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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
Interviewees: Nina Ferlita and Mrs. Tagliarini
Interviewer: Gary Mormino
Date: April 11, 1980
Location: Davis Island, Tampa
F: Six. It's about three.
M: Uh huh. Alright. Mrs, Tagliarini, is that your name? How do you pronounce it?
How do you pronounce your last name?
M: How do you pronounce your last name?
T: Yes. My what?
M: No, no. Your name.
M. No ma'am.
M: Right, right. Uh, well tell me about the,..,
T: I been down here when I was three months old.
M: Three months.
T: And all this _and Italy. I go back to Italy, you know,
when I, when I, I fourteen years old, I, we stay over there, you know, fifteen
months and I got my husband, you know, about when I was
fifteen I married, come back to America after two years when my boy and Mario,
big boy, two years old. I got to, you know, they say the old lady's sick, you
know, my mother, Well, you wanna come? Well, I'll come. I couldn't go home.
M: What was, what was Santo Stephano like?
T: Santo Stepahno?
M: Tell me about the town. What was it like?
T: Santa Stephano la piazza?
F: It's the church, mama.
T: You been tl-erfs, on ?
M: No, no. No, I haven't. Tell, tell, tell me about it.
Rp: k//^i 5 d iLu mL.Ha, _________ Stph.--e t-Q eue a.
T: Santo Stephano. ------- -
T: piazza piazza.
M: Uh huh.
T: --hr is on the left you know, a big
building about two block down, la chiesa, la ma price, see, la ma price,
M: In Inglese, por favor,
r: Mama, American.
P: Tell it to him in America because he has to record it.
T: The tape recorder?
p: Mama, you can talk English, so talk.
T: On this side of the and the post office. Right. About, about a
block and a half.
F: Post office. LJa
T: When you come this way, you know, is, not a
not a lf Urc you know?
WRtt11 ere'y--weee here, it's a big, big building, you know.
T: Some, somebody, you know is, you know, a big you know.
T: Ala see? In the, in the, in the city. And after that, right
this way is a -- noI-t c !-tL- ftht -oe, Maria, see. Not a church.
F: not a church
M: Is that right? Uh huh,
F: Santa Rosalia...
T: I am ninety. I'm gonna be ninety years old. You know, I don't remember,,..
F: You remember plenty, mama.
M: Uh huh.
T: Fine, I remember everything.
M: What, uh....
T: And this way, when you go this way and right here....
T: Big la--, lady got a big oven, you know, Making bread, you know, everybody go
making bread,-tfehe I go over there and I bak4-4ki I'll make a eight loaf of
M: Uh huh. Right.
F: Yeah, but we had the oven in our house, too.
T: We got is broken, see?
eC 6e, aJ
F__ ___: _cooking se usedolive oil in ___ ,
M: In ?
T: I used to, I used to, we used to have everything.
T: And the war, you know? Nobody had light but candles, You cannot tell a thing.
F: You had to stand in line for that,
T: And then no soap, And the war, you know, passed thirteen year, you know, My,
after six year of service, my husband come to America and I stay with five
kids. See, I like kids, see. ,- t .,
F: Tell him about the soap, mama.
IF: Tell him about the soap where you used to....
T: You see, it's a big, you know, garden that, giardino, you know that...
T: ...plant some vegetables. And every month open the gates, you know, and the
water comes under.
F: From the, from the river. From up in the mountains.
T: Always something, you know, to wash it. I got a chamber -- I got lady washing
my clothes, but, you know, and I see that and I go around
I got five kids, you know that. You know?
T: .And I go to her.A A lady, you know, a lady,
you know, she says, ." "What, you got a soap!\
3\444/ //i' Oh, it's a long story. My father-in-law, you know, he got a
of friends when they got it with a, with a, with a wagon, you know.
Wagon, not car at that time -- 1905, 1906, 1910. Probably it was. My father-
in-law somebody big She work with they clay, you know.
F: They called it clay. You know the Russian,...
M: Right. Uh huh.
T: And I get a little bit, you know. Say, "Oh, grazie_, miamio." Making me
cry, you know.
F: Yeah, she cried at a folk festival.
T: Thing, you know, Say, "Grazie mi amico." And I give you that, you know,
And the, we got to you know,
that big, you know,,.
T: Died people, you know, one by one, you know. One today, One tomorrow, One
today. One tomorrow. One today,
A lesS a a,'
M: That ring a bell? Have you ever been to the -Aexandri- de la Roca?
M: Were you born here?
"F: ,- Santo Stephano. Santo Stephano,
T: You see what I got? You see what, what I got this.
M: Oh, yeah,
F' : Al4exandi-i-a-, AtexamTd-ri a de la Roca, mama. A!exandr.-i-a.
T: A4le.Yra4drLa de la Roca. //4U l.VyJc,. [VfDL .O #'' ,inc ?
M: No, no. I/wonderoi if you'd ever been there?
M: Think I asked
T: We got a friend over there,
M: That looks similar.
T: Is it Santo Stephano?
F: No, mama, A4.ax4ia de la Roca.
T: You take a peach over there.
M: Did Santo Stephano have a molino comunale?
T: Oh, yes.
M: They do?
_: grinding the grains, oh, yes. During the World War I
used to have to CO rf)/ -- --
Tp: / J- A v corry frcsay from here to the bridge, and I had to wait until they
go, then I had to sift the flour so they, you know, that was hard.
M: Now, what was your, what was your maiden name?
F: Tagli -- T A G L I A--Jt-IV
M: *-rF1igt. What did your father do in the old country?
r: You know what, he was with my grandfather. He's a, a, like a communication
person. You know, he went to college ,/' a4-+theeducatora, my
father was a highly educated man. In fact, when he came to America, he taught
Italian to some of the people so that they could translate it in English, you know.
He taught. He was a highly educated man.
1-: He knw all the....
M: Did he teach in Santo Stephano?
1: Because .
r-: And then he was, my father was a wholesaler in oil and cheese and,...
M: In Tampa?
F: No, in Italy.
T: They all come back when the war finished, see? And my husband, my husband, come is
F: No, fourteen, mama.
T: The war is gonna break down. You better go, I'll send you later. Later, I can't
go no later. Stop the navigation, see? Completed, For seven years, you know,,.,
T: I say, well, talk to him, talk to me.
F: Who's Ivon? Who's Ivon?
P: No, I know, but the way
M: Yea, redhead, redhead.
r: Si, si.
M: How did, how did you get to Tampa?
F: You mean after the war?
M: Right, right.
T: With five children.
F: this is mine, mama. Santa Rosalia
T: Oh, yeah, yeah. This is....
F: Santa Cruce. At Santa Cruce.
T: Santa Cruce,
F: A or were there two, mama?
T: This is a ....
F: This is Santa Cruce, too, mama.
F: About la chierta
T: Santa Rosalia.
F: No, no. Like Santa Rosalia
T: Santa Rosalia.
F: This is Santa Rosalia.
T: Yes. Oh.
M: Tell me about the religious festivals.
T; Somebody take the shoes off. Walk, Oh, they got a whole _______.
i-: A ?
T: How do you say ? La ruta?
r: The grouch. That's what.,...
1: The grouch.
T: Everybody__ If you scared..,
F: You get wet,
T: ,,you got wet, You don't scare....
M: What-s that mean?
T: Don't talk to me, I didn't go,
F: I went, I was very active in
F: When I went, there was a bunch of people,
M: Uh huh.
F: Elderly people, young people, They defr want to go, -t- 4is- a- ar a. You
know how they-gc __,
F: The -ones'er -- ch! ch! ch! -- and I look to see, and they-g".ne-bether me, so I
waited. It is the most beautiful expression that you can give anybody when you see the
F: ...the, the grot--,
M: The grotto, Right, right,
F. The altar Santa Rosalia, you know, all lit up, and then the priest was having mass,
M: This is in Santo Stephano or....
F: This is Santo Stephano, yes.
F: See, you have to, you have to leave the city, the town, because it's not a city.
Actually, it's a little town, you know, Santo Stephano. You go up in the mountains and
then you come to this area and you enter this grotto where Santa Rosalia was supposed
to be, and it's, well, it's right here, see. You go into this area here and go
inside and then this illumination of the beautiful altar and you see that. And you
know, when you're poung, those things ftif yf6u 5.)y my goodness, it's still
here, but I saw it, you know yesterday. But in a little-t-i-me, you can acquire a
lot of knowledge, even during the time when Mussolini was a socialist, you know. He
rAi 'n/n J
LO/ri w y /0 give lectures all over the island, plus the ma-iN main city.
He was in the middle of the piazza, you know, in the square. And he was .f./, fa/
f-t't or J'"all kinds of things, because when you're a kid you don't listen to that,
but all of the sudden, bang! bang! you know, they were shooting at him,
M: Is that right?
h,4J le(- AOWA- 4(;5,j'
F: Yeah. Tit "- tmei, w- just, you know. But anyway, I'm telling him about the time
Mussolini came to Santo Stephano. You remember, when Mussolini came to Santo
F: You remember?
F: No socialist.
T: He was, after that, they kill him off, got a big, big, you know, that Lorenzo
rf: Well, we, we ....
M: Yeah, let's, let's,..,
T: They kill him.
M: Tell me about Panatinto. (1i )
T: Yes, I've got a picture.
M: What do you remember about Panatinto?
F: What do you remember? About Panatinto?
T: I remember very vaguely. By, by....
F: They killed him in the piazza.
T: Oh, gosh, you. We sat, we had, you know, the supper out side, you know
P: frpke some ribs.
What happened? What happened? Lorenzo Palatinto got killed. (51C)
-i In the-tpizza. He had a beautiful home.
T: I think before the war.
M: Why did they kill him? Why?
T: He run away.
F: No, he wanted to know why, why did they kill him?
T: Why they kill?
T: Because he's a, it was a political thing, you know.
The red, the red, the red, the red, you know, flag, you know
F : Social ista.
F: ;cia /i5___ Well, that's what....
T: Socialista kill him. See?
1: That's when Mussolini was coming in.
T: And Mussolini got killed, too. Yeah, I remember that so distinct, but I
ran home, I say, "Oh, terrific!"
T: I e young, you know. You know, I 7of OutO Italy when I was seventeen years old.
I got five kids, four kids,. I take two years off, I stayed, I bLayud
th-day and nowadays, the socialista 9 for big parade. Soa
come down, rally with us. Say, "I'm cripple, I can't come,"
T: They put it, they put it 94. f4i
T: I tell you, I got the one very good time, one very bad time, you know,
T: I starting to come over here, to America, thirty-one years old. I look older than
now. Old. ,4 fiit P;b' k-'t come to America,
F: Okay. \ ,
Le: UF- Ie See- i~t, -,
M: N4-a, you came to America in 1921?
F. Yeah. In 1922, my brother-was Tagliarini, I have a
nephew by that name. He's also _Thirty, thqty-one,
something like that, and my brother has Havana. I
should have it over here.
M: Uh huh. What was Tampa like in 1921? Did you come to Ybor City?
M: Did you come to Ybor City in 1921?
T: I in Ybor City, \ / \/ .
M: Tell me about it.
T: Well, I came 19--
\ y/ \ /\ /.\/'. A little house over there, Ae/f\n vt iffb' when I come
T: back to America again, so I guess,\ a'- L little. house oyer there?
little house out there. *ft I come back again to Amertca, 11,1 go make cigars,
M: Tell me about how you make cigars,
F: _cigar maker, by hand, eh?
F: She worked in
M: Where? What factory? What factory?
T: 1812 ___
M: Uh huh.
M: Uh huh,
Tr; Vcrf J;Pfffrer
: She said _, you all want sixteen, get married, eleven, Joe,
M: Can I have a picture of that +ady?
T: Adolf seven. The little one I had over here, nineteen, I live between Second Street
there at and the house still there. ... \\ ,
and I no, no hospital, No\_____
All sick, I got sick,
M: Well, did you come over in 1921, also?
C:' Oh, yes.
M: How old were you-Wime \ ?7
f: Oh, fourteen ted- W CP it) 4/orT/, I wasn't quite fifteen,
T: And you see, my old son now, old -- you say "' pick it up, pick it up,
pick it up, but he don't know it ____ ,
F: Oh, too much, too much hair.
T: Now, you know, now he wish he had the hair, Oh! \\ He
gonna be seventy-four next month, I, I'll be fourteen and he be sixteen.
T: I don't say. I don't-k owv--44ayb my birthday to know-eboutw
F: You just did, mama. Ho! Ho! Ho! You just did! Behave yourself.
T: Oh, somebody told me, "Nina
M: Okay. Hold it....
F: There's somebody across the street over there. See him?
T: Quit it! Dog!
M: What, as young girls in Sicily, what do you retb'r Dr Tampa? What did
you thing Tampa would be like?
F: Oh, I'll tell you the truth. This, you know, something that the minute I stop
having experienced the boat trip, which was like when Columbus came to America, the
boat, you know the.,,. When you're a child, you don't see the danger, you know, so
when we got to New York, the minute I saw the Statue of Liberty, it made everything
different and I don't know why. You know what I mean? It was like stepping on a
piece of ice and by the time you've reached on the other side \'. '. Cf ,
You know, that's the impression that I got, It was something beautiful, and when I,
we got to New York, after leaving the port, unfortunately there was a man that died
in the boat, and they had to fumigate everybody that came in. Imagine a fourteen
year old going to fifteen, disrobed in front of elders, you know, the, the, when you
are developing, you felt like you want to hide yourself, They should, throw us all
kind of disinfectant. The stink, I still smell it. And then they got these hose,
like the firemen have. They shhh all over the place, you know, and oh, fthre was
the most ungodly thing. But, that did not give us thing one in my mind about
America, It was just one of those procedures that they had to take. Then, after a
while, you know, when I went to nursing school, 1 knew what it was all about, see,
F: because they had to do that, because they didn't know what the man died of, see? So
before they got us across, we stayed in the i \.\ about, oh, about
three or four days, and then the funny part is this? Everybody from America will come
near the boats, you know, and they came near the fsae4k-, They'd bring all kind of
4- V ,15 Vr ^Y
fruit, all kind of cookies, and all kind of, you know, and ther. ...O, .t.... laIugh1t
t+em to say, "Oh, what a beautiful place this is, you know, But I'll never forget the
first time I ate a banana, We didn't have any over there, But the thing is, you
don't get fruit that is imnort like, used to be imported from Africa, from Tunis,
from whatever. When I put that banana in my mouth, I thought I had a lump of soap in
there. 0 my gosh! I said. So I discarded it, but now I love bananas, So it's, it's
M: Did you ever have relatives in Tampa?
f: Oh, yes. She had a sister; my uncle, the doctor; is her brother,
F: And later one, he had just finished medical school in '18, when he went ,int conryI,
"waned- so bad to see her, his sister, you know, but the, \ '.\\ \Q' ceased
and there was non-;mpn Oro) o1 Lufl +rr, anyway, When we came to America, he
came all the way to Plant City to pick us up, This is my brother-in-law and my other
uncle, So it was, it was,.,.
M: What do you remember about the train trip down here?
F: From, from New York?
M: From New York.
F: Well, to tell you the truth, I think we slept most of the time. The children did,
you know, but it was just a, you know what a child will do, they go over into onej
Tfo pref' -s to the other and visited, They had the individual _
I remember distinctly when we got to Plant City that my uncle picked us up, He came
over to see me. The rest of it picked up. There was a, a station there,
a substation, like, you know -- Nineteeth Street and Sixth Avenue -- and it happened
: to be be back of where my, my folkses,... Now, I have a picture of my, my grand-
parents. I stick everything here, now, and then all of a sudden I cleaned up, and then
what I don't need, I throw away. My grandfather built this building on Nineteenth and
Seventh Avenue. Now they, they're going to demolish it. But anyway, she, they lived
there, and so happens the rest of the crew got out back of 4+e-'building and we went
off to .I was, the only thing I was disillusioned with when we
came here, we....
T: Used to live at my house.
[F: Where is my...
T: Used to live.
F: ...in italy. Excuse me. We used to live in a three story building with balconies
all over, marble staircase and all that, you know. You say, "Oh my, they're not hardly
used to this," you know, but we did. We managed. We used to live the back street
and we called that la catalonaa.
F: The main street, you know.
T: We used to live right here, the, the __, the bridge, you know, Sit down there,
People sit down, you know. Right here is a big, you know, man, you know, is a, is a
F: The drugstore.
T: Yeah. Don't you remember the old man?
F: Yeah, the druggist. I don't remember his name,
T: I should go over there, you know. The drugstore is at
la piazza. The goes out,...
: _. The drugstore....
T: The droga .__
F: The drugstore was down in the main, in the main plazza,
T: La piazza.
F: But we lived two blocks, oh, about a block where we lived,
T: And the people go there, you know.
F: Sometimes, you know, when 44e h ,r e ave some of the stuff
T: One time....
F: You know we don't have -aM/O f over there. They were traveling
M: Uh huhl;
T: I had five kids or six, We had it one, two, three, One time the lady got sick and
so we took care of that, said, "Oh, God! I hope\ "_
God hate me, _put him on a _you know,
like that Santo Stephano, Lie down, Light, Water.
r: My son d t r te. two years ago. trt his wife, he works for Eastern Air-
lines. They travel all over the world,
Santo Stephano but it be careful because they, God forbid if it rains, the roads,
you have to go round them on the road is so small, so narrow, that only small cars
can get in there. So when he went, fortunately, I had given a picture of the very,
highly educated man, because happened to be a relative
of ours, and he had spent about two weeks in Tampa and we all gave a picnic and walked
up together /akdf tc+oh o;/ oA's took pictures. He says, "Give, take this picture
and introduce yourself." Well, during that time, they were having
all kind of -- quit it! quit it! -- kidnapping, you know, ,lsa- fMO'51. and this
boy's father-in-law is the principal of all t44-s Sicily schools and he himself is a
___, second cousin of.... Rossi introduced himself as Mr. Fee1ie,
T: -A-t didn't know v 4p I W4D He looked
F: We don't know nobody by that name So the conductor that
was driving him around was a nt&-arders-tend__
bIeeQUse---t-s So first we make an appointment to meet him in the piazza whatever
he wants to meet, to be sure that we are related and he say, "You are my Tagliarini
family from Tampa is his son." Then it dawn on him so _
the picture that my son had and they compared pictures and then he believed that
we was related. So when he
went over there -- this is funny -- and invited me and they went up, you know.
I don't know whether you familiar where the old country, some of them, especially in
Sicily, even in Mexico, or any foreign country, find that the chickens, the pigs,
the goats in the basement. So my daughter-in-law, she's very proper, She won't have
this, she, the toilet may smell real bad, but it wasn't at the toilet. After they
were introduced, tey went upstairs, It was beautifully furnished home, Beautiful
everything. They had a big banquet for them. What happened? The- the, my great-
cousin, or I will say my farthest first cousin, the grandmother of this boy, says,
"Would you like to go to the bathroom?" My daughter-in-law says, "No, thank you."
So she says, "Well, can I show you the house?" So they went around, When they went
in the bathroom -- mirrored walls, marble here, marble there, gold fixtures, They
say, "My gosh, it is, what was I thinking of?" They went downstairs, said the pig
SThe chickens, l /, No wonder it smells
bad! I chuckled about that. I was seventy when Rossi went to Italy. When Rossi
went to Italy. Last year -- you remember?
F: When Rossi went to Italy last year.
T: Who? Rossi. Rossi, yeah.
: I told him the story about the CrT' L/\i ) you know,
M: Uh huh.
T: All these kids, you know, don't know what-4. i 4es4 /T //
F: Now is civilian, but not long time ago.
M: In Santo Stephano do many people farm?
F: Oh, yes.
T: They also take a bath
F: Not only farm....
T -fe-(d/4^^-^ ^ ^t what they would do. .__ _t .
F: Oh the, oh the, you know, where carry the water,
F: The jug I call, I call jugs. That's qw t it is.
T: Jug! Jug!
I got my, one of my cousins, We got a lazy thing, you know, But, you know, you
take a bath. The kids are gonna take a bath, you know, You use plenty of water,
see? The water turn up in the street and at night, when nobody -p4-se-sed, /,
C r-l /) 11
h-Aa -4qQ1=--t make me sick, Anyway, my cousin say, "See, you want a cover?,
X 34/ J Sure, I want a cover. Snow, you know snow,
A-: , / TPf like that, ?iA go get the water. Make two,
T: Nell, Nellie, this is my cover___
F: We had a maid that used to get these covers.
T: She take it, she take it two times, two jars, two jars / _____ and at that
time I h e vt rn little jar, little one, not big one like I just
M: Uh huh.
T: That's at Sicily. A long timeP o
F: When they come, they used to have, they used to have it here, too, mama, where they
used to go get it,
T: My, my boy, you know. He's a p/4e )v /'k40w i(water e--0 0 Cold,
no ice over there. No ice! And now, now the water
F: You go down the river. You'll just pick up....
T: y C i _____ __ get your water. Say, sometimes get tired of it.
M: There, there was not running water. Is there running water today?
F: Oh, yes, running water, better than ours here, you know,
you would say, "Gee," that's why I was __
When sy( was the bathroom, she couldn't get over it. Better than ours, she said,
and electricity, which we didn't have. Everything was down., and of course you know,
over there, we don't eat a noon lunch we eat at three o'clock, and then we rest,
you know. Then at night we'd have our meal at ten o'clock at night, And there was
always a bottle of wine in the middle of the the table. And
my grandfather would sit We, he'd sit at the head of the table. My grandmother
was there. My oldest brother here. I would sit here, then my sister and,,,
F: ...wait a minute -- and then my, one of my brothers, and my baby brother would be
in somebody's arms because /iV k- are st- my grandfather.
We all wine especially when it was cold. He'd pass it all down
to us. Or, if we had good cheese...
T: cheese plate. Sometimes....
F: ...he'd one, two, three, four, five, whatever in pieces, you know, Yeah, that's
easy to remember -- it was, it was. Today, you know, you know,,.,
T: Going to tell about our /5dICS- ? / 6C //, \
F: Well, that's what I was telling, mama. One piece of cheese each, Not -4ey- weQ-dnr-t-
have it, //4 / o/___ 'cause my grandfather had a rule that to this day
we'd have _cheese, the only....
M: What kind of cheese?
M : What kind of cheese?
F: This great big thing, you know. Pascovalo. Grated cheese, whatever cheese, He
was in the business, you see, and he, he would, we'd have it in the house for our
meal. With permission, however, because it wasn't business time. We would have,
we didn't have giardino, like you were saying, going into farming. So whoever had
the farm, they would rent you a fruit tree, whether it would be a peach tree when
they were in season, or whether they were, whatever fruit, prickly pears, or anytime
when time come that they had fruit, my grandfather would go pick up a bushel from
our tree. You see, you rent it, So when that tree was finished, why there was
no more. Unless you want to buy it at the market, which was in the piazza, you know,
S"7 Uh huh.
F:*.: But peaches, plums, pears, grapes, Now, then they had a gjurqdij of grapes, It's
great big area, Then they would have the wheat growing, Then the, the vegetables,
like carrots and lettuce and whatever, whatever, they was unpacked by &e-rmer,
another man. You know the Gino -- I don't where you know the Gino -- are you familiar
with Gino family, but anyway,..,
F: The great grandfather would have a field of vegetation and the, the, they would take
the water from the, from the high mountain, just streaming down, beautiful, cascading,
you know. You seen pictures. And then the river comes down and -tey would water the,
the gardens, and they would, before it reaches the garden, you get your water to
M: Uh huh,
F: But there was a fountain nearby in the sqaure where you could go get it, But then
it's so much better, you know, to go and get the, from the fresh, Theo as you go
down, it's where they used to cremate the bones and they will go down the, the
another outlet of the river. They will take care of the, the other farmers. Then
up on the mountain they would grow all kind of beans and all kind of fruits because
the fruit there just grown almost wild.
M: Right. What was the name of the river? Remember?
F: No. Now when it rained, like where we lived -- we lived here and there was about
a bank in here where the, like a bridge, you know, part of a bridge, It was on
as S ce
Main Street. The water will come from the mountain and gush right out whi-.h was
telling you when it was time for twenty something to go there and it will wash down
a-+ and water and also fertilize the vegetation,
M: Uh huh, Right,
F: Because you would run all over, you
M: Right, Right.
F: And from the third floor, where we lived, see, we were high and then low, you could
almost see, in the clear day, see the e fir A ______
M: Is that right?
F: And during the war, when they were bombing in the, in the coast of Acatha you could
see the illumination at night, You know, that's not too far,
F: It's far enough., but it is not too far because it, you know, in the sky, you could
see the illumination,
M: Right, Did you ever travel to-A+exatrdira for any reason?
F: No, no, We were never allowed to travel,
T: You see? Santo Stephano\
F: I went to Palermo, you know, ___
T: Santo Stephano. We don't have any meat. Cow meat every time; After we ge9ftgt
eat or 0" eo .. .. .. : .ea L iey jiaJ d ait-
I/- '^ ~ 1 ^ -
T: a-atruf-, because my father, you know, hets a ___
you know, go check out the people ontheLr, y the / ,
gave me two or three Mf h No ice, see? You-Tave to use it
quick. One time my father-jA- /l / Sd/ t o took! Y//1LA
a thing I know so the meat come today, Cow meat, cow meat, You be going away and
buying meat, you know, oh boy, the meat, you know. You make a soup' You make a
stew with a soup bones, sauce and spaghetti, No ground meat,
F: We never, we never knew what ground meat was ___
T: t W;idli 1 M r,( meat 4-bee.
F: ...meat was, you know?
F: But like she says there was no, the beef-Lat was made out of C /,,e5 or
garlic and cheese. We didn't know what mozzarella was. We didi t know what ground
meat was and we didn't know what now, we knew how, provolone. We know fetacione,
hot sausage, In fact, my grandfather still makes his own sausage.
F: And he get the meat wt-you-s the pork and the T U ,
T: you see I-, ) -7
F: I1 rotta, mama, _____('.
T: Right here, this side, every Sunday, every, you know, little lamb, you know, has a
radio. 0 t A k _____
Kill it! Take it, Wha a sight!
F: Oh, I know what she's saying, You know what she's saying?
T: You know how they have the, the dogschase the rabbit. See, from where we lived,
you could see the mountain almost where they could cross it,
M: Uh huh.
F: So my father...
F: Yeah, I'm gonna tell him. My father and a lot of young men, you know, -tey
f i5C______ My father was -ee young, thirty, about your age, you know,
They would get together on Sunday sometimes, and they would go shoot the rabbit or
the little lamb, poor thing, anyway, or a little deer, They would make it go,
you know, and they'd bing! -- wheel -- that's what she was telling and it was right
around here, up on the mountain,
M: Right, Right,
T: teacher. Teach over there, see.
Although he had a teacher sometimes, you know.
But he got a job, you know. Make a
SMake about two times a week, you know. School was for the
town people, you know.
F: Yeah, yeah. I told him. I told him that.
M: Well, tell me about the cigar industry. How did you, did you,,...
F: Tell him about when you started to make cigars.
T: Oh, when I make cigars? They got the machine running, my low going machine. My
!lOh V 0 0M1
granddaughter, my grandf-ther.... 7_______'i' Dickie. The -i-i4t t(e
call Jc'ki.' L' h4 A4'5 O/liet Frank Dominick Tagliarini, 4s- Lta-pappe
Ssa-d-- you lived-out there?
M: Uh huh.
T: You liveL out there?
M: Uh huh.
T: Why, you're close f0 1 /c A' S ofIt e e
T: Those Tagliarini.
F: .See, I don't know who this Father somebody is.
M; Yeah, Sam lives out there, too.
M: -K4 b+e Terrace. Is that what she's saying, i-,imb-e Terrace?
M: Yeah, Sam lives out there, too.
F: Yeah, my nephew,
T: He's my grandson,
M: Uh huh.
F: Don't mention the grandson because he was the first one, I mean....
T: He got four kids.
F: '^. family He was atre .. and he was this big and all of us just
catered to little Dickie, you know.
F: But he's a nice fellow. He turned out to be a beautiful person and\_
he's on the staff at the International, _and he's
also has something to do with the medical schooling there.
T; You know that big building -be4nd-! -Taemp 'in le ? It says ai+ta, Doctor's
M: Uh huh.
FP : I'm gonna find out the name, mama,
T: across the street
F: I'm not familiar with you know.
'.\ What, what was your first job in the cigar factory? What factory? What factory
did you work in rolling cigars?
F: 13550 Thirty-first Street.
M: Oh, I IJt 4tt tJr;S. by the Veteran's Hospital,
F: He and.,,.
T: Roll that cigar. You see that 0C/of1 O 'r- f7/4' 12 Eighteen Street?
g,^ As/^_____, -_
M: Uh huh.
T: Igot, Now I got it, I forbid it, the __
Swell, swell \ I make cigar, 7 /I -and cigar, k-o-you-knf
F: 41e-r WNo Mo#r 61
M: You're gonna show me how to make a cigar,
F: Oh, she was one of the best. She could before _
T: This is cigar, the box. fC t1L AoX, >, ,.'oer like that.
F: Look at her hands.
T: This j /Ijt ,V1fr _
F: Her left hand.
T: A life's work-t- i A; cigar.
F: Her left hand was a .Some of my\
M: Uh huh.
T: This like this.
M: Do you remember the reader? El lector? El lector? The reader?
F: Do you remember the man that used to give you lectures? Would tell you stories in
you factory? The man that used to give you lectures?
T: Oh, the man that belonged....
F: No, mama. The man that used to tell you stories. You know, in the, in the factory,
F: Mama. Do you remember when they used to have something special and you wanted to
hear because you didn't get no paper? They used to, the man would tell you in the,
in the factory?
F: He would tell you stories.
F: He would read the paper.
T: Oh, yes. He got it big, you know,
tell a story to the people
F: The news, did he tell the news? And a continued story? You know, like on
T: I make two-fifty, Two hundred fifty cigar, Somebody make 300, but I was slowly,
you know, Trhmve you know, This way I do it.
F: It's amazing how she would have that energy.
T: Twenty-five years.
M: Worked there twenty-five years, Any strikes? Sciopero?
T: Twenty-five, yeah,
F: Oh, yes.
M: As/k ^(^ > 5j ^''^wfCS Slyt /S(l
F: During the time that you were making cigars, did they have a strike? Or was the
T: Yeah. Everybody get out -fe-f-e strike.
T: Oh, I don't know. Abbot, about in 19--, see. Frank used to be eight years old,
F: I would say 19--, 1929.
T: When I went to Chicago. When I went to Chicago.
F: Yes, yes. Just before the Depression. Oh, that was something, Depression.
M: Uh huh.
F: I hope we never see that again.
M: Right. Why, why did they strike? Why did they strike?
T: Why? They want more money. See? Are you know now? Got more money,\'ij (,o"'i'a,
There we got a union, you know, see. The union say that everybody go out, everybody
T: I, I'm making twentyvWfv out there, about two-fifty a day, you know, \_
M: Did you strike at all? Did you ever work a factory?
T: You see, listen to me. You see /' yLf and went downtown, in the
library here, in the library. It's a nice story.-over-t-4 ., I think it's my picture
F: I have a sister-in-law...
F: .... Let me tell him, mama. My ex-sistertinclaw is very active
with the rehabilitation of 4 .1.. of elderly peoples and she had a
program that had to do with how you can amuse yourself if you have the love of
children and the love of your family, togetherness, you know, So she came, she
r\ H1OW 4e 00so ^yris &-!'^ ]r
brought this __ __with her and dtheyee,,.
T: You see? you see? I'm the old woman at Seventh Avenue,
you see? A man, two girl, got to take tba 4 of the old people, see?
F: That's what I'm telling him -- Mental Health Institution. She's one of the.,,.
T: It's four people, four.
M: Vo i l/ < 0 )/n kAf or what?
T: A Spanish, ea-mea-hat-- Spanish, a,,.
F: A colored,
T: ..,a colored woman and me. Me the last one, see?
M: When was this?
T: Ah-ah (clapping).
F: But two years ago, through the thing fhat I was telling you about and It's,,,
T: It's in the library.
F: ...in the library.
T: Now it picture and the \
F: I don't know, mama,
M: On tape or....
F: On tape and they took pictures, \ ,
M: 0 really? _
F: You know reel, reels.
M: T-e-r-trey-fol lowedt-byl,..
T: Old people story. Say, "I'11 stand by you."
F: My, my youngest...
F: ..,my brother the doctor divorced his wife .ard-she still,,.
T: Old Italian people.
F: ...she still loves this lady here, the old one.
T: Well, I got a story to the up coming Library one night, all
my family comes, you know, machine, got this nice.,,.
F: I feel they did it on purpose. They did all the first four first and then when it
came to her, everybody just roared, they way she was _
you know. They invited all the relatives of all the people that were there. The
Spanish lady, the colored girl and they, the colored lady, after the whole family, the
colored people came over there and embraced my mother very rrieely, she was, you know,
And you know, those things....
M: I have to get the name of that. I'd like to go through that sometime,
M: Where it would be in the library.
F: Well, I can ask my sister-in-law.
M: Yeah, I'd like to look at it.
F: She, she's very much into,.,
T: I'll tell, I'll it to a girl, don't you put it in the paper, I don't want it in
the paper. It was so funny. Say, not in the paper. You're gonna be in the
M; What do you +knew about the Depression?
F: The Depression _____-/,(' Depression
F: They paid you seven dollars a week making cigars, That's all she remembers,
If: Can you imagine that? Me, I was making seven dollars. Seven. No, sixty-five
dollars a month working in the hospital. A registered nurse,
T: A' Depression.
F: She barely make that in one day,
T: The Depression, oh, I make eleven dollar. My husband twenty-two. I got to TeP
six people to feed. At that time, I didn't have my daddy for two years. My daddy,
poor thing, died. He, he died. Nine people, see. And the cost that I would go over
to work, you know, with hole in my shoes that time to buy clothes for my kids, you
know, and buy the food. The food that's how you buy a dollar, you know, meat for
soup. A dollar ,ir/f But now, you know, it's different.
F: Now they even sell the bones, To make soup.
T: I used to pay ten cents, ten cents for the bus. Sometimes I miss it, you know,
I fix my -- got to, you know that stop over there
Pizzo Castelano's. You go, I go over there, see ____
I took my daughter to bed,
F: Oh, she walked home.
F: You know on, you know....
T: I walk, you know. to Eighteenth Street to Thirty-seven, Forty-second,
T: Thirty-first. Well, I used to...
F: And Nineth Avenue, that's Twenty-first.
T: ...I used to walk over there.
F: That's nothing. When my husband first opened his office, fortunately he opened
his office with my brother-in-law, who is also a doctor, and he'd come, he'd come
home at hight. I was nursing the, you know, how and the first time
he made ten dollars, mind you, ten dollars, he came home and we both cried, You know,
it's terrible how, you know, like that.
M: Were the, you were Centro
F: I worked there.
M: Yeah, Were many of the old-timers there the, when you were in the hospital? You
know, that first generation who came to Tampa?
F: Yes. Uh huh,
M: Yeah, what, what did you think of it as they were, that first wave of people dying
F: You mean....
M: When you began working, in the thirties, in the hospital,
F: Well, see, well, actually we didn't have many death, except you would remember
some of the older folks. They wanted to be catered to because, especially they know
that you could speak their language or understand their language and most of the
nurses would be English speaking, see? They would just, more or less want you to,
want them to, you to entertain them besides taking care of them, which sometimes,
if I was, if I had a minute or two off, rather than go to lunch, I would gobble my
lunch, you know, 'cause they'd serve me my lunch too, I would just go and say, "How
you feeling?" and, "You need anything special?" in that order, you know, So to
make them that they were, they weren't too sick to, not to be able to converse with
F: somebody and because they would wait till the hours when the visiyng hours would come
for their relatives.
M: Uh huh. Right.
F: I'll never forget one part, this is funny. He is a very, very wealthy man in this
town now. He was a youngster and his girlfriend
had tonsilitis. Finally after the tonsillitis, the infection wore out, She came
back to have her tonsils out. He would sneak in the, from the back, back door,
knock at the door....(whispers)....and he write a note, you know, for me to give it
to the girlfriend. And every time, every time both see me, you know, they'd say,
"I remember the note."
F: I thought that was cute.
F: And today, the times that they see me, you know which is very seldom because I
don't go out much, since my husband died, you know, I don't participate in,...
M: What did you husband do?
F: He was a doctor.
M: Uh hUh. Right, right.
F: He was a doctor and he died very young, fifty-one, \\' 7 /Y ;
my other son was in college, sort of a preparatory years, you know, tbfee years.
And when he came home, when he was coming home, just then, they were having the
Easter vacation, he would say to himself, "I want to ask my daddy if he really wants
me to pick up his profession, or what I like.'" You know. But he didn't get to
talk to him to get his advice. But I had a very good'friend who was in the land-
scape. And he hired him during the course of time that he, to rehabilitate himself
back to normal, you know, You know, to be at that
age, how old was he, about twenty...
M: Uh huh.
page 32 ,ir .
F: ... /ie tvdJ 3 '\ ,4rev///C. when you're at that age and things -tard Led washliu dwdy you
know, you're d-i4slu.be&. So what happened was, I consulted this very good friend of
mine who was a Parks Department agent, which now my son has, he's head of the Parks
Department, he's a landscape architect. That's all they do landscaping for the
city. So after everything subsided, the grieving and everything, he said, "Mother,
,/U/d' l/,(r tv hl< op
do you think that daddy would have liked what I, what I eul-Lcc -kc e-e I said,
"Well I'm sure that you don't think that he wanted you to be a doctor." Said, "No,
I don't think so." You know, because he f-at 'p kf OA hJ Now, the
second child, my second boy, maybe, maybe had an idea, but he works for the phone
T: Are you make some coffee for..,.
F: Yeah, I'm gonna make some coffee right now. Would, do you like?
F: Cuban or?
T: you know,
T: When I'm, when I'm nine years old,' fif, otJn /'rC no street, Wood,
M: Wooden blocks, huh?
F: Yeah, and'bricks.
M: Uh huh.
F: Downtown Franklin Street, that's what it was, car no, no street,
Say it. Say it.
M: What was the, the Italian Club like? o me Italiano? The Italian
T: I used to live over there. Now I la 1 /1 / e have a little house,
Used to live right here. Now that's Eighteen and Nineteen, see? _
M: Tell me about Italian Club.
T: meet some people. And the cemetery's Twenty-first, Twenty-first....
M: Twenty-sixth Street.
M: What'did you do at the Italian Club? Did you dance at the Italian Club?
T: What: //y jy .'', d.rJ my father used to play, you know, ',,'tS .
S_ e___nhee, 04 5 Or Tagl arini go when you're
having a good time. Play cards, you know.
T: Right over there, across the street, is a, oh, big building, now, There for Italian
people, too. Started build! up and sawd 9- t ,r y / I '
F: You know, when I first came from nursing school, I was elected queen of the_
M: Is that right?
T: Il/-_ ,_ she used to be queen one time!
M: c7A ,ye
M: La regno, la regno de la regno Italiano.
T: Used to be, she used to be thirty-three years old!
F: The when....
T: Well, come back to Chicago.
F: No, mama, I wdan't thirty-three.
F: I was twenty-three, mama.
T: All, all people.
F: I was twenty-three years old, mama.
F: When I came from Chicago as a nurse, I was twenty-three years old.
F: No, mama.
T: I remember.
T: You were twenty-nine. You sent-for me to fi/C ,4 L
F: But I was not thirty-three, I came home in 1933. But my age was not thirty-three,
I was twenty-three,
F: Anyway, you know, sometimes we remlninisce ,/_ __ /IY I/ 1(t /Ie picture!
and they see me with the president of the Italian Club, you know, giving me flowers,
you know, and vo/tt/J (g0 "Mama, I didn't know you were married
before!" To an old man!" They were kids, you know.
M: What do you remember about...
T: When I go to Chicago....
M: ...when you were 44-.4 / yov) k Ir -e the Italian Club?
F: Well, I was very active, you know. Very active in the Italian society, like, you
know, the girls, young women's society and I think at that time, I was very active
eI h I-
in the, +n-t-tre secretary or something and those, many of those people that I
remember, they're dead now. You might, you might have heard of Molly\
She just died not too long ago, Oh, she was terribly active then, There was
F: another old lady, and then she was elder, we're young, but she was, I would say,
at the time, that of course, she's close to my age is almost__
M: Uh huh.
F: She was very active in the, in the socially, you know. Talk about dances, We used
to have, we used to have, we used to have dances at the Italian Club.
M: Describe the dances.
F: We.used to have dances at the Italian Club. We used to have dances at the Italian
Club.(Yt//5, c lbt T5 /iri9)
F: Cabaret. We used to have tables, you know, all over the hall.
T:" Big dances. Big dances. We'd all know-yet people, see, yea don't L.ii 7t0
do nothing, see.
F: Well,the young people are not as interested as we were then, You see, we had the
young crowd, both boys and girls, and get together, and then we would, some of
them would go down in the canteen where they served food, you know, like sandwiches ani
stuff, and of course the beverages that go with it. And then upstairs, when
especially when they had the cabaret, they had the tables surrounding-, all over, on
the sides, and then the dance hall where you danced. And they would have Cuban music,
Italian music, especially and all, and they would just march all
over the place, you know, like you see in the movies, you know. Actually, it's, it
was very interesting. And then the, the Depression came, which was in 19--, started
actually, started in '29 and crawled, you know, to the forties. Because there was,
J'//never forget the first check that I got, and incidentally, was from a priest, you
know. This was in Chicago. Was my first case and he gives me a check and I went
to get it cashed. I didn't want to cash it. It was, but you know, I didn't go to
the priest. I went to the head nurse at the hospital and said, "sister," because
it was a Catholic hospital, "Sister, what am I gonna do with this?" She says, "Never
mind, you just give it to me." And it was made good, you know, 'cause it was my
first check. I was so proud, you know, I th'.nk was about thirty-five dollars.
F: --w.as for a couple of days' work. At that time, that was mama mial No, it was
a week. See, seven dollars a day, not from just three to eleven or eleven to seven,
from seven to seven. A whole day. Now, if you were working,and I was working and
at the Santa Espanol, it was -FI the bayshore. I '-Brr"t know whether you know it, but
there was 4the hospital there,-rite condominium. I was on call, besides, from
seven to seven, I was on call. In fact, sometimes, on weekend, I'd go home and they
would call me and I'd have to rush out either a delivery or an appendix or whatever,
or an emergency of some kind. And that was not extra, that was part of your pay,
Sixty-five dollars a month. Can you imagine that Oh, boy. That was -- but we
managed, you know. We managed because we A In our family, we
*wse not splurge, even today. You know, if I go to the grocery store, I have to
look twice. I say shall I have this or shall I have "nt, You-know-who likes the
good meats. She likes the fillets. She likes the shrimps and she likes the oyster
You know, you know how much the shrimps were this morning? Seven-fifty a pound.
I sayss-at yourself a pound or make _- .\. Just for her, because to me,
I'd just as soon have a piece of toast and a piece of cheese, you know, But if, if
I have to do that, it's to please somebody else, but not for myself, you see, Now,
she loves this stuff, she loves her oysters, Now, tonight, I'm going to make oyster
stew, and I'll fry some and she just loves that. So, you know, while she says, "While
I'm here, I want to eat the best." I says, "That's okay, mama. I give you the best.
Wa-reh, you know." Whatever meat she needs. Because I feel like, like last night,
we had chicken and I made, I made chicken soup with minestrone, you know. And
she loves that. Well, the chicken, my son came today, there was some more soup He
had soup and had the chicken. I didn't eat any because I was satisfied with just
the soup. She nibbles a little bit on that. But she loves her soups and I like
to put some pasta because she likes that. Little vermicelli, you know,
F: And a lot of vegetables.
F: And a lot of vegetables. And cheese. She likes'her cheese +" her soup, But....
T: Long time ago, nice picnics.
" F: The picnics at the Italian....
T: Nice picnic.
F: No, they had, they had one, Don't you remember? They had one,,.,
F: They had one about three months ago,
T: Two month ago.
F: Three months ago, when Uncle Frank went. They honored some, they honored
somebody and I don't remember who it was and my uncle, the doctor, he went
T: Talk loud.
F: About three months ago, they had one at the Italian Club.
T: A picnic?
F: They were honoring, it was just for the men. It was just for the men,
F: When they went to, they, Uncle Frank went. Remember Uncle Frank went?
T: Yeah? He went?
T: Yeah, he went?
F: Yes. A picnic...,
T: I-- ... I know all that.
F: ...they honored Dr. Pershing. And he's an ear, nose and throat, And he went to pick
T: Three years prison. My brother. Phillipine.
F: Don't talk about that, mama.
T: In the Phillipines.
F: I know, but mama, don't talk about it. It's very sad story, He went through like.,,.
When he came home in the boat, the, they picked him up, One of the sailors picked
F: him up and he was so emaciated that he thought he was gonna, you know,,.," He
often says if he could remember or see the fellow that picked him up, he will really
let him have it, you know, because he was so nice to pick him up like a.,,. And
I don't want to say this in front of this, but the night before, he dreamt-te 4h '
tiI same scene, but that he didn't have any legs. Which, it goes to show you, you
know, part of that.
M: Uh huh.
F: Oh, he has plenty (tf(C !
T: OQ of 7 J v/.'rsee my brother, you know. Somebody, somebody- aptf "
to, to the American people. Don't they know? My brother say that a man, you know
with a cat whip.
M: Uh huh.
T: You know that? It was My brother went
back to America __see, you send all the sick people
Like /,r _y Japanese. One time, she, she
/i /eo'lo 0, 'j/d sugar. My brothers, you know him? I call him
a nice boy, you know, a young boy, you know, Sugar, my brother, he bring in a
little bit of sugar, yeah. By his _____, Three year, When
he come home, you know, my brother __
M: Plenty of what?
T: Vfn:, : /" \U '? ,W.
T: Yes, but now you know, just your old people, you know, My brother say every sailor
now is eighty five T'm the only one sailor here, I
am the only. Cappe
T: I'm the old one.
M: Uh huh. Right.
T: About three months.
M: Uh huh. How did you meet your husband?
M: How did you meet your husband, your in the old country? How did
you meet your husband in Sicily?
T: a little over here. You know, afternoon, you know, I go
make a bread, you know, and 601"m this way. He fix up with a lawyer,
doctor, you know, take a walk, you know, and I took a walk. Take a walk, see? He
see me with a big, he see me with a big sack, you know, flour, you know, you making
bread, you know. Fell in love and decide, you know, to come to AmeHica, see? And
one day, he come to my house, when I see him coming, I go upstairs. I don't want
to see. America, you know, He want to see my mama, my daddy's trunk, you know. She
wanted to make like go to America,
see? I might want to meet him, see. Ma..,, "Come here,\. + A W t/ somebody
wants to see you." All right, I come back. I come on downstairs, you know,
The house down, you know, _
and they say, "*teke- t easy- Tlke i t as Italian, you
know. The more I know, she had a \_, She had a store.
Well, I passed, you know, to go to church, you know, "La Americana passa, Americana
passa. I used to AL/ e with my nice
clothes, you know. On my head, you know, umbrella, go to church, with my mama, see?
And everybody, you know, they say this man, you know, A soft
touch. We got engaged, you know, and married see, And
my ma wanted marry him in Tampa at church.
F: A silver wedding day, you know?
M: You know it.
T: we did nothing. Along
T: And now, you know, preacher say,"I can'tpreach in a church, I don'
want to go in the church." My mama want you like that to say I married in a church,
T don't want to go to this church, she don't want to this church, Used to be
(ieck- 4t hii ten years old, you know. This is our preacher, my husband.
I got a piece of..,. Anyway, he talked the preacher into come home, you know,
___say, okay, you know, Sunday afternoon. We gotta, we marry
and the-44it .... My father said, give us some money. You'll get some money. Get
some money, get some. He got, We gave twenty dollars that time.
That's in 1905.
M: You were married in 1905?
T: I was fifteen and two months. I married June 29. In Tampa,. \
church over there.
T: And that's the whole story. Now, if you want a better story, go to a library, It's
my story there.
G: I'll listen to that.
T: I doing. I talking to television one night. All of my family over there, you know,
I'm the last one talk. There's four people, see? One American teacher, one Spanish,
and one Negro from Georgia and me, Italy. So that. I got a machine to make
cigars, a kiife/got,\ That, that is my story you got. Thank God that piece over
M: Uh huh.
T: And that's it,
M: Wonderful story.
T: Why you
M: You, you were telling me. I just turned it on again. You were telling me about
Ybor 20 A
M: when you were coming over on the ship from Sicily, Could you, Could you tell me aboul
F: Yeah. When I got, when I got to..,,
M: What your first thought were,...
F: My first thought when I saw the Statue of Liberty, my thinking sense just completely
diminished from what I left behind, see? Because I felt like, boy, this is
beautiful and then, you see the panorama, you know, of the city of New York, which
is still beautiful, you know. But when I became disillusioned was when we ended
up in the ungodly batteiyat the time when we were asked, or the girl or the people,
the females on one side and the male on the other side. My brother was two years
older than I am, and the little fellows, they didn't mind, you know, but the thing
was, because of the fact that there was a death in the ship, not knowing what the
fellow had died of, they felt like we all should be disinfected from head to foot
and that stinky stuff, I can still smell it, you know. And then that hose, giving us
a shower, I don't kmnow-whether it was cold or hot, but it was maybe in between and
they put in the cubicle for you to rinse off, you know. That was something,
M: Do you remember being asked any questions by the guard?
F: Oh, yes. And here she, you know, she could speak a little, one or two words in
English, you see. They were asking who could understand English and who was going
to i.ck us up. So she says, "I speak English." She's always been very bold, you
know, so she comes out and says, "What you want?" "Who's going to pick you up?"
"My husband." Anyway, and so when we were told to sit in this huge hall, like, you
know, great big area where it was, like you see in the, in the bus stations, you
know, an area where you wait for whoever and whatever. So here comes some of our
relatives. With fruit, like I told you before. The bananas, I couldn't swallow
V" t. 4; 14
it! It sat like a great big lump of soap in my mouth. Not that tTey-'wtr'Ttr t
have in Italy, but they were something scarce, because they had to import it from
Africa, or well, anyway the northern part of Africa whether it was Tunis or
whatever, But once you get used to those things, you know, you sort of,,,
F: But when I went to New York, or rather, when we went to New York, we ended up in
one of my great aunt's house. Some of these folks are still here in Tampa, Now
they moved to Tampa. This cousin of my mother, nice fellow, he was about maybe
twenty-two, twenty-three years old, He took us to...mention some of the stores in
M: Macy's, Gimbel's....
F: Gimbel's, Gimbel's. When I came from Italy, this neighbor of mine was very good
friend of mine, you know, had given me as a going away gift a pair of shoes. They
were "ew.--Ttey! had buttons on the side. They were to my, to my, half of the calf,
you know. When my cousin saw those, "Take off those shoes!," and he bought me a
pair of shoes. Mama, a nice dress, me a nice dress, like a middy-blouse thing, you
know, real pretty and a green flowered hat. A green straw hat with flowers all
over, one for me and one for mama. We were all dressed up. Not that we looked
dinky, you know, but the fact that I remember mainly was those shoes, you know,
with heels this high,
M: It sounds from what you've been talking and what you're mother's been talking, your
family actually had it pretty well in Sicily.
F: Oh, yes. We didn't....
M: Why, why would you have left Sicily, then?
F: Because my father was here.
M: I mean, why did he leave if he was doing so well in Sicily?
F: Because, you see, my, her father had a, like a barroom in Ybor City and he was more
or less the bookkeeper, like, you know, at the time. So when he came, when he went
back to Italy, due to the fact that his mother was sick and he was the only child
and she was just...
F: ...she wanted to see her son before she died because she had, like a stroke at
that time and she was, she would want, "My son, my son." So my grandfather sent
for my father. Then, my mother had my brother, the oldest in the family, and they
F: all went back to Italy. Now when he came back to Tampa, it was in 1914, just before
the war broke out. Why? Because at that time, some relativeSof his was coming
back to Tampa, and they could not speak English. So my daddy would say, I think,
this is what I think, "Let me take them as far as New York and then I'll come back."
And he didn't come back. He stayed there. See, then the war broke, No, no
transportation, period, see? The visa started in 1919, 1920, about that time, because
we waited oh....
M: So your father was in here all the time?
F: My father was here all this time. Who do we know? His parents, my grandfather and
grandmother. She was just like a big sister, see, cause she was young, She had
five children. She was twenty-eight years old,
F: We, I'm talking about when we were in Italy, mama,
F: When we were in Italy. He asked me something and Irm telling him about it. So that's
what, that's what, why the change of scenery at the time, So when my father came
back here, he helped my grandfather, then he went into selling insurance with the
Metropolitan, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
M: Right. Now did you remember World War I at all?
F: Pardon? As yr A
M: Do you remember the first World War at all? De-yeo?
F: Oh, yes. We were there.
M: Yeah, how well, how did it affect Santo Stephano?
F: Well, it affected Santo Stephano as benefactor to the refugees. You know, they
would transport the refugees down to Santo Stephano or Palermo or_
whatever. To those little towns. And do you know what a __ is, where
they use to put the carts, the horses and the, it's like a,,..
F: Not a stable. A station for the, for the wagons and the horses, And it was a
F: a great big thing, area like, you know, where the buses are staying?
M: Right. Right.
F: All right. However, they had a cubicle like, where the horses would be put,
you know? And that's where some of the refugees would sleep,
M: Refugees from where?
F: From northern Italy and from, some even from +fe area there, See? So what happens?
The, whoever was in charge and would make this great big kettle full of soup and
they stand in line, all kind of soup, whatever and meat, whatever they can get. One
morning, the door knocks at my front door, My downstairs door and we were just
getting up. I remember, you know, that area, that Incident, Here comes this
little girl, about my size, real cute thing, and she had a bow in her head. And
guess what she had? Corn mush. And a bottle of wine. Corn mush. That's a
F: Si, polenta. And she says, "I brought you something," God bless her, you know, It
was the finest thing. And also, later on she brought me one of those\.
you know, those shoes, those women's shoes. I admired them, And of course, in
transami, I give her something else. So here we're sitting, we're sitting at the
stairs, middle of the stairs, eating mush with wine that this little girl had brought
you know. Mama, I'm telling him\ C7 I j / la corn meal
Corn meal por wino.
T: Yeah (i________
T: The wine and the mush. For breakfast?
F: Yeah, with mush, with cognac. We, and it goes to show you a child is a child, no
matter, you know? So we developed a relationship because I gave her something and
she gave me something and we used to really be very close, you know, because I
was doing something for somebody that didn't belong there and yet I wanted to make
her feel welcome, you know. And in return, to appreciate my goodness, she gave me
M: Have you ever thought, what do you think would have happened to you if you had
stayed in Sicily? How do you think your life would have worked out? What do you
F: Well, I wouldn't have, first of all, I wouldn't have been a nurse, maybe not,
But since I was kid, I wanted to be something that had to do with medicine.
M: Uh huh.
F: Because during the time that we had an epidemic of...
F: Well, the influenza was terrible. Forget it. Influenza, I almost didn't make it.
The funny part is, my-neighbor and I were very close. She was older that I am, than
I was, and she became ill that night, I became ill the next morning, She died that
night and I was on my road to recovery the next,,, Well, I, I lived. I lived, in
other words. But the thing about the, the war, it was, it was terrible, It was
terrible for some people and like I say, we didn't miss anything, And then we
had, my grandmother would have some of her clothing made into some for me and my
sister, or my mother's, They'd go in the trunk and see if there was anything, In
the meantime, there will be a man that will come from another city, or even from
across, from Libya or from where, from the Asia somewhere and would come across and
sell material. The first time I saw a colored man was then. This huge man, like
the one that you see in the pictures in the movies that no hair. Anyway, he would
come with material to sell to the people and my grandfather and grandmother would
buy all kind of material to make us, even during.the war, which was very hard for
them to get anything. Now they would, I would make my own socks, I would get the,
get the wool, you know,and make it into the, what would you say, not thread, would
F: ...yarn. Make my, make our own clothes, /l'? ( our own socks, Today, ask
me how to do it, I won't do it. I don't remember, We will make our._
out of wool, Would, well, it was a lot of things that we could do that I don't know
F: if, of course, if you start again, you can do it again, whether we, we go to the
convent and we get our religious schooling. In the meantime, they would teach us how
to make cookies and how to knit and how to do this and how to do that. And today I
can sew. I can knit. I can do all that. Remembering how to start and finish E9
something. I used to work beautiful handwork and embroidery, you know the cutwork?
But today, you know, you have to have the right sight to do your work. But it wasn't
bad. It was, because we didn't know anything better, see, So far as playing together
we used to play ball. We used to play all kind of things with the, whatever we had,
But because you didn't know that some of the things existed, you don't miss, You
didn't miss it, see?
M: Right. Right.
F: But if some of the people were used to something and then all of the sudden, bing! no
nothing, then it's a different story, But you car)\ C to a lot of
things that you don't have to have, you know,
M: Right. ListenA the tape is just about to end, I'd like to thank you very much.
Mio graze, for your time,
F: You're welcome, sir.
M: Very enjoyable, thank you.