A timid girl. A young soldier. A love story.
GOODBYE TO Italia is an award-winning non-fiction romantic story of Italian drama, courage and humour. It is set in Italy and Africa during World War 2.
So as to stay true to the retelling by my mamma and pappa, and to capture the essence of living through those times, the chapters in the first half of the book interchange between the two diverse characters, Mariolina and Eugenio (13 years older than her), as they come of age.
Ciao! I'm Marisa Parker (nee Piergiovanni). My two books (non-fiction), “GOODBYE TO Italia” (2016) and “Ciao! WE’RE IN AFRICA” (2018) recounts the emotional experiences of my Italian parents, Maria and Eugenio Piergiovanni. The first book is an award-winning story of their survival and coming-of-age through World War II in Italy, and African Prisoner of War camps. The second book reveals their daring travel to Rhodesia and South Africa, in the fifties, seeking adventure and fortune.
I was born in Rhodesia, Africa (now Zimbabwe). In 2000, my Scottish husband Gerald, and I, and our two daughters, left Zimbabwe. Marisa and Gerald now live in the Gold Coast hinterland. Website - www.marisaparkerauthor.com
It is easy to fall prone to thoughts of disappointment and discontent. How much nicer the day is when we smile at a stranger in the street and receive a grin, even if it is gap-toothed! Appreciating the small pleasures in life and taking moments to breathe and just ‘be’, are important reminders for me, so as to celebrate achievements and plan what small step I can put in place to lead me forwards.
Both my parents had this ability to grab at opportunities and turn ‘lemons into lemonade’! In 1943, my father turned twenty-one in a Prisoner of War camp in South Africa. His birthday was unremarkable, and he worried that he was beginning to lose his mind. But he rallied and determinedly nudged those voices aside looking for things to do, and how to help others, in a crowded concentration camp of 63,000 inmates.
Goodbye to Italia
In January, 1943, a school is opened in our block. What a marvel. I have something to occupy my mind instead of all my despondent and self-pitying thoughts. I avail myself of a short-hand course and revel in putting my brain to work. It also helps that we start to get paid again. Now with money, I purchase all sorts of goodies from a trader—sweets, bread, and even a toothbrush and hairbrushes. I buy some Stephens writing ink that is from Britain. It cost me six pennies and that night I use it to write in my diaries. To my utter disgust, I have wasted my money. The ink is watery and I have to keep overwriting my sentences so that they are legible.