The Family XXXX lived for some 500 years in the small village of Pers di Majano, in the province of Udine, Italy. Udine is situated in Northern Italy and the dialect spoken in this particular area is Fruilan.
The Family were share farmers and worked for the landowner, in this way the family survived.
Livio's ( my Dad) Mother was not an educated woman who could neither read nor write. She worked in the silk factory from the age of 11.
Livio's Father had one year of formal education. He could read and write. Was apprenticed to a shoe maker for 12 months until his Father died and he was required to run the family farm with his two sisters.
Milk from the farmers in the village was taken to a community cheese factory where each week a particular farmer would be rostered to do the tasks involved with cheese making and this cheese would be taken as payment for that farmer.
Village life was poor financially, and pleasures were simple. A love of music and getting together of an evening with other villagers, sitting around exchanging stories, sharing a drink or a game of cards in the small local osteria.
My father (Livio) would ride a pushbike 70 kilometres to obtain snuff for his father, who had a likeness for this. No money was available to purchase snuff, however Livio would exchange for a chicken or eggs from the farm.
The women used the river for the laundry and would walk 1 1/2 kilometres, carrying their bundles of soiled items, the articles would then be immersed and beaten on the rocks for cleaning. Then the walk back home, this time with the wet clothes, a much heavier load.
To buy yarn for spinning and working the women would need to walk 25 kilometers and then 25 kilometers on the return trip.
Prior to the onset of WWII, when Hitler was forming his youth armies, Livio's family were obtaining free books for the young to attend school. When the law was passed for free books to be given only when the young boys had purchased boots and joined the youth army, Angelo, Livio's father, could not afford to buy boots and so decided Livio had received enough education and would be better able to assist the men in the fields at home. So at the age of 11 years Livio would rise with the men at daylight and make his way to work until dusk fell. None of the family joined the youth army. (Dad was 13 years of age before he owned his first pair of shoes)
To survive, the family lived together and all members had their own tasks and for some it meant leaving home and going to work in France or Switzerland for a time to bring money back for the others. These were the lucky members of the community as with the opportunity for work away monies were used for the benefit of all. Having a farm there was always food of some description. Good food but sometimes monotonous in regularity.
After the WWII, times were very hard in Italy. Livio and two of his younger brothers went to Milan, looking for work in the brick factories. Food was so scarce and the brothers were so weak from hunger they realised to live, it would be neccessary to return to the farm.
With so many persons living together beds had to be shared and so sometimes a bed held more than two or three. For some years 23 persons lived together, with brothers marrying and bringing their wives and children home. The work was divided into sections, men on the land, some women would cook , while other women would do the laundry and cleaning, while others were responsible for the care of the children. There was also the care of the cattle and the cleaning of the stables, also women's work.
Cattle were precious and lived their life being cared for and fed in the stalls below the bedrooms. This meant cleaning and feeding every day, all the year.
In 1948 Livio served a compulsory twelve months in the Artilieria Montagna (Army).
Although a happy family, at the age of 26 years, it was plain to Livio that to make a better life and build a family it would be necessary to emigrate to either Canada or Australia. This took an enormous amount of courage, for he had no English language, no money and no particular trade. But he was rich in courage, determination and the will to survive and build a better life. When his papers arrived, in 1952, the first to arrive were from Australia.
Livio immigrated to Australia in 1952.