Legacy Created on: September 2008
Legacy on until: January 2012
Legacy availiable via archive until: January 2016
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What do you remember from your early childhood in New Jersey?

My earliest memory is a tragic memory. In 1927, when I was six years old, my two year brother and four year old sister both died on the same day. So my early memories were not that good, and only two years after that the Great Depression hit. Also, a few years later, my mother passed away from cancer.  So the first fraction of my life was not good. A positive from that time was that were a lot of children that I played with in my town, all who were also at that time very poor. But none of us really knew how poor we were because all of us were living in the same conditions. Of course nobody had anything, but we had a creek to swim in, we played baseball if we could find something to play with, and if we had a little we seemed to make a lot out of it.  Back then having a radio was a big thing, let alone a TV, and grass was something we mowed not smoked. 

How much of an effect did the Great Depression have on your family?

We lived in a small town and it had a shoe factory that was closed by the Depression.  Very few people worked, and I don’t know how we got by to tell you the truth.  In the summertime I would work out in the fields on farms. This made sure I had enough money to eat and sometimes even a few cents left over.  It cost 10 cents to go to the movies then and if I made a quarter working on Saturday morning I could go to the movies for 10 cents, buy a candy bar for a nickel, and have 10 cents left over.  It was pretty bad. By the time the Depression hit, my family was already in rough shape.  With losing two children my parents never did recover, and if it had not been for a lot of good neighbors, then I do not know if I would have made it or not.

Tell me a little bit about your father.

My father was wounded in WWI in France.  He was shot through the hand and did not have much use of it after that.  Before the Depression hit he managed to work in the shoe factory, and after the Great Depression began it was an odd job here or there. Then the WPA (Works Progress Administration) came around and thank God for the WPA. You can call it what you want, socialism or charity but it got us by.  My father lived to be 60 some years old and died around 1961.  My mother hade been dead for a number of years , and later in life Pop never worked.  I think he had lost his spark years before that.  I don’t know what he could have done, but I never really saw him try to do much, and he only had a few odd jobs here and there.

 I guess my life was a terrible life in a way, but yet I managed to have a lot of fun.  I had a good bunch of kids around growing up.  I still visit one of my friends, who is now 90 years old.  I go up to Jersey and we go out to lunch and talk about the days when we used to swim in the creek.  Back then it didn’t cost anything to swim in the creek, it was free.  In fact there was a place where you could swim without a bathing suit, which was nice because you didn’t have to buy one. 


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