In an interview I believe there are two main parts; the trusting and the honest.
The trusting being the interviewer, the person asking the questions, probing for more of a descriptive answer who keeps digging until they find what they want.
Then, there’s the honest; the interviewee. The individual giving the answers, sharing their world and opening up a part of themselves for the interviewer and anyone else watching to explore.
So today I sat down with my Nonna, a 84 year old Italian woman who let me share her world.
And it went a little something like this…
Nonna, how old were you when you came over to Australia?
And you had how many kids then?
I had 4, but one had passed away from the flu.
Can you describe to me the trip from Italy to Australia?
Thirty-one days it took to get here, at first I was excited and ready to come to what everyone was calling ‘the new world’ but then I saw the ship and realized that it wasn’t exactly anything to be excited about. The wooden boat was rocking in the sunlight and I remember looking at the shadow rock forward and back on the shore thinking that it was harder than I thought it was going to be keeping the kids occupied. When we got onto the boat and into our cabin we realized we wouldn’t be sleeping alone, our cabin had three other families in there and a single woman.
What were the other families like?
Loud (she laughs) there was always a crying baby and that would set off the rest, I think all up there was at least 10 kids. Mostly boys except for my three girls, that made me upset because the child I lost to the flu was a boy. The single woman was being sent over by her family to meet the man she was set up to marry.
How did you pass the time?
It wasn’t easy, there was so many kids on the boat so the kids were always playing, but I would sometimes just sit there and cry because I was so lonely. Yes, I had my kids but I hadn’t seen my husband for 6 months because he came to Australia first to start a life here.
What was it like to arrive in Australia?
Scary, exciting and thrilling all at once. All the kids were so excited to see their Papa’s, it was like we became a little community on there.
Do you remember the first time you saw your husband again?
Of course I do, I see the smile that was on his face in my dreams.
When you got to Australia, what was the first thing you thought?
I thought the ground was dry (she laughs), when I was driving to the house my husband had bought for us in Wollongong the sights were more beautiful, there wasn’t as many beautiful churches and buildings like in Italy but I knew I could call it home.
That’s all for today folks, until next time;