When they first came to Australia in 1965, Dad and Mum bought a block of land in Dandenong South at 27 Morwell Avenue. Nonno Salvatore and a few of Dad's brothers who had migrated here earlier also lived close by. Although a little difficult, they would have to stay with family and friends while their home was being completed. Dad had their house built just how Mum wanted it and she was so happy. Unfortunately, they didn't have the money to finish the garage at that time. Mum and Dad saved hard and a year or two later he would add on the garage and build it himself. Ellen recently told me that Mum was so happy as they had made our traditional Italian sausages that year and hung them up in there.
Time had gone by a little which meant Dad could not get the same colour bricks to match the house, but instead got a very different reddy colour. They loved the colour and Dad would also use this colour brick for their house in Gladstone Road in the future.
In late 2019, I took Ellen on a memorable drive where we went past their house in Morwell Avenue. Her eyes just lit up as not only is the house still there, but it still looks good and in reasonable condition. The brick garage that Dad built was still standing too. We parked outside and we talked for a little while remembering the good old times.
Ellen remembering the milk bar that was around the corner from their house. Unfortunately, it's no longer there, but the memories are still with her. She remembers walking there and going to buy a vanilla choc wedge with the boys.
The kids were quite young and Mum would be home with Nick as he was just a toddler. Sam, Frank and Ellen when they first arrived went to school at the Dandenong South State School which had just recently opened up. It was on Kirkham Road and they would walk to school, but it wasn't too far luckily. Ellen got a bit emotional when I took her past the school as it's still there and looks the same, except for a fence to keep the kids in.
The following year, Ellen would have to start year 7 at Cleeland High School in Cleeland Street, Dandenong. She would have to walk alone and without her brothers. She tried to walk there, but got lost on the way back home and it was a little scary for everyone.
Mum and Dad decided that she was old enough to maybe look for a job. She was so happy and found work not far from the primary school and still on Kirkham Road. It was called Liberty which then turned into Kayser. We tried to find the factory too, but it's changed a little bit so we weren't quite sure which one it was.
Nonno Salvatore also lived around the corner on Kirkham Road as he had arrived in Australia in July 1965. Ellen remembered the house straight away. She told me that when she was home alone cooking, Nonno would walk over to check up on her to make sure she was ok and to taste her yummy cooking. Ellen told me that Nonno wanted her to cook fresh tomato sauce with lots of fresh chillies from Dad's garden. Eating the sauce with spaghetti was his favourite and Ellen loved making it for him and seeing the happiness on his face.