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
As friends over in America are celebrating Thanksgiving, it comes to mind that practising gratitude is so important: we need to say thank you to others and to be grateful for what we have. It is easy to become mired down by negativity. So, let’s be positive this weekend! I want to say ‘grazie’ to everyone out there who is in my life whether in person or digitally …
When my father was finally released from the POW camp in early 1946, his return to Italy was after six long years. I cannot imagine what thoughts were going through his mind but, as he stood outside the entrance to his home, I imagine he would have been thanking God and his lucky stars.
How serendipitous that the first person he saw just happened to be the pretty girl that he would marry six years later; my mum.
Goodbye to Italia
I stand outside the building that was my home before I strutted off to war as a naïve boy of seventeen. The lavanderia is still there and I am caught up in such a nostalgic sensation that I have to consciously stop myself from getting too emotional. Thankfully, a pretty young girl with big brown eyes comes out of the shop and looks at me enquiringly. A breeze ruffles her dark, shoulder-length hair and I smell a floral scent. Wow, she smells good. I look at her appreciatively as she is dressed in a simple summer dress with a delicate floral design in pinks and greens. She is too young for me, of course, but I can see she will grow up to be a good-looking woman. ‘Lei vuole qualcosa? Do you want something?’ I hear her ask in a soft musical voice. I realise I have been standing outside the shop staring into space without moving.