Thursday, December 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Charlie and his family 1946 or 1947
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passsed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

The Summer of my 14th year[ed: 1933]  was fun. The schoolyard was open, Charlie Arnold, or Skip, as he wanted to be called, played with us. And for the onlookers, it probably was, who was that big kid playing with the other kids? He looks like he is having more fun than the children although he is a grown up. A man!!!

In fact, Skip and the other social workers were surprised that the school yards were closed when school was let out. Play areas were scarce. We had a playground that was rather crowded and most of the time it was the older boys who used it for baseball or football.

To the left facing the building that was used for dressing and undressing, for uniforms and showers, was the dump and to our right another area used mostly for picnic and fireworks when, in the Summer each section of the Italian community honored their Italian section saint in Italy. So in July and August there would be two to four festivals and two with fireworks. And these were not only those that were sent skyward and exploded in different colors and also those on the ground that when they lighted up showed some art work. And the last that was lit like all the others started at one point and it was the stars and stripes. And the band that marched to the fireworks played The Star Spangled Banner. And we clapped hands, and sang, and walked home.

One Summer day we were playing in the schoolyard and word came that there was going to be a rally. We began running to it. All we had to do was run up the hill, turn the corner and we were at the spot where we helped ourselved to rocks and began throwing them at those on Bremen Street. Skip came running and when he turned the corner he was shocked. A rally to him was that some people were going to speak. He began getting after us to get into the play yard before the police came and as heard the glass windows of the shoe factory being broken.

He spoke of this event to other soical workers when he described the conditions of the area. How it was decided to locate the Center in East Boston, when those who were to pick a location saw children in the outskirts of the railroad, shooting dice and gambling. Also there wasn another problem. We would go to the railroad yards throw rocks at the train as it was moving the freight cars. And those employees that were in the coal car would throw coal at us. We would gather it up and some would bring it home for cooking, used it for fuel for heating. It was soft coal and it sent up a foul smell.We would use it down the cellar for a picnic fire and cook hot dogs. It would not be too long before the smell would rise to the apartment and we would hear a numbeer of the residents coming down and we would run out doors and out to the street.

The Summer passed and a week before school opened or a little before that our play yard was closed and Skip went to the Center at Marginal Street. This was a streeet that was also where the ocean hit the beach. It was deep and during the immigration period, ships docked there and across the street the people were directed to the building and had their passports and papers verified and where their relatives waited while they were  cleared for entrance to the USA. The Government gave up the bilding and the Hynes fund took it over. Charlie Arnold lived on the top floor of this building with his wife and their son, Everett.

We spent the Fall and Spring season there for our activities. And at some point, Skip was sent to Central Square Center. I followed and participated in some activities.


  1. He paints a very vivid picture. I could see all of it in my mind's eye. :)

    1. And it's accurate because relative still lived in the area so I visited there as a kid.

  2. kewl yur gram paw ree corded all thiz; itz like see in it all in reel time....way kewl...

    de food servizz gurl & her friendz used ta give rocks N pebbles two de ice creem man when he came round....they wood all order N then hand him stonez....soon, he never came two de nayborhood any mor ~~~~~ wunder why !!!

    heerz two a merry Christmas anda happee one anda blessed one.....see ya ina few ☺☺☺☺♥♥♥♥♥

    1. :-D having rocks handed to you is a lot better than having them hurled at you. And yes, Grandpa's notebooks are a treasure.

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the Tabbies and The Food Servizz Gurl =^.^=

  3. I always enjoy your father's reminiscences. I got a laugh at the coal, which was softer than the rocks your father and his friends threw. I was surprised there was an entrance to the US from where he lived. I thought all immigrants had to enter through Ellis Island, so I learned something new today.

    Thanks for sharing these stories with us.

    1. I'm sure there were other ports of immigration entry on both coasts. Ellis Island next to Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is, just happens to be the most famous. All four of my grandparents entered the US through the Port of East Boston. East Boston had a thriving port in part due to shipbuilder, Donald McKay. He built clipper ships in the mid-1800s.

      Thank you for reading Dad's memoirs.

  4. I loved reading this! I could see everything your father was describing! How wonderful to have your father's notebook!