Growing through
the brick floor


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La 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.


© Diana Ruzzene Grollo
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This page was last modified October 2009 AEST.