Thursday, December 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

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:

Although I enjoyed my activity at the Center, I was also at the point of frustration. My father insisted that I should go to Boston English High. He did not believe that East Boston High was for me. It was boys and girls and he wanted me to go to an all boys school.

So I put in for Boston English. My grades were ok and I was accepted. [ed: Boston English High is the oldest public high school in the United States. You need to pass an examination to be accepted as a student]

Everything changed for me. The Depression got worse for our family and it was hard to come up with the car fare [ed: subway/trolley fare] which was 5 cents each way, and also lunches to take to school.

The school had students from different sections of Boston and they came from areas that were better off economically.

Gone were the days when one planned for holidays. The parties were gone. We could not invite relations and celebrated alone. And not with th usual goodies. birthdays.

It was very different for me. My lunches were not like the students [ed: the school was located in Boston's South End, a predominantly Irish-American population. Though Dad was born in this country, his parent were not. Dad would have been looked upon as an immigrant.] I could not [ed: afford to] participate in the after school programs. So I went to the Center for my recreation. My father was not earning enough money to keep up with things. Just about made out. He could have had other work but refused it. He was a tailor, his fingers were supple for cloth and needle. He hoped to stay a tailor.

Uncle Vincent got him a job at the Bath House and Gym in our section to the city. Giving out towels. He was embarrassed to do such a lowly job. He did not have the ability to make wine for lack of funds. And the so called friend he had at the house every weekend, he could not afford to have them in. They dropped him and went over another house where they pitched in a nickel and played and also the pot went to pay for the drinks. And no food.

He was really heartbroken. He felt that he had been used. [ed: When Dad's father hosted the card games, he didn't charge his guests for the food and drink provided and the players didn't chip in any money.] And moped about it. My mother at one time told him to forget about it. He could not afford to sit in the card game. He said he kniew that and he wouldn't attend if they invited him. He said all he wanted was to be invited so that he would know that they still thought of him and were his friends. Which he said under circumstances was all he wanted which wasn't much.

So he took up with another group in the next block. These were the Arianase people. [ed: from the Italian town Ariano Puglia, later Ariano Irpino] Your mother's to be people. Thick headed people. [ed: 😂, sorry, I can't help laughing] The old-timers as they were called. His personality changed.

He also did not want my mother to go to Rocco's store, a local market for pasta, canned goods, etc., a grocery. She was to go to Danucci's grocery.

Rocco at one time had tried to court my mother. When I went with her when I was much younger, he wold look at me and say, "You should have been my son."

Any time my mother went there, she went on the quiet. He had a good line of goods and his prices were lower. I guess my father was jealous and so was the grocer's wife. If my mother was there, she would walk in the store. All she had to do was walk out of the hallway into the store a couple of steps down. She was a jealous woman. She knew that my mother was her husband's first choice.

When I was much younger, I would be sent there at times by my mother and also to the bread store across the street and the baker's wife would give the children a little cookie. 


  1. Replies
    1. interesting insight into how the Depression effected people

  2. My grandmother's stories about the depression were far different from your father's, but I suspect my grandfather (married my grandmother 14 years after my blood grandfather died in a hotel fire) came from a similar situation. This was a great read, even though I'm late getting here today.

  3. Very interesting read about how the Depression effected everyone!