When they first arrived in Melbourne in 1959, Mum and her family lived in North Essendon for a short time and she worked in Brunswick. They then moved to Station Street, Fairfield where they lived for about 2 years and Mum would have to catch the bus to get to work. She worked at a cardigan factory in Clifton Hill which was opposite Darling Gardens. Mum remembers her bosses being two Jewish brothers and they were very good to her. They were very impressed that she always gave 101% and never said no to learning new things that they moved her up in the company.
She also remembers a lovely lady named Agnes who looked out for her. Mum was happy here and had lots of friends. They used to go across the road to Darling Gardens on their lunch breaks and one of the photos above is from a Christmas get together in the park. You can see they have tinsel in their hair. She had a special friend named Joyce Lenn who she still talks about.
Mum was 16 at the time and they wanted to move her up to cutting and design, but Nonno wanted her to leave. He had already saved the money for a deposit for the house in Dandenong South so getting to work was a challenge. Mum and her siblings would have to get up very early to get ready to walk to the Dandenong Station and be there by 6am. She would then get off at Flinders Street Station and then have to go underground which she tells me was a little scary as she had to catch the train to get to Clifton Hill. Coming home was also difficult as she couldn't speak much English and didn't know her way around just yet. Mum remembers counting every station so that she would know when to get off. Then walking back from the station to home would be around 7pm. Whoever got home first would start dinner as my Nonna was also working at the time. Mum did eventually have to leave and was very sad and missing all her friends.
She tells me after a little while Centrelink would help her get a job in a factory in Huntingdale doing shirt collars. Mum would get off at the Huntingdale Station and there would be lots of Italians there and at work to talk to, but it was not the same.
Mum recently told me about Fairfield Park and how her and her siblings would go there as it was close to their home. They would go for a swim in the pool that they had in the park and they would have lots of fun. I took Mum a few months ago and she was right. The park is beautiful, but I tired her out a little walking around the grounds. I wanted to be where she was and where she had been all those years ago. We sat down and ate mortadella rolls that we had made together on the park bench and we just looked out towards the water. We talked and just remembered times gone by with a few tears. Sadly the pool is no longer there, but the memories of those days will always be with her and now with me.