In their new home, they planted lots of fruit trees and vegetable plants and lived off the garden as much as they could. Mum was amazing at making dishes with whatever she had. Dad loved his garden and would work hard on the weekends to maintain it. It was a corner block and there was a lot of lawn to cut, but he never complained. Mum would always help too.
Dad was very handy and Mum told me that he had put tiles up on the walls and the floors in certain parts of the house to make it feel like their own home.
They didn't go out much, but they told me that Easter of 1966 they went to the Lang Lang Festival and they watched a Rodeo show. Mum was pregnant with Frank and a photo shows them sitting on the lawn happy with Dad trying to steal a kiss. They also tell me that they went to the Springvale Town Hall for a dinner dance and it was a pizza night. Dad didn't like to dance back then as he was a little shy, but in the later years, his confidence grew and you couldn't get him off the dance floor.
My brother Francesco (Frank) was a honeymoon baby and was born on the 22nd September 1966 and my Dad was over the moon. Mum tells me that it was a Thursday and that he was delivered safely at 4.45pm. Dad was so proud and had sent Mum flowers from Fays Flowers in Scott Street, Dandenong.
In the photo that I'm turning '1', you can see a bunch of flowers on the fireplace that Dad had also bought Mum. Unfortunately the photo is black and white, but they are these beautiful bright purple tulips that Mum always talks about. They were made of plastic as Dad wanted her to have them forever and she still has them.
Mum recently told me that there was an actual Photo Studio in the Nicole Avenue shops in the next street. The photographer had come to our house to take my memorable 1st Birthday photos. It is stamped on the back with Sunset Photo, Oakleigh, but that's obviously where the photographer had them developed.
Mum was so sad for Dad that he had to walk to work at Pilkington over an hour each way. Then coming home absolutely exhausted only to have to do it all again the next day. Occasionally he would get a lift by a man named Mr Smith who lived at the end of our street and who also worked at Pilkington, but it depended on what shift work he would be doing at the time. Dad used to alternate between morning, afternoon and overnight shifts. One day Mum had surprised Dad with a driving lesson with a nice lady and although he was not happy at first, he was really happy when he had returned back from his lesson.
So Easter 1970, Dad bought his first car which was a light blue Datsun 1600 which we would eventually name 'Nellie'. My sister Linda Nara would complete their family on Saturday 20th January 1973 at 4am. 'Nellie' would take us on many amazing adventures together. We called her that as she struggled to get up the hills occasionally as Dad would often take us up to the Mountains. I can still remember all of us saying "come on Nellie" and then she would eventually make it up. We had made such amazing memories that are still with me today.