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Extraordinary Day

Life Story Club Contributor

Nov 1, 2019

Well, I agree that every day is extraordinary in its own right, that there’s a lot of things, but one of the more extraordinarily days in my life is, I think, the blackout in the 1990s. What year was that? I can’t actually remember, but we were blacked out. The whole northeast was blacked out.

Virtually everything from obviously the lights, the overhead lights, to going to the bathroom. Not going to the bathroom, but flushing the toilet. The water is drawn by electricity. So once you flush, that’s the end of the water. There’s no way to pump it up.

This was the black out in the ’90s…’97 that was, that makes sense. And it was like, it was a lot of stuff that you couldn’t … It was very hard to do things and food places knew that everything was going to go bad, so there was plenty of food because every restaurant didn’t want to get stuck with all the food, so they would cook. If they had gas grills, they could cook the food and give it to anybody walking on the street.

There were a whole lot of people walking around, but the fact that we didn’t have electricity, and by the way, as you know, there were definitely no subways and the buses were a waste of … That was an, let’s not get into that, except to say that the lucky people got onto the bus and they didn’t get very far after that, I can guarantee you. Whatever, but I didn’t get stuck in an elevator.

That’s someone else’s story.

Talents

Life Story Club Contributor

Nov 1, 2019

What was I good at doing? I discovered that I was actually very good at language when I was a little kid because… I don’t know, after World War II, there were a lot of immigrants in New York City and I learned how to communicate with them. They need…services that are needed, to try to broker one group to another group was absolutely essential. And they had a lot of suspicion of each other. There are a lot of diversity, but at the same token there was great suspicion and they didn’t think a little kid could be manipulative. However, I proved them wrong. But I was still able to broker some things and able to translate certain things. Obviously, not like a medical dictation person or simultaneous dictation. At the UN, they use simultaneously translators. Not that good, but I was able to convey one idea to the other, to at least get things working correctly or on the road to getting things working correctly. Ant that’s what I thought I was really good at.

It was mostly Spanish and Italian. Well, it just happened that my mother was Spanish and my dad was Italian, and so they spoke both of the languages at home, but I was able to know that there were three English, Spanish, and Italian. Yes.

Young Trouble

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 25, 2019

Thank God I didn’t burn the family house down…But I used to get in trouble for a lot of things, I used to love to wander around and that was considered a no no in those days. In the 1950s they didn’t like you doing that. And I didn’t…it wasn’t like I was talking to anyone…

But like breaking glass…. Little boys seemed to like to do that. It’s not just a me thing. I noticed a lot of little boys seem to like to break bottles. And at that time all soda and all beer was put in glass bottles. There was no plastic, so we used to do that. And that got us into trouble.

And also we weren’t supposed to speak to a certain family because they were not of the right calibre that my family felt – they were French Catholic and I don’t know, I don’t know exactly what the issue was. But I remember that I got smacked for going to visit them. But he was in my school and in my grade. So I didn’t understand that.

But I think those are the events that got me into trouble way back when. Oh you know what, that didn’t start until nineteen eighty – Don’t hit children. In my day, every kid got smacked. Oh yeah. And sometimes not just with the hand, they got smacked with the belt, the broomstick, the shoe …anything. In my day, I would have been dead by the time the police came.

Family Tradition

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 25, 2019

My family, the best family tradition I guess, one of my favorites, was once a month we would get together and have a family meal, and there were a lot of cousins that I can’t even remember all my cousins. They seemed to produce children after World War Two, that’s what I noticed. So it was a once a month deal and everyone would get together and somehow our house got to be the big house to come to. But my grandmother would cook. My mother was a horrible cook but my grandmother, she knew how to do everything. God bless her she has to make fresh pasta, and so it was a really special meal. But that was only once a month and then during the summer we didn’t have those that event going, so we waited for… it was through September through May, I think, that we were active in doing that. I don’t know. I guess too many people died in the family to do it together. So that’s it. Thank you.

My neigborhood

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 18, 2019

I’m Joe and I lived in Little Italy when I was growing up. I came to New York City in 1957. I was nine years old and we were on the borderline of the West Village and Little Italy. Nowadays, they call that neighborhood Soho, but at one time that was Little Italy, and it was a very ethnic neighborhood. Virtually, everyone was Italian. The little delis were all Italian and a mixed background, ethnically. So, it was different. Either you spoke Italian or you got lost in the mix. I don’t know, that was … The late ’50s was an interesting … New York was a really different place than it is today. It’s not the same thing as what you see now. There were no Hudson Yards. There were no people … When I went to school, none of the kids lived in doorman buildings or anything. We all lived in walk-ups, or if you are really wealthy you lived in a building that had an elevator, but you had to push the elevator yourself. The buttons, because at one time, in 1950s, there were still most of the department stores, B. Altman being one of them, there was an elevator guy with a little pill hat. And he would sit in the elevators and every floor he would announce the floor and he would give you a synopsis of what was on that floor. So, that’s why you had to push the button yourself, as opposed to having a little guy tell you what to do. But again, it was different. Things were different. I will only tell you it’s changed. Obviously, the people who live in Soho now are on the wealthy side- But actually, my old building still stands, and I’m sure they’re paying a lot more than I paid when I lived there. So, that’s it.

Oct 18, 2019

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