Dad recalls how when he did something wrong, Nonno would chase after him saying "come back, I love you", Dad while still running would yell back, "if you love me, why are you chasing me". Nonno wasn't mad at Dad, he was upset for other reasons. Dad went to school for a short time, but then as a teenager he found work. His boss loved him. He tells me how he would run home for lunch, eat and then run back as he didn't want to to be late or let anyone down. When he got back to work the other workers were still eating. Food was scarce in those days, so when you saw it, you ate and fast or someone else would.
He had lots of friends, but his best friend was Luigi Rotundo who he has never forgotten and still talks about. They loved going to the beach and getting up to mischief. Unfortunately after Nonno passed away, things were more difficult at home and a few years later, Dad would have to leave for Australia. He was only '19'. So on the 5th May, 1962, he said goodbye to Nonna at his family home and then left for the Naples dock with a family friend. It was heartbreaking for both of them. He boarded the ship 'Roma' and left for his new life. Surrounded by strangers who were all feeling the same, they comforted each other, ate together and talked about their future new life. There was a photographer on board who took pictures and a day or two later they could be purchased and Dad did, thankfully.
The voyage was long and tiring, but they finally arrived on 31st May, 1962 at Port Melbourne. Dad remembers it being around dusk. He was greeted by friends Salvatore and Lucia Giove from his hometown in Bitritto, Bari. Not only did they come to the dock, but they also came on board to welcome him with open arms. They have always been there for my Dad.
He was first welcomed into the home of an amazing lady named Giustina who even though had her own family, took care of migrants. She helped them to settle in and find work for them. When I talk to Dad about this adventure, his eyes swell up with tears, as the memory is so fresh as if it was yesterday.