If you visit Serge Marini’s place for lunch, you’re likely to be eating on the couch. His kitchen table is reserved for model project work. Trains, planes and ships… he’s created hundreds over a lifetime.
Serge moved to Shanagolden Retirement Village in Pakenham two years ago following the passing of his beloved wife of 56 years, Loretta.
The pair migrated from Italy in 1957, raising their family of four children in Melbourne. Serge worked as an engineer for 50 years before a back injury forced him to retire. At age 60, he studied an Associate Diploma of Electronics at TAFE and was subsequently offered a teaching position, which he did part-time for seven years before again retiring.
Serge’s passion for model projects has been lifelong – taking a backseat here and there while raising the children and caring for his wife when she became ill.
The talented 81-year-old builds most of the models from scratch, aside from some engines and little towns to accompany the pieces.
“It’s a good and fun way to pass the time and do something useful,” he said. “You need a lot of patience as the parts are very small. Some of the models take up to a couple of months to complete.”
Serge gives most of his models away to friends in the village or donates them to Villa Maria Catholic Homes Op Shops.
Serge said he’s formed firm friendships with many residents at Shanagolden, including Father John Readman, to whom he recently gave a model sailboat.
“The Priest comes around for coffee two or three times a week. This morning I had to go teach him again how to use the DVD player!” he laughed.
Serge said he was “very happy” with his decision to move to Shanagolden.
“After my wife died my kids wanted me to live with them but I didn’t want to impose so I had a look around and this (village) was the best around here. Everybody is very nice.”
For now, Serge will continue to tinker around with his model hobby and catch up with his children and three grandchildren – who visit him regularly.
“They pick me up and we go out for dinner. I can drive but it’s nice to have a drink and let them take me – that’s what life’s all about.”