The Adventure Years: A Memoir

By Nancy, 79. Adelaide, SA

Leaving Home, 1956

It was the end of March 1956. I had turned sixteen on the 3rd and had put into place my plans for escaping the very restricted conditions of the parental home.

My parents were both born in the 1900s in a small village called Fossacesia in the Abruzzo region of Italy, which lies on the Adriatic Sea. Neither of them were educated as there was no school in the village. This is not to say they were unintelligent. They were extremely clever in what they achieved in their lifetime.

When I was born they were in their forties and I think came as a bit of a surprise. My father arrived in Adelaide in 1927 and it took him eight years to save up enough money to bring my mother and two sons here. They left behind poverty and worked hard, built a house and raised a family.

We lived in the Adelaide Hills at Upper Sturt which is on the verge of Belair National Park. In those days it was very isolated with houses few and far between. The only mode of transport was the train which ran from the city to Bridgewater, or walking.

The fifties, of course, were exciting as they heralded in rock and roll. Bill Haley and the Comets were very much in, as was Elvis Presley. My mother was horrified at my choice of music but I loved it.

The day came for my departure. I had put my plans in. I was booked into a girls’ hostel in the city and I was working at Myer in Rundle Street as it was then. It wasn’t much of a job but it paid for my board and left me with a little over. I finished work at midday and had arranged for a friend to pick me up and drive me home. On arrival, when I told my mother what I was doing she became very abusive and hostile. I quickly packed and left.

We drove to the hostel where I booked in and unpacked. I was very happy to be free. I was now able to do exactly as I pleased with no one telling me what to do. The coming months were exciting as I did as I pleased. There was only one factor and that was I was constantly short of money as my wage was not very high but that was a minor problem.

Nevertheless, the Adventure Years were about to start. Four glorious years.

To read more of Nancy’s writing, click here.

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1 year ago

It’s interesting to read of those times. You have whet my appetite. Now I want to know what happened after those 4 glorious years!

Lesley Willott
Lesley Willott
1 year ago

Really enjoyed reading your memories of leaving home, I’m ready for the next chapter, what happens next?

Isolde King
Isolde King
1 year ago

Very interesting start,but then what happened??