Thursday, February 9, 2017

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:  

On July 5 of 1938, I packed what clothes I had, which wasn't much and I left for Waltham took the transit and then got into a bus that was operated by another transportation company (double fares).

I got to Skip's home on time and he gave me my orientation course. I was expected to do the janitorial work, during the winter to keep the huge furnace going. The Club was located at the main street almost at the corner of a side street and a good walking distance from the house. In the afternoon, I would change clothes and watch the floor and teach members games and keep law and order.

While I was 19 years old, I was still a minor and to be an adult and eligible to vote the age was 21 years old.

Skip also said I should be very careful about what I did. Because we were being watched. The residents were of the opinion  that the jobs we had belonged to the residents and not outsiders.

Also he was going to ask me one thing that would not or might not be to my liking and he would not ask me to do anything else like that again. Namely that on any [ed: Holy]  day of obligation and Sundays he wanted me to make sure that I went to church. [ed: Dad was Catholic].

If he and his wife did not go, they were not required to do so. He was a Methodist. She was an Episcopalian.He asked me this favor because if I didn't go to church people would probably accuse him of being an evangelist. That was not what he wanted. Also he knew that Fridays I had to eat fish. He said Doris and I like fish and we will have fish on all days of your obligation. Doris later when it came to those days asked if I liked certain fish.

He then said there is one other thing your salary. $15.00 a week. Which at the time was the national average income. In 1940 the government passed the first minimum law 40 cents per hour. I also would work on Saturdays and be off on Mondays. So on Saturdays I would go pick up my clothes at 5 pm after I closed the Club. [ed: Boys Club] He also had his sons double up and I got one of their rooms. I would also pay $8.00 per week for room and board. I would need to get lunch or dinner at certain times and I could get a good lunch at a bar type restaurant for 35 cents, 40 cents if I ordered pie.

Compared to today's prices and salaries my salary was nothing. But we had real money then. It was backed up by gold and silver. Today we have currency. It's paper without any gold or silver.

It was still depression time but our money went a long way.Today a newspaper will cost me a dollar plus. Where as I could get 50 newspapers for a dollar. Fruits were 10 cents a dozen. Movies were 15 cents, in Boston 25 cents and in some areas 10 cents and cowboy movies 05 cents. I opened a savings bank account and put $3.00 a week in the bank and more if I didn't spend all my cash.

I planned to work 1 year and the following year I would start my college work to become a social worker.

I would go home on Saturday night and Sundays I would hang around and on Mondays I would go into Boston on the ferry. 4 cents round trip.

I found out my mother had run up a bill with Dannucci [ed: grocery] and I paid $1.00 a week to pay that off. That was all I could do at the time.

While I was in the old neighborhood I began getting the idea that I would not like to live in East Boston. No even in Orent Heights which was a nice area.

I start this book and then decided to do the Lehman Book. Take the two together and consolidate into one taking the better parts and letting the others go.


  1. Interesting chapter, but now I want to know what the Lehman Book is......??? ;)

    1. Me, too. Supposedly another notebook, but the other two notebooks I have, have no such title on the cover.

  2. CJ; I can relate to what your dad tells here; by personal experience and stories told me.

    The fish on friday's, but only during lent; I hated fish and would get sick on it; I was given peanut butter which I swore I would never eat again { but do }

    the income my grandparents said they made; and what things cost; I was astounded that they were able to "survive" ☺☺☺

    though now I say to myself, why in the sam hell would anyone pay 20K....for a car... but I guess one does if they want new ~~~

    1. Before Vatican II, Friday was considered a fast day not just during Lent (that is if you were over 14 and under 70, you could only eat 1 meatless meal per day) Fish was usually the meal of choice. Fasting was also done on Ash Wednesday. The fasting laws are somewhat relaxed now. Fasting only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Some people still follow fasting during all Fridays of Lent.

      When I was 5 all I would eat was peanut butter. I'm not fond of it now, but will eat it if nothing else is around or too lazy to make something for lunch.

      the difference is the cost of living hasn't kept up with salaries for our generation, add to that inflation and what we pay for our car, our parents/grandparents were able to buy a house.

  3. Its interesting to read about life back then. I give your dad kudos for writing it all down, since most of our parents didn't and there are so many stories never heard. Or if they told them when we were young we didn't listen. Now I want to know, but often find it frustrating because they can't be told. :) Hope these up coming weekend snowstorms don't materialize. Enough is enough.

    1. I heard a few stories, but as rule the Elders in my family didn't talk much about family. Like you said, if they did when I was young, I didn't pay attention. Or they were waiting to be asked, and I was too stupid to ask the questions. Now that I want to know, they are all gone. There is no one to ask )..-:

      And yes, hope the storms blow out to sea. The Young One is supposed to start her new job on Monday.

  4. I am impressed with the way your father kept a diary and added to it, letting everyone know the cost of items, like food, clothing, and entertainment. I was shocked at how expensive movies were, even back then.

    Your father was a savior when he found out his mother couldn't pay a bill. It proves how honest and caring he must have been.

    You asked why I needed to dye using hot water. It was to dissolve the turmeric. It simply sat on top of the water otherwise. I considered using rubber bands, but didn't have enough of them. I don't have rubber bands at my disposal as a rule, and they cost money to buy. Besides, they get very soft when heated. But I have had that huge roll of wax linen thread for years. I don't even remember who gave it to me, but it was free, and I'm all about FREE. Hope that answers your questions.

    1. Dad wasn't keeping a diary. He was writing his memoirs and trying to remember things. At this stage of his life, late 80s or early 90s, dementia/Alzheimer's was rearing its head. I missed the signs because I was so focused on my mother's health issues. I can see Dad's memory fail in the notebooks as he struggles to remember names and places.

      As to Dad being a savior for his mother. It was what would be expected of him. He was the First Born. As such, if anything happened to his father, he would be expected to give up whatever dreams he had to go to work to take care of his mother and siblings. Dad was the oldest of 5.