The Grandparents Storylab

The Grandparents StoryLab is a new intergenerational project that connects our youngest and oldest generations through podcasts and art. This is our first episode where kids interview their own grandparent. Through this podcast we want to encourage our listeners to interview and celebrate the elders in their lives.


Listen to Rosaria’s story

Did you know that in the 1940s kids got to ride elephants when they went to the zoo? Rose’s grandchildren Amélie age 7 and Siena age 5, interviewed her about the adventures of her childhood. This photo was taken in 2012 when Amélie and Rose visited New York City. Both Amélie and Siena continue to be grandma’s little apprentices, helping out and having fun. Have a listen to what life was like for Rose as a kid 80 years ago!!


Rose’s Story

Listen to the podcast and see her grandkids artwork illustrating Rose’s story.


I’m Siena and I’m 5. I am Ameile and I am going to interview my Grandma.

Amélie: What is your full name?

Rose: My full name is Rosaria, but when I was at school one of the teacher’s thought Rosaria Bongiorno was a very long name, so she said can we shorten your name to Rose? Now, most people call me Rose.

Amélie: When were you born?

Rose: I was born in 1938.

Amélie: That’s a very long time from now.

Rose: It certainly is, it’s 80 years!

Amélie: Wow!

What was your favorite toy when you were little?

Rose: I think my favorite toy…I had two dolls and I had a very special dolls pram which was green and I used to take my dolls for a walk and my auntie Josie made a very special cover to cover the dolls. When I took them for a walk…and after I was using the dolls pram my three brothers turned it into a billy cart! They used the wheels to make a billy cart…


But I had other toys and I used to like to draw, also I used to like to make things I used to like to fold paper to make fans and to make other things. I used to like to cut out.. We had special books where you had dolls and you cut out the dresses to put on the doll. I used to like to cut things out and paste them onto paper like pretty pictures.

Amélie: Did you ever make something that you've never created before?

Rose: I used to play sometimes with my brother’s toys they had a set, you could build things with and it was called a Meccano set. That was like sticks that you fitted together with little screws to make buildings and other things.

Amélie: Were they real screws and did you actually have to use stuff to pop them in?

Rose: Yes, I think so, they were real screws. I can't remember very well because it was a long time ago...

I used to play with my brothers because they liked to play football and cricket. They had little cars and they had little farm animals.

Siena: But you’re a girl! How could you play with boy toys?

Rose: Oh girls can play with boy toys, and boys can play with girl toys.


Siena: Did you have a museum when you were little?

Rose: Yes there was was a museum. Sometimes we used to go to the museum but sometimes my dad used to take us into the city and sometimes we would get a little boat that went up the Yarra River. Sometimes we used to go to the zoo and at the zoo we used to have a ride on the elephant. You can't do that anymore.

Siena: Grandma, how old were you when you rode the elephant?

Rose: Maybe I was seven or eight. They had a special seat on top of the elephant and the children could sit on the seat maybe three or four children at a time and the elephant would walk around.

Siena: Who would actually need to ride zoo animals? because it's alright, but you’ve got to ask them first.

Rose: Oh yes. Now you can't ride zoo animals because they have to look after the animals and people might hurt them.


Amélie: If you had a backyard what would you do in it?

Rose: Well we did have a backyard and there was a little slope in the backyard so we'd run down the hill. We'd have races coming down the hill and later when my brothers made a billy cart out of the wheels of my dolls pram we used to sit on the billy cart and roll down the hill.

Amélie: That would be fun.

Rose: We had birds that used to fly around and they swooped down or little birds that would sit on the ground and sometimes we used to take bread crumbs out to feed the birds so that they'd have something to eat.

Siena: Grandma…I’m hungry!

Rose: Well go and eat something.

Siena: I need for you to make something for me.

Rose: What do you want me to make for you?

Siena: A sandwich.

Rose: What sort of sandwich?


Rose: Honey?!?!?

Music in this episode is by

Blue Dot Sessions