Everyone loved my mother, Louise Pergolini. She smiled quickly, listened completely and cared deeply.
She could be the life of a party, but if she was hosting she would make sure everyone had a drink, something to eat and a comfortable place to sit.
Louise loved nursing and was respected by patients and doctors alike. If a friend or neighbour was suffering from some pain or anxiety, she discreetly helped find the right professional care.
When we were young, she ferried us and our friends from after-school sport to part-time jobs to play practice and always managed a meal on the table for us six kids plus anyone we brought home with us.
Louise loved to dance and I can only imagine her, in the 1940s, cutting the rug to a Glen Miller riff. Our dad, Owen, had two left feet. Still, she would get out on the dance floor with anyone who offered their hand.
Her musical taste ranged widely. She loved everything from the Big Band sound to crooners like Tony Bennett, Mario Lanzo’s operatic works, Broadway musicals, and even Julio Iglesias.
Louise didn’t cry easily. She was strong and unsentimental. Though, she certainly had her share of sadness and loss: beloved cousin Angelo during the war, multiple miscarried pregnancies, her parents, her husband and her adult son.
Our Anglo-Saxon dad, Owen, was more visibly emotional and welled up easily with tears. We said he should have been the impassioned Italian and Mamma Louise the stoic northerner. But her love of linguine and mussels or the famous Abruzzo dish scripelle ‘mbusse gave her away as the Italian in the family. And her looks….what a stunner.
Looking back and remembering my mother ten years after her death, I see not just my mother, but Louise the person. The loving, fun, intelligent and determined woman I will never be.
We miss you enormously, big Lou.