Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Happy 99th Birthday Nonno

This week has got to stop being sad.

Just over a year ago, my Nonno passed away. Today would have been his 99th birthday.

Nonno - what a handsome man!

Nonno was a gentle, patient and caring man who never had a bad word to say about anyone. Although his English was extremely limited, and my Italian even worse – we still managed to communicate and we knew we loved one another without always having to say it.

He lived the anti-life of what is recommended – he regularly consumed red wine, refused to drink water (“fish piss in it”) and smoked 2 packs a day for 50 years. Yet, his health was excellent and it was only his age that eventually caught up to him.

Nonno was born in a tiny hamlet in Tuscany, and came to Australia as a 15yo. During the Second World War he lived in an internment camp, as a cook, and that’s where he met Nonna. He was a fantastic sculpturer, and some of his work can be found in the Forum Theatre in Melbourne.

He made amazing gnocchi (which we just cannot replicate!), his pasta sauce was richly flavoursome and tomatoey, his potato chips crispy and herby, and his pizza was always delicious!

He always had a smile on his face, would often chuckle away to himself, and would often say things like ‘Oh boy’ and ‘not bad’ – particularly during family arguments!

I was glad to be able to spend quite a bit of time with him during his last few weeks, simply sitting with him in hospital, holding his hand and listening to classical music and opera – music that he loved.

Nonno left us peacefully, and without pain – and he is missed greatly.

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