As you may recall from my last email and instagram post, we have spent the last eight weeks with my dad in Harvey, living on the farm where I grew up. Dad needed our support and my heart was drawn to respond. My husband and children supported me and it is here we have been for the past eight weeks.
I can write pages but in respect to our time-poor lives I have abbreviated the unexpected highlights of our time here which will be treasured forever.
A sense of history and belonging for my children powered by lifelong connections.
My children felt it so much so that my daughter came home after school once a day and asked to change her surname to Italiano 😘. My grandfather and his family grew up here, my dad grew up here and so did I. My mother also grew up in a town 15 minutes away so family ties to this region from both sides of my lineage is strong. My husband and children deepened their connection to this history and family bond and so did I.
In a small country town you connect with all walks of life, share their struggles, their joys and learn – mostly without judgement – their family’s tapestry. You become one and there is little separation. There’s always time for a chat, time to ask after their wellbeing and that of their family. A 15minute shop for a few groceries became a 60minute outing, comprised mostly of talking and connecting. During our stay, we went to neighbouring farm homes for cups of tea and were greeted with spreads of food to feed an army. Home-baked scones and alike were a regular feature of this time away. I met the wives and children of primary school friends and the grandchildren of the local grocer. The one that cared so much about his shop, the town and its people. The one that I remember giving me slices of polony whilst shopping with my mum as a child.
I reconnected with a cousin, Rosie Italiano who has been distilling and making perfume from Australian wildflowers for the past 15 years. An inspirational lady, so graceful and humble. Refreshingly, she didn’t want me to write a post on Instagram or share her story. Rosie is an important link in my own brand’s story to be told in the near future.
The power of scent and my childhood memories
I reconnected with the power of scent and those exact aromas locked into my brain’s smell centre and childhood memories. Every year at this exact time of year, my dad would begin cutting the pastures to make hay/feed for his cattle. He would work from dawn to dusk on the tractor. Time was of the essence to maintain the pasture’s goodness so my mum would prepare a mini picnic which we shared in the middle of a vast paddock of half-cut, fresh and dried long grass. I remember the distinctive, pungent freshly-cut grass smell and associated feelings of warmth, connection and liberty.
The enormous (as it appeared to me as a 7-year-old) school oval where I spent nearly every playtime of my primary school years would smell similarly after one of the local volunteering farmers had completed his weekly cutting and tractor round. Whilst playing with my children and experiencing their athletics carnival on this exact oval, this same scent would imbue me. It is so ingrained in my memory and has triggered countless emotions and feelings over my time here. It has reacquainted me with feelings of connection and warmth attributed to this place and strengthened a sense of history and belonging. It appears this same scent is imbued into the cells of my children and re-imprinted the same feelings.
So it is here in Harvey that I have been acutely reminded of the power of scent. I have found inspiration and motivation for a new scent which is in curation for MELIS’s first birthday which is fast approaching.
We leave here tomorrow to return to a relatively new community in Margaret River where we are building a new version of the above. We consciously chose this community and I am so grateful for the parallels I see and feel living amongst its people and stunning landscape. The MELIS journey continues alongside my personal journey and I’m grateful to share it with you.
May you be well and enjoy the warmth and distinctive spring aromas.