These stories, memoirs and anecdotes represent an image of life in Italy that I developed as I grew up in its deepest south in the fifties and sixties. I wrote them for my son, my youngest sister and my nephews, all born in England, so that they might have a deeper understanding of their cultural heritage. About the author The second child of a family of six children, I was born in Gioia del Colle, province of Bari, in Puglia, Italy. The first fifteen years of my life were uneventful, marked by routines common to the community I grew up in. I assumed as a child that every family had someone who was ill (my elder brother John was born with a congenital heart disease) and that it was the role of the father to be away from home to earn a living for the family. I had a peaceful first fifteen years, marked by my father's visits home from England. In 1964, at the age of fifteen, I came to England with my family, speaking no English, My prospects were not good unless I learned English fast. And so I did. Four years later I gained a place at university where I studied modern languages. After many years of teaching French and Italian at many levels, including teacher training, I now work as an independent education consultant. I have been married to my great, fun-loving husband, Angus, for thirty-three years. We have a wonderful son, Jonathan, who is so proud of his Italian heritage. He speaks Italian with a non-chalant easiness, and Lucy, his delightful partner, who has drawn the cover to this book, taught herself Italian too so that they can explore together more of Jonathan's Italian culture.