Sharp look at classic life in the bush

Francesca MannMidwest Times
Patsy Briotti, second from right, with Amy Doherty, her grandson Levi Caddy and her daughter Nichola Caddy, who all helped edit and finalise Bare Feet on Sharp Stones.
Camera IconPatsy Briotti, second from right, with Amy Doherty, her grandson Levi Caddy and her daughter Nichola Caddy, who all helped edit and finalise Bare Feet on Sharp Stones. Credit: Supplied

After 30 years of compiling stories and memories, Patsy Briotti has released her memoir, Bare Feet On Sharp Stones, offering a glimpse into her life.

Growing up in Moora, Briotti was one of nine children.

Hailing from a working-class family, Briotti lived in pre-loved clothing and spent most of her time barefoot.

But despite the hardships, including no electricity or running water in her childhood home, Briotti reflects fondly upon her early years.

“We ran free and we never got into any trouble, we were more or less left to roam as we pleased,” the mother of four and grandmother of 12 said.

“But there was always an adult within yelling distance and we were never far from help.

“During my teenage years, we used to go to dances out of town and when I left school there was always work. We never planned what we were going to do.”

Patsy Briotti when she was 16-years-old.
Camera IconPatsy Briotti when she was 16-years-old. Credit: Supplied

The 75-year-old now lives in Cervantes, having moved there in 1984 with her husband, Ralph.

The pair were married for 53 years and owned nine businesses, including school buses, a supermarket and an airline catering service in Karratha.

Ralph died in January 2015, and despite describing his funeral as a “debacle”, Briotti’s children encouraged her to include the story in her memoir.

“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” she said.

“I didn’t want to write about that, but my kids insisted that I do. “I’m happy that I did because I couldn’t look back on it without feeling frustrated and upset.”

Patsy Briotti, left, with her father and siblings.
Camera IconPatsy Briotti, left, with her father and siblings. Credit: Supplied
Patsy Briotti, left, with her father and siblings.
Camera IconPatsy Briotti, left, with her father and siblings. Credit: Supplied

Originally, Bare Feet On Sharp Stones was just for her children and grandchildren, but with their help she was able to transform the stories into an immersive book complete with old photos.

Briotti now hopes her collection of memories will offer a glimpse into the seemingly distant past.

“Everything is taken for granted by our kids these days,” she said.

“They wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be able to run free without the hazards of society, and they wouldn’t understand what hardships we went through as kids.

“Life was pretty tough, but we got through it.”

Bare Feet On Sharp Stones is available through www.barefeetonsharpstones.com.au.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails