Extraordinary life in any language

Former languages teacher Nicola Di Lello, of Balcatta, has penned his life story. Picture: Martin Kennealey d493515
Former languages teacher Nicola Di Lello, of Balcatta, has penned his life story. Picture: Martin Kennealey d493515

A FORMER Italian teacher has put his retirement to good use, penning a memoir.

Nicola Di Lello, 75, of Balcatta, who taught Italian and French for 20 years at Servite College in Tuart Hill, has made a valuable contribution to WA migrant history with his book An ordinary migrant, An extraordinary life.

Di Lello, who remembers running for shelter from a bombardment during World War II, migrated to Perth in 1960 from Abruzzo with his mother and sister to join his father who had come out five years earlier.

He set about learning English and obtaining his Leaving Certificate (his equivalent Italian qualification was not accepted) before being accepted to study Italian, French and Greek at UWA.

A 42-year teaching career followed, along with marriage to Rita and the arrival of children and grandchildren. He said the memoir was 30 years in the making and he was “very happy” to complete it.

“For posterity, for my family and country – for both (Australia and Italy),” he said of the impetus to write the book.

His editor will translate the book into Italian.

To obtain a copy, call 0439 999 087 or email nrdilello@optusnet.com.au

EXTRACT

My childhood was very much influenced by the war events which have been indelibly etched on my mind. How can I forget the loud thunder from the bombs that whistled over the roof of our modest country house? That was the signal for my family to leave. My father had survived numerous bombings of Rome while serving his country. I can still picture him running resolutely for the shelter. I called out to him. “Papa, wait for me, wait for me!” I was only about three years old and I could not keep up with him.