I met my husband at eighteen and I was married at twenty-four. At twenty-six I had two kids. On May 1, 1978, my mother-in-law told me Renata, the wife of one of my husband’s workmates, had called to offer me an interesting job where I’d be in charge and could do things in my own time, I didn’t wait to think twice about it. At the party Renata spoke enthusiastically of containers that could work miracles. She invited me to join the group for a meeting the following Monday. That's how I found myself in the midst of all those ladies cheering, playing and talking about “training” (a word I’d only ever associated with military life until then). In short, they used a strange jargon; especially for those times. I’d never had any fun working. So, almost without realizing it, I agreed to host a party at my house with some friends.
I’d become a demonstrator. Actually, Renata did everything. She was the Distributor, before Laura took over from her. But I soon found I was at ease with other people. In fact, I got a thrill out of it! I actually liked being in the limelight and talking and I would have never have known that I could do it. True, there were times when I somehow had to nerve myself up to go through with it, but it was the only way to make the leap and achieve my goal. At first it was all about the sense of fulfillment rather than the money. I discovered I loved being with other people. My husband had actually warned me about this, knowing my character. He told me that this was a job that would bring me constantly into contact with others. Was I ready to take the plunge? And in those days direct selling was tougher and people were skeptical and suspicious of these products. I owe a lot to my Distributor. I’ve shared joys and sorrows with her, spent hours and hours at her office in the evening, in the days before computers. Maybe at the day’s end we found ourselves with some glitch, a problem to be solved, difficulties we’d never foreseen. Over the years we’ve grown a lot closer, especially since I told her about the serious illness that struck down my husband when he was just forty years old. She was very supportive, making me see this was really the only job I could do, because I could fit it in with my husband’s times and needs. I was always able to stay home mornings to be with him. An essential flexibility in what would be our life together from then on.
In fact I was able to handle this work all through the twenty-five years of my husband's illness, after he was given just three years to live when they diagnosed his disease. Instead he lived on and it’s just five years now since he passed away. Together we were able to bring up our children. Paride is forty-two and Rossella forty-three now, but when the illness appeared they were just children. They’ve always been close to me too. My son studied at university but lived at home, so I could keep working while he kept his father company. We never had anyone to help us and we always did everything for ourselves. I had to go out in the afternoons and their father would be left alone. This is one of the many reasons I’ve always considered him a wonderful man. He saw how I was able to change and develop through the years. With his support I managed to reach the top in Italy as a unit manager and I was able to be alongside Renata, who was top Distributor. That was when I finally believed in myself. I’ve always had my feet planted firmly on the ground. But now I felt light, like I am flying.
I often wonder how I managed to achieve these career aims with all of the problems I have faced throughout my life. Perhaps it is because I followed the example of my mother, strong even in adversity. My life’s journey is entwined with the business and so is my character. Tupperware is selflessness; what others have given you, you have to pass on to others. That’s my philosophy. I was never jealous of the smartest person on the team who had helped me have a good turnover. In fact, to make sure the business keeps growing I always pick out the person best qualified to be unit manager and place her above me. At the same time I still have a close bond with the unit managers that I train. As a unit you have rights, but also duties. Currently, I have four or five regular demonstrators that have been with me for years. There are also fifteen people who work with me in rotation. When I think of my thirty years with Tupperware, I realize that the work really was a lot of fun, just as they had told me in the beginning. This is because you’re responsible for whatever you achieve, and you have the freedom to run the business the way you want to. I had a very strict upbringing, and for the first time I felt free. There were no barriers!
I don’t want to retire. My son says, “You’re sixty-eight. How long can you keep going?” “It’s good for my mind,” I say. In the morning I have to get out of the house. I still want to enjoy these years of freedom. I want to be able to decide not to return home at once, or even stay out all day. Before, with my husband, it was out of the question. To me, his needs came before everything else. It’s only now that I'm finally rediscovering myself, finding time for myself, enjoying things I hardly remembered any more, including spending more time with my children. Everything was always so hectic before when I needed to look after their father. I was not able to receive an education growing up and now I only have one life story to tell. It’s not easy, but I can tell you one thing: today I'm not afraid of anything.