eaten on sausage night.
  • Mum loved seeing us happy and eating. A precious photo of the sausages she cooked ready for our sausage night in the room attached to the garage.
  • Dad and Mum's house at 35 Gladstone Road, Dandenong which they were both so proud of.

Ellen tells me that just after they had arrived in Australia in 1970, they went to live with their Aunty who lived in Gloria Avenue, Dandenong. This was also across the road from my house. Nick and Jim were both so sick as they had come down with the measles which they must have picked up on the ship. It must have been difficult for Mum trying to look after them with not having her own space, but she did it. Dad and Mum eventually purchased the land at 35 Gladstone Road and was starting to build their new home. For about 3 months, they had to rent in a house in Dandenong West until their home was finished. Ellen recently told me that Nick actually started his schooling at the Dandenong West Primary School as their house was not quite ready yet, but that he wasn't there for long.

Their home being built was not far from the house that they were renting in so that they could go for a walk and check on the progress of it. Dad didn't have his car just yet. Mum was so happy though in early 1971 when they finally moved in. It was a 3 bedroom house so Ellen would have to share with Nick, Sam and Frank would share and Jim would have his own bed in Mum and Dad's room as it was a huge bedroom.

Dad bought his pride and joy, his Austin car after they had moved into their new home. He was so proud and was very protective of it. I have heard many interesting stories about Dad's Austin, but Jim tells me about when he and his cousin Domenic were mucking around one day while they were visiting them. They were sitting on the car just talking when they noticed that they had accidentally dented it. Jim panicked a little, but went in calmly to get Dad's car keys. They went inside the car and pushed it back out from the inside and it worked. Dad never knew anything, luckily. The cars back then were made with a softer material and they were easier to dent and thankfully easier to fix.

The house had two single car garage spots and Dad had made sure that there was another attached room for his barber chair. It was also like a second kitchen for Mum to make her amazing meals in. We ate lots of food in this kitchen in the later years and made lots of precious memories together. In early June of every year, we would make fresh Italian sausages and once we had done making them, we would sit down to a magic pot of meat that Mum would have prepared earlier and her amazing cabbage. We would go through so much crusty fresh bread to soak up all the juices, well at least I would. I couldn't get enough of it and I miss that taste and those memories. Mum would hang up the sausages to dry for 7-10 days if we could hold off that long. Then it was sausage night.

She would also make biscuits and lots of Italian Pitta cakes which she would give out to all of us. You could not go to Mum's without smelling something yummy coming from that outdoor kitchen. There would always be a container for any of us to take as she would always make extra. Peppers and potatoes, roasted peppers and peppers with olives. So many peppers and hot too, although she would tell me that they weren't that hot just so I would try it. She loved making Jim this dish with chicken livers and fresh tomatoes. He loved it, but I was not a fan although I would soak up the delicious juices with fresh crusty bread.


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