Feb 28, 2019
My father was Emilio, and my mother was Rose. My father came from Italy, and my mother was born here. My father was a grainmaker for animals. My mother was a housewife.
I remember my parents, how good they were, they raised me up to what I am today, and I thank them for it. They raised my 3 sisters and my brother. They were a little bit on the strict side, but I’m grateful for it because they grew me up to be respectful. When you were told something, you would have to do it. It had to be done. My father was very good for enforcing respect! If we didn’t behave, oh you got a good spanking. Back then you could do it, but you can’t do that today! I didn’t get a beating, I’d just get a small slap.
My grandmother also used to live with us. I used to help my grandmother a lot, I loved her so much. I used to do so much with her. I used to say, “Grandma, can we go to the store?” She was Italian, and I spoke Italian very well then, and we used to go out together and go shopping. I used to help her with cooking, and that’s what made me a great cook today. She was a wonderful person. I saved mostly her pasta recipes. The pies she used to make, I could never make. She used to make a lot of pies for Easter. She used to make grain pie, egg pie, sausage pie. She could do at least 4 pies, and she’d do them herself. It’s because of my grandmother too that I became what I am today. She taught me respect, you had to have respect for your elders. That was the most important thing. My mother was a sick woman, and it was hard for her to take care of me, my sisters, and brother. She tried. But my grandmother was there for us, and I thank her so much for being there for us. She was a wonderful person and may she rest in peace today.
I taught my children the same values. I also grew them up to respect each other and all people. If there’s no respect, then there’s nothing. And you know, you want a person to have the same feeling that you have, understanding your way of life and your people. I’m really thankful for what I’ve learned as a young girl.
March 11, 2019
The greatest historical event you lived through was the bombing of the twin towers. I lost a lot of friends, and I almost lost my daughter. She was on the 95th floor at the time. There was no way of her of getting down because the stairs were gone. It was dark, there was no way of getting out. So what they did was they picked her up by helicopter. She was four months pregnant at the time, and they put her down onto the street. But then after they did that, my daughter had to find her way home! She had to walk all the way home, from there to Brooklyn. When she came home, we had to put her to bed, she was just out of it. We were all waiting for her, all around the television, to hear good news about her. When we saw her coming down that street, that was the greatest day of my life – that I have my daughter. I lost a cousin, and I lost friends. They were all on the twin towers, they all worked there. It was almost like a family affair, everybody worked there, everybody knew everybody and it was like a family. When you’re losing friends and losing family, you have no recollection of anything anymore after that day. It was a horrible day. But I thank God my daughter was safe and they got her home. The baby was safe. It was a day to remember and not to remember. I must say the firefighters, the police, and the aides all did a great job. We had to live through the loss, but luckily I was able to wait for the day my granddaughter was born.
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. You know what, if you worked 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 because your job was in jeopardy. And I liked my job, I didn’t want to lose it. I liked my people, I liked my foreman. The foreman was very lax with his people. We were all young – he was good-lookin’ too! Man was he good-lookin! I had very good days working. I really enjoyed working, believe it or not.
March 18, 2019
To me, it was the day I got married. I had a wonderful husband, God Bless him, and we had 3 wonderful children. I have 4 grandchildren, and 1 great granddaughter. The day I got married was a beautiful day. That was on March 31, 1951. I remember my day well. It was the greatest day in my life. I had a beautiful white gown. We had a nice house wedding, we couldn’t afford a venue. All my friends and relatives had a good time. I had plenty of food, plenty of soda. No liquor, because me and my husband didn’t drink. You want liquor, you bring it because I got nothing in my house! I had a beautiful cake ordered. Beautiful cream all around, a sponge inside, with strawberry filling.
My favorite pasta dish to make is lasagna. We used to make it layer by layer, with sausage filling, or meatball filling. You baked it until it was high. You’d cut it piece by piece. I really didn’t have a recipe, I would just cook on my own. I just cook what I wanna cook, and how I wanna cook. My daughter cooks, my son of course, no! My daughters would cook when I was cooking, now I think they just have food brought in.
For Christmas, we used to make chicken, ham, and a roast beef. Everyone had a choice of what they want, and of course all types of vegetables and potatoes. We’d make some feast. Our holidays with the family, they had to be done the right way. The food had to be the right way. All the family got together – it was so nice. We did so much cooking, when you have to cook for a whole family.