Erba Cativą Non Morč Mai (weeds never die)
I was born at home, by the
light of a lantern, in a bedroom that had an uneven, cracked brick floor through
which weeds occasionally grew and bloomed. We lived in a small
village, Mure, about thirty kilometres north of Venice. At the time of my birth
the area was still recovering from the effects of the Second World War. Mure's
surroundings were those of a semi-feudal environment, best described as 18th
century, where three Conti owned most of the land. The households of
contandini who worked the land, consisted of 60 to 100 people. The roads
were not paved; there was no electricity nor running water, except for a
polluted well in the cortile (courtyard); and no sewerage except the
corte, (manure heap) where all the refuse was thrown to decompose and later
be spread in the fields for fertilizer.
I migrated as a seven
year old child to Australia in the 1950's. In those early years in Australia, we
suffered humiliation, racism, and a far greater deprivation than we had in
Italy. This experience has left me scarred forever. As I grew, I learnt skills
and continued part-time studying to ameliorate my life.
The genre of this book may seem
at first to be full of ambiguities. It is neither autobiography, nor a
sociological work, nor an historical discourse. It is a combination of all
these. The chapters are set out chronologically to give it a better
understanding. Feminist writers claim that female writing differ from male
writings, because females have a different perspective of life and of the world
around them. I have chosen to write what I consider important, - the
relationship between people and their interaction with the world and events. I
do use what may be considered forms of male writing - pochs, dates and events -
as signposts, but I have endeavoured to concentrate on people, their feelings,
culture, religion, language and aspirations.
The work transcends across two cultures and at the same time,
a history. Furthermore, sometimes I cross from Venetian dialect to Italian and
then to English.