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Holding Hands

For me, holding hands means you are in a comfortable space, and/or being supported. Either way, it is normally a positive space. 

This photo of my daughter, granddaughter, and me, taken recently, when we were out celebrating my birthday, makes me smile each time I look at it. There is so much ahead for little Florence … and she will be supported every step of the way, although she is already showing an independent streak!

I look at Florence and think back on my life and my childhood and how my mother was also always there, holding hands.

Books and Things

Holding hands; my daughter and I either side of Florence.

Born and brought up in Rhodesia, which then became Zimbabwe (in my early teens), it was such a different life to where I am currently living … here in Queensland, Australia. I never once imagined this is where I would end up or that I would have realised a lifelong dream of writing and publishing not one but two (award-winning) books. Woohoo!

Thankfully, I am now where I want to be and again, looking back, I ponder on how, as I grew older, I embraced a philosophy that has stood me in good stead. I began to realise that it is pointless having too many regrets as they just pull you down. Hand-in-hand (or holding hands!) with this approach is that we must make the most of what we have and celebrate that each and every day; this tactic perpetuates positivity. 

Now you might think, yeah, well, easy for you to say or do, but it’s only easier now. In the beginning, many years ago, it was something I had to train my brain to do as I was a very dramatic and reactive teenager. Sometimes, I would explode in anger or tears and slam doors and feel humiliated or criticised. Many times, I would turn myself ‘inside out’ so that feelings festered inside of me. It could have been all very self-destructive, for sure. 

Thankfully, discovering the delights of books and disappearing into other worlds, were, and still are my saviour. I don’t read a lot of self-help books; rather, I became aware that many times (and this was when I had calmed down and could start to question how things had played out), I was doing or reacting to a lot of things to myself that were unhelpful. I was thinking too much about what others thought of me instead of asking: How could I have acted differently, and would that have gotten a different result? If the answer was yes, then I realised I had to put what had happened behind me and act in another way, the next time.

In fact, it was a ‘holding hands’ technique: we help ourselves if we are open to new opportunities and do not bear grudges or hark on to ‘what if’! Oh, hang on … that would be a three-way hand holding! Anyhow, you get my drift.

Back to holding hands though and, I think of my mum when she was five years old in 1949 … just a few years older than Florence is now. It's hard to imagine that just a few years before , in 1939, World War 2 had just begun. What terrifying war years ahead; they would have been holding hands many times just to reassure each other. The extract below is from Goodbye to Italia and is in1940. Air raids have started and escaping to bomb shelters are becoming a way of life for all. Thankfully, they have survived another night. #holdinghands #italy #WW2

The tanks are still stationed in Piazza Vittorio. The feast of Pasqua (Easter), has come and gone. Despite some far distant memory that Mamma and Nonna talk about of eating chocolate as an Easter tradition, we do not get any. In fact, it is a blessing if we have anything to eat at all! I’m just happy if I can get some hot milk in the morning and, if lucky, a few tablespoons of Nonna’s precious black coffee is added when we manage to find some.

Finally, as the days start to get longer, our moods start to lighten. The spring days hold warm promises of summer. Then we hear news that in the town of Sicilia, at the bottom of the boot of Italy, American soldiers are landing daily and chasing away the Germans. Everyone is saying that the war is over. Our daily prayers become even more impassioned, as we wish with all our hearts that this is truly a sign that the end of the war is near.

‘Is it true, Mamma?’ I ask when she gets home from work that night. ‘They have been talking about it out in the street. Graziella said her mamma told her so. Is the war really over?’

‘It seems that is what they are saying, cara.’

‘So where are these Americani then?’ Nonna’s voice is like a dose of cold water. ‘Those German soldiers are still strutting around out there, filled with their own self-importance! I certainly am not going to tell them the war is over.’

‘Aah, Mamma, don’t be so cynical.’ Looking at me, Mamma smiles. ‘Don’t listen to Nonna. In her heart of hearts, she is also hopeful, but she doesn’t want to get disappointed.’ Some sort of hrrumff is emitted from Nonna but Mamma continues. ‘We just need to have patience, Mariolina. They are coming. Graziella’s mamma is quite right.’ Mamma pats me on the cheek for good measure.


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