• Dad and his friend Giovanni having a morning toast.
  • Dad and Mum enjoying a day out at the Lang Lang Rodeo Festival.
  • Frank helping Dad mow the lawns with his H.G.Palmer lawn mower.
  •  Dad and Mum once again at the top of the steps of St Mary's Church, Dandenong.
  • A precious photo of Mum, Dad and Frank celebrating my 1st ever birthday.
  • An adorable 1st birthday photo taken of me on our special couch at home.
  • A memorable photo Dad took of us in our Gloria Avenue home.
  • Dad took this photo of Frank and I in our backyard.
  • It's Linda's 1st birthday.
  • Dad's driving licence dated January 1976.
  • A postcard I found written from my Nonna Nunziata to us.
  • Mum and Dad on the Nobbies boardwalk, Phillip Island.
  • Dad, Frank and Linda with Nellie at Maroondah Dam in the early 1970's.

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 meals 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 him too.

Dad was very handy and Mum told me that he had put up tiles on the walls and on the floors in certain parts of the house to make it feel more like their 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 above 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 that 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.

Dad also wanted to get Mum something special so he had organized with my Nonna Nunziata in Italy to have a beautiful gold bracelet sent over to her as a surprise. Nonna had secretly hidden it in some chamomile flowers that she had sent over. I'm sure my clever Nonna had thought that this would hopefully protect it from being stolen. My Mum loved that beautiful bracelet and she wore it everywhere.

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.

When I was a toddler and learning new words, Mum said that I would say 'Luca' all the time. I kept hearing Mum calling Dad Luca that I started to call him Luca too. So she then had to call him Papa when she wanted something so that I would call him Papa and it worked. 

Mum was so sad for Dad that he had to walk to his work at Pilkington which was over an hour each way. Then coming home absolutely exhausted only to have to do it all again the very 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 all of us today.

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