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Life in the 1950’s was not a walk in the park as it is now. I was among the few African- American’s to receive education with the whites. Education was not easy as it was accompanied with lots of house chores, farm work, and raising my siblings. At the age of 19, I got a chance in the College of Greece. I fell in love with your grandfather. He intrigued me as he was the only black in my class. We met during class discussions and during breaks. He made me happy. I remember the day I confirmed I was really pregnant. There were no hospitals compared to the current days. Medicine men used herbal treatments to cure various ailments. I had ruined my purity before marriage. It was a taboo in my culture to give birth to children outside wedlock. The man responsible was forced to marry the woman before the pregnancy was known to the community. I did not know how to break the news to your grandfather. His education meant so much to him. He had great dreams and set goals that did not include early family responsibility. The news was a shock to him, but he knew that what had befallen us was inevitable. My parents were disappointed in me. I had to leave my family and join my now husband’s family. Your great grandmother was so sad that she was willing to hide me during my pregnancy to prevent my leaving.
The journey to Australia was extremely tiring. I suffered from sea sickness because of the rough sea. Things were very different in Australia. The houses were built far apart. I was used to very close family members’ houses in a homestead. There were automobiles; houses were built differently, the mode of dressing differed and also their food preferences. I was welcomed to the family with open arms except for a few disapproving people. I had home sick and really missed my family in Greece. Telephones were very rare compared to the current technology. Communication with distant people was close to impossible. I at times cried myself to sleep. My marriage was made official by a clan of elders to the family members. I urged your grandfather to go back and complete his studies so he could provide to his family. I helped in the farm because money was not in plenty.
I had an eight months premature birth of twins because of the work pressure. They were my greatest bundle of joy. It was sad I would not share my happiness with my mother. Rearing them was a great task. I had to look for odd jobs to earn money for my children. Life was difficult, but things got better after your grandfather was done with his studies. He was lucky to secure a job in the Australia’s parliament. We moved to our own cottage which was located near the mountains. Adjusting to the weather was also a task. During summers, it was cold and rainy, unlike Greece which was sunny. I ventured into farming which I had adopted from my motherland. We had a sizeable farm where we reared rabbits, lambs, chicken, and pigs. After a year, I was blessed with your eldest aunt. As time progressed, life became better year after year. Australia finally felt like home after the 52 years I have been here. It is always my dream to take my grandchildren to visit my homeland.
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