Punishment today for children is very mild compared to what the school principal would do when I was in elementary school! Back then, for a mild punishment, the principal would double twist your ear! In those days, physical punishment was not forbidden. It was just normal.
One time, I had this teacher, he was very nice. He never used the stick, he would just talk to us. Most of the other teachers would use bamboo sticks. Usually you open your hand, and they would hit you, three times. One winter time, I was coming in from outdoors. It was freezing out, no gloves, no nothing. I go into the classroom, and the damn teacher, one of the bad ones, I don’t do something right. I don’t give the right definition of the right vs. the left river bank or something. He hit me three here, and three here. I was crying all afternoon. It was so bad, with my hands freezing and he hit me, it froze the pain! I never hit my kids. My father never touched anybody either.
One time, it was second year elementary school, and we were laughing for some reason. The teacher punished us by spanking us. My turn came, and the spanking would be either to hit you with a stick on your hand, or with younger children, hold you and bend you and hit you on the bottom. It was a hot summer day, in the afternoon after a big lunch or something. Every time they spanked me… I farted! So that was a good lesson for the teacher.
There was one time I got in big trouble as a child. I’m maybe five years old, not yet school age. Our family had lots of children, and so they tried to get rid of us and sent us to local schools. We had an old fashion, religious kind of school across the street from our house. So they sent us there. The owner was a misanthrope.
The windowsill of our house is wide and square, so you could sit there as a child. This neighbor girl, about my age I guess, we were playing together, sexually… Then this damn teacher, no, this older student from the religious school passed by and saw us.
Boy that was a big deal! She reported us! On the way to report me, I ran away home. I opened the door, and guess what, I couldn’t find my shoes! I was such a conservative child, I can’t go home without shoes. So anyway, I finally ended up going home. I was so worried that my family, especially my father, would give me hell. I go home, and they had already heard about the story, but they said, “Don’t worry.” That was one of the most exciting experiences I had at that age.
When I was of age to go to work, I worked in a candy factory. It was a big candy company at the time. I did the packing of the orders that need to be shipped out. It was 9 to 5, with a lunch break. You’d get 10-15 minutes in the afternoon and then you were back on the job.
If you work on the belt, you gotta be fast. Packing that candy, I would think, “Why can’t I take a piece?” But don’t be caught eating a candy because you would be fired! On the spot! You had to be smart enough not to touch that candy.
I liked my job, I didn’t want to lose it. I discovered that I was very good at my work. My foreman would tell me I was doing well, and I enjoyed my job. He wasn’t one of those tough guys, he was lenient and made our job easy .
Who you work with means a lot. We were only about 3 guys. There weren’t too many working there, but we used to go out for lunch together. We also helped one another. We would go out bowling after work. We used to get out on Fridays at 3 o’clock, because it was a Jewish company. I really enjoyed working, believe it or not. It was very nice. I had a good time when I was young.
But, I worked for money. Money plays an important role in your life. If you don’t have money, you can’t buy a loaf a bread. During my time it was terrible because you went to work, made maybe $25 a week. And once they took this out and that out – union, state tax, city tax, I would come home with $20. That doesn’t go a long way, even in my time. It was very hard during those time.
Making her laugh
I would always try to make your grandmother laugh. I remember when we were on our honeymoon. It was April Fool’s Day. I was sure she didn’t remember it was April Fool’s Day. She’s sleeping in bed, and I say to her, “Hurry up! Jump out of bed! There are bed bugs in there!”
She jumped out of bed, screaming “Oh my God!” I said, “It’s April Fool’s Day you know!” And she said, “You scared me to death!” It was so funny, so great. I always think about that day when April comes! I think she jumped into the ceiling! We had a good laugh.
We’ve been together over 60 years now and I still always make her laugh.
We do everything together. We walk together, we shop together, we go to church together, and we sit down and eat together. Our old hangout was Dunkin’ Donuts. We used to go maybe two or three times a week. Usually we split a donut and have coffee.
Now we watch a lot of television together now. The thing we used to watch over and over again was M.A.S.H. Every time it was on, because it was funny. It was both comedy and drama. It was the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. It took place during the Korean War.