Legacy Created on: September 2008
Legacy on until: January 2012
Legacy availiable via archive until: January 2016
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Where were you born?

I was born in Carthage, New York on September 16th, 1924. 

Tell me a little about your parents

My dad was from Italy.  My mother was from Spain near the border of Italy.  They came over from Italy together. She was only 13 years old at the time.  They came through Ellis Island in New York and from there went up to Carthage.  Later they moved to Utica, New York.  When they came to the States my father worked on the New York Central Railroad for the rest of his life.   My mother was a typical Italian Momma.  She cooked Italian food for us and we ate very well.  I only saw my dad once a week because he worked all week and would only come home on the weekends.  So I didn’t know my father very well.  I had two brothers and two sisters, so my mother had her hands full.

Growing up in Utica, NY

I remember going to school and then leaving school because I had to go shine shoes to bring home some money to my mother.  After awhile I was able to build a shoe shine box and I would go out and shine shoes for 5 cents. Back then I was a strong kid so I took control of the shoe shine business at the YMCA in Utica, NY.  A lot of other shoe shine boys wanted that, but I took it over.  The YMCA allowed me to go to the desk and get a key and then I went to the person’s room, shined the shoes, and then brought the key back. I did that for all of the guys that lived at the YMCA.  I had a real business going at eight years old.  I used to get the money that I made from that and bring it home to my Momma and it ended up being about 25 cents a day.  At that time I was able to buy my own bicycle too, for which I paid 10 cents a week.  My small shoe shine business helped my family quite a bit because times were tough then. I remember some days having to roller skate to the store and back to get bread and milk for that morning’s breakfast.  So in a way, shining shoes really helped to get my family through those rough years. It was a lot of shoes, but it was also a lot of meals put onto the table. I shined shoes most of my young life.  Eventually I was able to build up the business to a point where it allowed me to even buy my own car with the money I made from it. I continued to do this until the War broke out. 

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