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Lucky in love

Saturday, 9th May, 2020

Olga and Dino de Franceschi, May 2020.  PICTURE:  Supplied Olga and Dino de Franceschi, May 2020. PICTURE: Supplied

By Annette Northey

When Olga and Dino de Franceschi celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary on Thursday, May 14, in their new home of Adelaide, they will do so with the most cherished memories of the Silver City, family and friends they love so dearly.

To date though, they haven’t had much luck with their milestone anniversaries. The night before their 50th wedding anniversary, Olga broke her hip and was flown to Adelaide.

This time around, they will celebrate quietly with their daughter Paula and son-in-law Shane in Adelaide, instead of celebrating in Broken Hill with extended family and friends.

“The virus got us this time. But you know what, the most important thing is that everyone’s well,” Olga said.

Olga Ravlich and Dino de Franceschi were married on May 14, 1960, at the All Saints Church in South Broken Hill and enjoyed a large reception at the Masonic Hall with around 300 guests.

“Dino is Italian, so there was always going to be a lot of people,” Olga said.

“In those days people had large weddings because their parents could afford it.”

They had met a few years earlier at a dance at the Druids, and would spend many hours treading the boards at The Palais and the Napredak Hall.

The couple has three daughters who all live away now - Julie, the eldest (Albion Park, Wollongong), Marissa (Merewether, Newcastle) and the youngest, Paula (Adelaide).

Between the three girls they have six grandchildren (two boys and four

girls) and one great-grandchild, Archer, with another due in August.

For the first eight years of marriage, they lived with Olga’s parents in Broken Hill until they built their home in Wyman Street.

Some might baulk at the thought of living with one’s parents for so long, but Olga said it was good.

“I was the one who wanted to leave more than Dino because he got on so well with them. They thought he was the golden-headed boy,” Olga said.

They lived in Broken Hill until only six months ago, when they moved to Plympton in Adelaide to be close to Paula, their youngest daughter.

“The reason we left was mainly for medical reasons; we’re getting too old to drive down, it’s not easy to travel any other way,” Olga said.

“The girls wanted us to move somewhere and Adelaide was where a lot of our specialists and medical (services) are.”

Olga said they both found it very difficult to leave Broken Hill and that she cried for days.

“Dino came from Italy to Broken Hill (at 21) and we both loved it, we will never forget Broken Hill,” she said.

Dino carved a fairy tale existence for the couple and their family in Broken Hill. A joiner by trade, he was one of four brothers who worked together in the building industry for 26 years as the well-known De Franceschi Brothers.

When one brother eventually moved to Canberra, Dino went out on his own under the name of Sturt Joinery.

“After 26 years of working together I went out on my own doing joinery and started making cupboards and doing wood carving, etc.,” Dino said.

As a young girl, Olga began work at Middleton’s in Argent Street and worked there up until a short time after she was married, when union policy in Broken Hill prohibited married women from working (unless they were professionally trained).

“I loved working at Middleton’s; I miss my work friends and school friends,” she said.

“When you’ve grown up there and have been there for eighty years, it’s very difficult to leave.”

Olga and Dino both feel blessed that they have had a wonderful marriage, that life has been good to them, and that they are able to celebrate 60 years of marriage next week.

“But like most people, we have had our arguments and disagreements,” Olga said.

“But I think our love for each other has been a special part of our marriage.

“And having wonderful daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and extended family.

“We have been blessed with our children and sons-in-law. One lives next door and he comes in every day,” she said.

“But like I said, everybody has their ups and downs.”

She asks Dino to divulge what he says when they have their arguments.

“You’ve gotta be lucky, you’ve gotta be good, but mainly you’ve gotta be in love,” he said.

“If you love one another you put up with it.

“And in the end, the key is you gotta say ‘Yes, love’”.

Olga and Dino embraced family life in Broken Hill and say what they loved doing the most was just having family and friends around.

They travelled a lot in their caravan and went overseas a few times, but above all placed great importance on visiting friends together and having friends around.

“We made it our business to make an effort to visit friends and had friends over for coffee every Sunday; we did a lot of entertaining,” Olga said.

When asked who wore the pants in the family, Gino takes the phone out of Olga’s hand and she laughs.

“These days it’s really hard to tell, but it’s like this,” he says.

“Before we got married, we sat down and had a good discussion.

“Olga told me her ideas, I told her my ideas. I said you look after the money; I’ll go to work, and you can spend it.

“We don’t have your money, her money; everything we do, we do together.”

When it came to recalling the most contentious issue in their marriage over the years, Olga and Dino really had to rack their brains. What they finally decided on was their differing attitude toward disciplining their daughters.

“I sometimes had regrets that we didn’t let them do enough, but Dino doesn’t think so,” Olga said.

“As I was a bit nervous, I was a bit strict.

“As teenagers they were great really, but if they went in groups and other people did something, I thought it was a bit too much.

“I think I should have been a lot more lenient on our girls because they’ve never caused us one little, solitary problem.”

“I’ve got a lot of different ideas than Olga,” Dino said.

“What we did with the kids, we did for them. We chastised them, we didn’t let them go hands free, but we gave them a lot of love in between and I have no regrets about what I did for the girls or my family.

“If I had to do it, I’d do it all over again.”

Their advice for newlyweds navigating married life these days:

“Make sure before you marry that it’s the right person for you. Yes, you will have disagreements but just stay in love and always make sure you apologise and talk it over,” says Olga.

“If you live together, you’ll have disagreements over many things, but you’ve gotta know how to get over it.”

Dino’s view is, not surprisingly, parallel to Olga’s.

“You’ve gotta give and take, you can’t let it be only one side - it takes two to do good or to do bad. But anyhow, if you love one another you should be able to put up with it. And there’s a saying ... Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like to be done to you,” he says.

At that, Olga prompts Dino for his gem again. “Yes, darling,” he confirms, in his suave Italian accent.

Olga and Dino have a heartfelt message for their family and friends in Broken Hill.

“We both want to say hello to all our Broken Hill family and friends; we’ll always feel a part of Broken Hill and we love them all,” Olga says.

“I want to say hello to my family and extended family in Broken Hill. I love Broken Hill and I’ll never forget about it,” says Dino.

I’m sure the whole of Broken Hill wishes Olga and Dino a very happy 60th wedding anniversary, and many more.

 

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