Saying Goodbye to my Grand Mother

Celeste Tardio
b: 27 – 09 – 1916
d: 24 – 03 – 2008

Mother of 5, Grand Mother of 10 & Great Grand Mother of 3.

On Monday my Grand Mother passed away.
I’d like to take this opportunity to not express grief or seek your condolences…
Rather, I really want to celebrate her life with sharing some memories of this beautiful woman.

Nonnina (Italian for Grand Ma) was born in San Marco, Foggia in Italy.
Her family were dress makers in their village.
She was courted by (Luigi Tardio – A Farmer) my Nonno and finally had no choice but to Marry him when he serenaded her from the street in full public view! hehehe!
Two weeks after marriage he left for World War 2, leaving behind a pregnant wife in the care of his Mother and a farm to tend.
During the war years, there were a few visits and a few births along the way.
In 1955 the family migrated to Australia and lived in Fitzroy for a few years until settling in Northcote in the early 60’s.

Three months after I was born, my Mum and Dad both had to work to get ahead so I was in the care of Nonnina 10 hours a day.
This went on until I went to kinder Garden and then school.
It was during these years that I bonded with my Nonnina and we will always be close.

To keep me entertained when I was young, she used to place all the chairs in the house in a row down the passage so we could pretend we were on a bus, of which I of course was the driver!
Whilst on this imaginary bus she would sing old Italian village songs and do her sewing, whilst my Nonno begrudgingly sat at the back of this bus smoking his cigarettes and reading the form guide for Saturdays Race meet! hehehe!
She used to cook very simple foods that tasted amazing and I’ll miss that.
Nonnina used to let me get away with practically everything, and even pretended to enjoy me entertaining her and all her visitors with KISS songs when I was eight and learning how to play guitar!
I can only imagine how “I wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll all night and party everyday” sounded like to these oldies! :D
She loved to tell stories and could keep everyone hypnotised with her reminiscing of people, family and places.
One of her favourite things was that she loved to draw.
Never with pencils or paints but with textas!!

The past 12 months have been a bit of a struggle with her health deteriorating and the last seven days have been quite a strain.
Four days before she departed from this earth she still had the strength and will to give out her final orders to all of the family members who were present.
She told everyone to leave the room as she spoke to us individually and gave us some beautiful words to remember her by.
When it was my turn, she asked for my fiancée (Anna) to be present as well and this is what she said to her… “Make sure you love and honour your husband, make sure he is well fed and keep the house nice and tidy and make sure you have lots of beautiful babies!!”
To which I said “..and what about me”? Nonnina said “Make sure you always love and honour your wife”.
I said “That’s it? Thanks Nonnina for giving me the easy job!!” LOL!! Poor Anna, she’s even got the duty to make sure our babies are beautiful!! hehe!

Ciao Nonnina, ti volio molto bene, I’ll miss your smile and your spirit.
Please say hello to my Father and Grand Father for me.

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