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Our Nonna Celebrates 90 years!

June 21, 2016
Nonna celebrates 90 years

Nonna, my mother-in-law has a birthday today and she is 90!!!  Her name is Luisa but everyone and I mean everyone, family, friend or acquaintance calls her Nonna, which means Grandmother in Italian.

Nonna came to Australia 64 years ago with her husband Frank, (Nonno – Italian for grandfather), and a four year old son (my husband) and a baby girl.  They had to leave Italy after WWII as my father-in-law is Croatian and all those not born in Italy were ordered by the government to leave.

nonna e nonno

They found themselves on a boat heading for an unknown country, called Australia with a suitcase each, two small children and unable to speak English.  People were certainly pioneers in those days as they took the six week journey to a new and unknown life.  Their story is so interesting that it deserves a special post of its own.

nonna mike anna

Nonna has two children, four grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, although she always says 10 great-grandchildren as she includes my grandson and children as part of the family which is lovely.  My children lost their grandparents at a very young age so Nonna and Nonno have been their adopted grandparents for 23 years.

Always ready with a smile and a cheerful hello to everyone, she has finally shared her secret recipe for her pasta sauce and for many years, until recently we were all spoilt with her cooking. You only had to say you enjoyed something and then she made it for you every week!

nonna christmas 2008

Nonna loves a chat and visits daily with her friend who lives around the corner.  My husband once remarked that for people that never really go out, these two ladies always seem to have so much to talk about!!

I have know Nonna for 23 years – the time I have been with my husband.  From about 1997 both she and Nonno would say they wouldn’t see the new millennium.  However they did!  My husband and I organised a hotel room overlooking the city so they could see the fireworks and celebrate the new millennium with us over a seafood platter and champagne.

Each year she has said she probably won’t be here and now 16 years later she is celebrating not only her 90th birthday but also her 70th wedding anniversary.  What an achievement!

Last Sunday, we had a 90th birthday party for Nonna with family and friends.  It was the day the heavens decided to rain down in torrents however we had hired a hall so we were all snug inside and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon.

We decorated with balloons and streamers and in the good old fashioned Italian tradition had way too much food!

nonna party decorations

My husband, Mike, (Nonna’s son) had made a slideshow of photographs from when she was a young girl right through until present day.  He also had Italian music playing in the background and both Nonna and Nonno were overcome with emotion and joy.

nonna gift bags

nonna table decorations

My husband and I live downstairs from Nonna and Nonno as support and a few weeks ago she had a fall and fractured two ribs.  Since then this sprightly lady has become frail and it is sad to see.  It is also a reminder that she will not always be with us and that we need to celebrate life and appreciate those we love every day.

Cherish those you love as they will not always be here to tell them how much they mean to you.Click To Tweet

Happy birthday Nonna!  We know you share your birthday month with Queen Elizabeth II.  You are our Queen and now we start planning for the 100th!!!

nonna birthday cake

Let’s Keep Sizzling!






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  • Reply Toni Pike June 21, 2016 at 14:44

    Wonderful – what a great way to celebrate such an important milestone and what lovely family photos from the past. Please pass on my congratulations.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 21, 2016 at 15:12

      Thank you Toni. It was great that Mike could compile a series of photos for display so we now have the all in one place. Thank you for your lovely words. x

  • Reply Corinne Rodrigues June 21, 2016 at 15:47

    Happy birthday to her, Sue. What a lady. Your in-laws are blessed to have you both close by too.
    My Dad celebrated his 90th birthday last November and he and Mum (88 this week) are going strong, having been married for 65 years. Although they’re fiercely independent, they are also blessed to have all three of us stay within a two kilometre radius from them, should they need us.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:32

      Yes she had a lovely time. I lost my parents 30 years ago so never got to see them in old age. It is great that your parents are still in good health good for them!

  • Reply Shirley Corder June 21, 2016 at 20:16

    What a great tribute, Sue. Please pass on my congratulations for both her 90th birthday and her 70th wedding anniversary. Two great milestones!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:33

      Thank you Shirley they are both great milestones! We had a lovely day to celebrate now to plan the 100th!

  • Reply Leanne June 21, 2016 at 20:22

    She looks like a lovely woman – that smile is contagious! And that birthday cake looks amazing too. What a legacy she has created and what a joy it must have been for her to celebrate with all her loved ones.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:34

      Yes she is a little old Italian lady who would give you the world. She had a wonderful day and created another special memory for us all. xx

  • Reply Carol Cassara June 22, 2016 at 07:50

    My Nonna, whom we called Mama, lived til 99 years of age. Good peasant genes from Sicily!! Congrats to your Nonna and many happy returns of the day to her.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:35

      Yes I think it must have been living the simple life that is for sure Carol. Now to plan her 100th!! Thank you for your good wishes. xx

  • Reply Laurie Stone June 22, 2016 at 09:37

    What a wonderful post about Nonna. She sounds like an incredible, sweet, charming woman.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:35

      Yes Laurie she is a sweetie and she had such a lovely time spending the day with her family and friends. Treasured memories.

  • Reply Helene Cohen Bludman June 22, 2016 at 09:45

    Loved getting to know Nonna through your sweet post. What a blessing to have her in your family!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:36

      Thank you Helene! Yes I’m not sure what we would do without Nonna and her smile.

  • Reply Nancy June 22, 2016 at 09:50

    What a blessing! All the way around for you, her, nonno, and everyone else in the family and neighborhood. I love to hear about happy endings, and Australia seems to have provided much deserved happiness. Treasure every minute!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:37

      Thank you Nancy. It must have been difficult for them at first but they love Australia and never thought to return to Italy. We do need to treasure every moment as we never know what will happen. Thank you for stopping by.

  • Reply Lois Alter Mark June 22, 2016 at 12:02

    Happy birthday to your sweet Nonna! Loved getting to know her here, and hope to be celebrating 91 here next year!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2016 at 14:38

      Yes Lois I hope we are celebrating her 91st next year. She has been so funny always saying she won’t see the next year out and here she is reaching 90 a great achievement.

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski June 22, 2016 at 15:47

    Love all the pictures you posted of her and so nice she has a friend to chat with as well as you and your husband for support. Happy Birthday to her.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 23, 2016 at 07:45

      thanks Rebecca! Yes she and her friend are good companions for each other.

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt June 23, 2016 at 13:38

    How wonderful you can celebrate your Nonna’s 90th birthday! Quite a life lived and so interesting! You have been one busy lady!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 24, 2016 at 11:26

      Yes Terri. I lost my parents early in life so Nonna has certainly been a large part of my last 23 years. It was lovely to see her enjoy her day and her story is very interesting. I hope to write about her early years one day.

  • Reply Mike Loncaric June 24, 2016 at 11:11

    Hello My Love
    As usual you have displayed your inner beauty and your caring nature.
    As for Nonno and Nonna, we trust there will be many more occasions to celebrate.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 24, 2016 at 11:29

      Oh thank you darling! I think this is your first comment on my website – look forward to planning more birthday celebrations with you for Nonna and Nonno. xx

  • Reply Silly Mummy June 25, 2016 at 07:57

    How lovely! Happy birthday, Nonna! She shares a birthday month AND year with the Queen! She sounds like a wonderful lady with such an interesting life, this was fascinating to read.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 25, 2016 at 09:30

      Thank you! We have a joke about her sharing the Queen’s birthday month and year. Her life has been very fascinating and I would love to write a book one day. It must have been so hard coming to a new country not being able to speak the language and with only one suitcase. I’ve had a very easy life compared to that.

  • Reply Stacey W June 25, 2016 at 08:57

    Happy Birthday Nonna! What beautiful words and pictures!!!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 25, 2016 at 09:33

      Thank you Stacey we had a wonderful day!

  • Reply Marilyn Lesniak June 28, 2016 at 05:00

    Such a great memory to make! Enjoy them Sue.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 1, 2016 at 10:52

      Yes it was a lovely day Marilyn and we have some lovely photos of her life now in the one place as a record.

  • Reply I'm Struggling but that is OK - Life will get better - Sizzling Towards Sixty July 13, 2016 at 10:44

    […] Nonna recently turned 90 plus her 70th wedding anniversary and we had a celebration – I even wrote a post about it – Our Nonna Celebrates 90 years. […]

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