The Italian adventure continues
My Italian Destiny is a handsome looking book, and evocatively illustrated. The memoir is an affectionate account of how families, intertwined by fate, still maintain intergenerational connections.
Author Lynn Kirkland is better known for founding Ashhurst’s The Herb Farm, but for the last 10 years she has been working on an autobiographical account of her early life.
The story really begins before then, during World War II with Lynn’s father Bob Rogers, who was serving in the British army. It was publication of her father’s book Sixty Bonus Years that prompted her to tell another episode of her family’s story.
‘‘Dad was captured at El Alamein, and was aboard the Nino Bixio with 500 allied prisoners when it was torpedoed by a British submarine. It was terrible. Every day he lived after that was a bonus.’’
While her father obviously survived, others were not so lucky, including the first husband of Lynn’s eventual mother, who had befriended Bob aboard the illfated ship.
‘‘War is brutal . . . but sometimes wonderful things happen as a result of it.’’
Escaping Italian custody, Bob was on the lam in north Italy before being taken in by a family in the village of Gaina. Lynn visited the village when she 14, and again when she was 21 in 1973. On that occasion, she became engaged to Giovanni, grandson of the villagers who had sheltered her father.
While Giovanni went into the army for two years compulsory military training, Lynn returned to New Zealand wearing an engagement ring.
To find out how things turned out like they did, you’ll have to get hold of Lynn’s book. My Italian Destiny is having its public launch next Wednesday at 7pm in the Ashhurst Library following a private session last week at The Herb Farm to celebrate Lynn’s 65th birthday.
‘‘I’m really happy it’s in print, and I’m thrilled to see so many photos. I love capturing images everywhere I go.’’
Lynn and her family arrived in New Zealand as ‘10-pound poms’ aboard the
Captain Cook, and Lynn took a lot of photos using a good ol’ box brownie.
Some of those pics have made it into the book – which is getting an Italian edition, by the way.
There is also the promise of a sequel. Hopefully it won’t take Lynn another 10 years to write.
‘‘War is brutal . . . but sometimes wonderful things happen as a result of it.’’ Lynn Kirkland author
Lyn Kirkland of the Herb Farm,with her memoir ‘My Italian Destiny’. The wallpaper behind her is a replication of the photograph that adorns the cover.