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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
April 2, 1980
SUBJECTS: Alex Scaglione (1902) and Josephine Traina Scaglione (1906)
3511 Eleventh St.
INTERVIEWER: Gary Mormino
G: Good morning, my name is Gary Mormino, and today is April the second, 1980, and it is
my pleasure to be talking with Alex and Josephine Scaglione at their lovely home in
Tampa. And, I wonder i5 Josephine, we could start with you--you indicated that you
were born in -4' SjnDO
G: Right, do you mind if I ask you what year you were born?
J: I was born in A- SC- i ( 4IlOc-
G: Si. What year?
G: Na"nLa "-im", right, 1906. What did your father do over there? What kind of.dt '
J: He was, he was in the dairy business.
G: Oh, right. Could you tell me something about what you remember about Sicily? Your
childhood memories? You said you left when you were seven years old for America?
J: Yes. Well, I remember that we was...I started school over there. Then after the first
year, we had to come over here. And my father came first, three years before us. And
then my mother with us eowith three children, we came over here. Mk_4.
G: Right. Yeah, Lkdi.i. -dn. What about now, you said your father was in the dairy
business. Can you describe his business there?
YBOR 21A Page 2
J: Yeah, he had goats...
G: Ye-,an ? .h
J: Yes, and he had _._at and he used to make cheese, t C c :.1
G: And&did he sell milk and cheese to the city folks?
J: He'd sell the cheese, not the milk.
G: Right, now was his dairy farm in the city or was it in the countryside?
J: In the countryside. He was not too far off from where we used to live.
: Right. Now would he walk to work, or how would he get to work in the morning?
J: Well, he had his horse. He would travel back and forth on his horse.
G: Right, right. Where did you live in the city? In zsc-Azc what part
of the city, do you remember?
J: Well, I don't know.
G: Right. Could you describe the house, what kind of house it was?
J: Yes, it was a new house, and we had the upstairs window upstairs, and we had the cellar
downstairs. And it was pretty, very pretty. We had like a porch upstairs, which we
could sit in the sun.
G: Right, what was the construction, you remember?
J: Well, you know how the construction 4 there is concrete.
G: s 2 sf cncrete. Stucco or concrete, or...
J: And my grandmother lived down the street about a half a block. She lived upstairs too.
G: Right, right. Do you remember going to church over there?
G: What was the name of the church, do you remember? Wasn't Madonna del #oco, was it?
YBOR 21A Page 3
J: Yes, it was.
A: Madonna del $oco?
G: Right. Did you ever take part in any of the religious 'WrBK?
J: No, because I was too young. Maybe my mother did, but...
G: Right. You indicated you went to school one year there?
G: Yeah. Describe the schoolA what it was like.
J: Well, it was nuns. And we had, you know, at the beginning of the.hour, we had classes.
My mother used to take me, and then she'd come back for me. We-had a short distance from
G: Right. What kind of town was St r, c ?
J: It was not big and pretty, you know, the kind mostly like 24e country.
G: Right. k-4h4wf how near were the mountains?
J: Oh, the mountains was pretty. It was not too long, two miles isn't too far a distance,
and you could see them from where we lived.
G: Did they have names, se=&eM name# for the mountains?
J: I don't remember.
G: Right. Would you ever go there for a picnic, or something?
J: Yes, we used to go on the first of the _and we used to climb
up the mountain. We used to go and we used to
J: Things that I remember--I don't remember very much.
G: Right. *ff you said that your father came to AmeriCay-do you remember what year he
came? Or what year did you come to America?
YBOR 21A Page 4
J: What year?
G: --.-t: \AKV hP->
G: 1914. You said your father came in 1911. He came three years earlier. ...Why did he
come to Tampa, you know?
J: Well, he thought he\ change. We was growing up, and things were better over here than
over there. So he came so we could start our family, and grow up over here.
G: Right. Do you remember the first time you Ifyou remember hearing about America, or
Tampa, what it was like? What did you expect Tampa to be like?
J: No, I remember that we left ?il\ and we went to Qa bo. We stayed there with
G: Yeah, how did you get from SGNt ST to GOelmo?
J: With donkey.
G: Donkey carts, Sicilian carts.
J: And I remember, 49C4Mbo, we stayed a couple of days, and then we got on the big ship.
G: What was the name of it? No, that's okay.
A: We stopped in Spain.
J: We came on a ship that was traveling, you know, to pick-up passengers and leave passengers
like a luxury ship...
J: We stopped in Spain, and we @g fruit fromtthe ship gia down we bought fruit.
And every port that we went we stopped to pickup passengers, and...
G: Right, right.
YBOR 21A Page 5
J: AndA well, we stayed seventeen days on the trip.
G: Oh, geeze, yeah. .rSX- w.who else all went along with you? To America?
J: Well, it was my mother and us three.
J: My mother was sick almost all the way.
G: Seasickness, or...
G: Right. How about you, you were ten years old 2no, seven years old...
G: Were you, what was your reaction in coming to America?
J: Well, I enjoyed the trip. We enjoyed it, we had a big family over here. We loved it
G: Right, what did you think of ?ame?
J: That it was pretty, Bdlm a pretty city.
G: That it was very big compared toc.c O C- ^, ?
G: Right, right. Mr. Scaglione, let me about you, your father was an immigrant then, I take
A: My father what?
G: Was your father an immigrant? Where was your father born?
A: He was born in Sicily.
A: Ah, Santa Roca?
G: Oh, right, right. What did your father do there? What occupation?
A: Over here?
YBOR 21A Page"6
A: Over there? I don't know.
G: Yeah, how old was he when he came to America, do you know?
A: I don't know.
G: Right, right.
A: He must have come in here in 1900, I guess. I believe it was 1900.
G: Right, right. Why did he come to Tampa,Ayou know?
A: Well, I don't know. He wanted to be ,I don't know how to explain it. You know, he
wanted to get to a better place than Sicily because they talked e much about the
United States being a good country, you know, so he decided to come over.
G: Right, right. 14^ did he ever tell you about the old country? What, all the...
A: No, no, he never did.
G: Never did?
A: Never did.
G: How about your mother? What was your mother's name?
A: She...her name? iSephimia.
G: a- d -E right. And what was her maiden name?
G: Castalono, right, right. What did your father do when he came to Tampa?
A: He started in the grocery business.
G: He never rolled cigars at all?
A: Y he made cigars later on. Yeah, he quit the grocery business, and he went to cigar
G: Tell me about the grocery business. What was the grocery business like?
A: He was located on Seventh Avenue and Eighteenth Street, right across the Italian Club.
YBOR 21A Page 7
G: Is that right?
G: What was the name of the store, you know?
A: God knows, I don't remember.
G: Right, right. What year were you born?
G: In Ybor City?
G: Right. What do you remember about Ybor City? As a young boy growing up? What were your
A:= Well, I'll tell you. I lived 3aAon 22nd Street and 4th Avenue. And, when I was young 4:
well, I used to go to school. Then when I grew up to seventeen years old, I joined the
Italian Club, and got, had friends there, and we enjoyed the Club.
G: What did you do at the Club? A typical night while you were there?
A: Well, we'd get together about eight or ten young men, you know, and we'd enjoy ourselves.
We'd play cards, and we played, we belonged to the club, and we belong to the
and we had...
G: What was that, what was that like? What was that?
A: Well, we had like a festival, see. r -_Ato_ ____ recreation, you know. And we
had really good time.
G: I see;
A: We used to go ride the streetcars, open streetcars, you know? We'd go from Ybor City to
west Tampa. At the, what was the name of the park? Ti Park?
G: Taiii g Park.
A: We used to go way out there for a nickel. Five cent ride. And then we'd come back for
another nickel. We enjoyed ourselves, it was really good.
YBOR 21A Page 8
G: Right, right. What would you do ater the Italian Club? What kind of activities?
A: Well, like I said, we had) downstairs was where we played cards, or bowling, you know,
we had bowling. And we'd get together, we'd play billards. And we'd get together and
go from here, there, or walked down, you know, to feewte th Street. Why, we had a nice
G: Yeah. Did you go to school?
G: What school did you go to?
A: Well, I started a Ybor City School, then I went to the George Washington. Up to the
seventh grade, then I quit to make, went to the cigar business.
G: You went into the cigar business, right? What, what did you do?
A: Make cigars. ,
G: Right. Where was your first -mbp?
A: Where was it located?
G: Was it near the factory?
A: Well, where I first started to learn to make cigars was on 22nd Street and 10th Avenue.
Used to call them buckeyes, smoke factories, where you'd learn how to make cigars.
Then I got a job at the big factory, you know, and made a living.out of that.
G: What was the factory?
A: What was the name of it?
J: La Corina.
A: La Corina. That's in Palmetto Beach.
A: From there I went to Santa tia, west Tampa. I wramabae for about ten years. And 1929,
I quit the cigar factory, and I went into the grocery business with my uncle. Thirty-
Ybor 21A Page 9
G: Yeah. Let's talk a little about the cigar business. Did you work in the cigar factory
G: What factory did you work in?
J: Well, I started working in the buckeye, that's where you learn.
J: And then from there, I worked in...
J: S^2V And from there I went to Lost r and then I went to SAnta AM
and I worked there 22 years.
J: And from there I went to the store, to help out in the store.
G: Right. Both of you started out in the buckeyes the How did you get
started there? Did you have to pay them to learn? Were you apprentices?
A: Yes, we had to pay. I believe it was I believe it was ten dollars.
G: Right, right.
A: I believe it was ten dollars to start to, cyou didn't pay anything?
G: You didn't have to pay anything? (to J)
A: I did pay ten dollars, and the rest of them paid ten dollars, too. Right, ten dollars.
G: Right, you paid ten dollars. Okay, right. Now, what did you do at the factory--were
you a roller, or a buncher, or what did you do?
A: Well, when I first started, I was a roller, see? Then, I don't know what happened, and
"4J put me to make bunches. You know what a bunch is?
G: Tell AlahB n how you make a bunch.
A: Well, in other words, youget strips of tobacco on the table, and you put some cut-up
tobacco, and you roll it and put it on a mold. On that mold, you then...how many ten?
YBOR 21A Page 10
I believe it's ten in a mold. And then you press them. After about, I 'd say about
ten or fifteen minutes, you take them out of the press, and get them one by one and you
roll them. And you make, see roll them, you have a wrapper, and you roll that tobacco,
see? And make a cigar.
G: Right, right.
A: And there's fifty for a ,we tie fifty to every time. We get fifty, we tie them up, see?
G: -Right. Josephine, what did you do at the factory? What job did you have?
J: Well, I started filling up bunches, then I roll them. Then later on, when I was in
oa S .'C i.ji- I made handmade cigars. I made handmade cigars for about eight or
ten years. Then I quit the handmade, then I was a roller. Until I got married. Then
after I got married, I still worked at jjcs cLA-iaC and was a roller.
G: Right, right.
J: Until I quit.
G: Right. Now, what year...do you remember what year you started making cigars? What year
A: Well, I was about sixteen years old.
G: That would have been about 1919, then. Right, Right. Did the factories have the
readerA S, the ? You rememberAthe factories,,the readers, the ?
A: That's right, they had the reader.
G: Tell me about the reader.
A: We l, he comecin at a certain time, and he give the news, see? From the Spanish paper,
and then he'dI1lI'd say he'd read thirty or forty-five minutes, and stop for a while.
And he comes up again on that whatever you call it...
A: Yeah, platform, and he.d start over again, and give you some more news. That mean, he
would give news for the city news.
YBOR 21A Page 11
G: Right, right.
At. And then it was stories.
G: Do you remember any favorites?
A: (To J) Do you remember any favorites, I don't.
J: So many.
A: Yeah, so many, And we enjoyed -i reading, you know. Especially when the stories he
used to read from the books, o"Mfteti.^Cg N 0-1o t-
G: Do you remember any of your favorite readers? Do you remember any of their names, some
of the readers?
A: It's been so long.
A: Over forty years, now.
J: I remember one.
G: Who was that?
J: When I was in cOr it was Ma2xRodriguez.
G: What was his 6imt name again?
J: His first name was Maxmino.
G: Maxmino, right.
J: Maxmino Rodriguez, And he used to read the morning paper, and read the sports, and
read the story and read the news. \ l S)oo0 .
G: Was he an actor also?
J: No, wellmaybe he was. I don't know.
A: We used to pay them for the reading.
J: Yeah, we used to pay them.
G: What did you pay them?
YBOR 21A Page 12
J: I don't who er it was a dollar a week, or something, you know.
G: You think it was worth it?
J: Yes, it was worth it.
G: Right, right. Do you remember.44were you ever involved in any of the strikes?
A: Not...not that I remember of. No, no.
A: We never was on strike while I was a cigar maker. We never had a strike.
G: Is that right?
A: No, never had.
G: Even the one in 1920, after you started? I thought there was bad one then'
A: They had a strike before I joined...made cigars.
J: A big one, that lasted ten months.
G: Right, 1910 was it?
A: What was the name of that strike?
A: They used to call the strike the ten-month strike.
4- y car
J: It was Adar when my sister was born, that was si-:ty years ago.
G: Yeah, right. What do you remember about it? How it affected your family?
J: It affected the family becausezw-e all depended on what my father was making.
G: Right, right.
\', tiAt Aepr6SS'^ ~
J: A -a depression, very derpe't4' g.
G: Right. What did your father do during the strike?
J: He...you know, when he came over here, he started in the dairy business again, and he
was doing the same here he was doing over there. So he was doing alight because we had
the cows and chickens, you know, the farm over there.
YBOR 21A Page 13
G: Right, right. Now, in 1931, there was another big strike, to get rid of the _
you remember that one?
A: Cigar factories?
G: Right, cigar factories, 1931.
A: Not that I remember.
J: Well, you was in the grocery then.
A: Yeah, I was in the grocery business then, because I started'in the grocery business in.'29.
A: Yeah, IAremember that strike.
J: i,1931, that's a long time ago.
G: Right. WV9 people tell me that Ybor City had a very violent history with the strikes---
a kbo you think that's true? Why were there so many strikes in Ybor City?
A: Well, to tell you the truth, I don't know. I imagine they wanted more money.
G: What kind of money did you make? Do you remember your first job, your first full-time
job, what kind of money did you make?
J: I can tell you what kind of job I had in nr4omo#k 1933--it was A depression. And I
was making fourteen dollars every other week. a e-pn t.
G: Right, right. You remember what kind of many you made when you began?
J: Nineteen dollars a week.
A: I was making pretty good, yeah...I was making pretty good.
G: Right. Why did you quit the cigar business?
A; Well, I went into the grocery business with my uncle.
G: Right. Was that a hard decision to make?
G: Was that a difficult decision to make?
A: Well, yes and no. Because I loved to make cigars. I did love it, because I had plenty
of freedom. I got off whenever I wanted to. If there was a ballgame, I'd quit and go
YBOR 21A Page 14
to the ballgame, see? Professional ballgame, see. And in the store, I couldn't do
that-I had to stay in the store, see. So I did love to make cigars. SIm I had
more freedom. The store--my freedom, I didn't have any. Sometimes 4 like, I didn't even
see my parents, see, because I stayed there from seven o'clock in the morning, or some-
times six o'clock in the morning till nine o'clock at night. Worked on Sundays, half a
day. On Saturdays, we used to get off at one o'clock Sunday morning. Then go back at
seven till twelve. We had a hard time at the grocery store.
G: Right. Where was your store located?
A: On Scott and __LSC_ .
G: Scott and LoS!KC&. What was the name of it?
A: Sunset Market.
G: Sunset Market, right. And you also--what were your feelings about the cigar industry?
J: Well, I liked to make cigars. But then when the war came on, my son had to go to service,
and I had to quit the cigar factory so I could go to the store and work in the stoee
J: So I stayed in:.the store with him,.until he qt.
G: Did you enjoy the grocery business?
J: Well, not much. I was raising my family, and I was working too hard.
J: Long hours.
G: Right. You began your business in 1929, the grocery business?
G: That year the depression started.
A: That's right, that's when we started it, that's right.
YBOR 21A Page 15
J: When the banks closed.
A: We had a hard time...I mean, just to tell you something...how hard a time it was.
Sometimes in the grocery business, we couldn't pay our bills. We had to get some money
from pshe worked at the factory, whatever she made, we had to get some money from her
to pay our bills.
J: It was hard.
A: Hard, hard times were.
G: Right. Were many people unable to pay the bills at the grocery store? Did you have
any of your patrons or customers...
G: Did you...did you have to give your customers credit?
J: Yes, we did. We gave credit, customer credit. We had good customers, and then there was
some, you know, that couldn't pay their bills. But we helped, helped...we worked to help
the customers like they were helping us.
A: We had black customers, see? Black neighborhood. We had good ones and bad ones. Like,
same thing in the white, good ones and bad ones. But we had a nice time, that is, we
didn't have no trouble with them. We just treated them aright.
G: Most of your customers were black?
A: Black, yeah. o .
G: Oh, why would you establish a grocery business there and not on the-tisth or seventh
G: Yeah, why did you locate at Scott and Nebraska?
A: Well, my uncle, he -a-eoer store on Nebraska and Scott, see.
A: And he was in partnership with another one, another man.. And he quit, the other man quit,
YBOR 21A Page 16
so my uncle asked me if I wanted to join him, see? That's when I left the cigar factory
and joined him, see?
G: Right, Right. Tell me, the prices when you first started back in 1929...
A: Oh, my God! You know, we used to sell fneedea biscuits for a nickel--five cents, and
sometimes we had a special, six for a quarter.
G: Biscuits, cans of biscuits, or...
A: Six for a quarter, six packages for a quarter.
J: No, lunch.biscuits.
G: What kind of biscuits? .* rC'
J: Lunnh biscuits, bneedaj biscuits.
G- O'i-.i unch biscuits.
A: Lunch biscuits, yeah, #needea biscuits. Come in a package, you know.
A: I believe it was either fourteen or fifteen ounces, see? Used to sell five cents a piece.
Now you know how much they are today? Forty-nine cents!
A: Forty-nine cents for a package of Yneedea biscuits.
G: Right. What was meat selling? Did you...were you your own butcher?
A: Well, we started with a butcher, we had a butcher. Then the butcher decided to open...
he was going to open up, IIU,-MJ ig t&L :pn tC a grocery business for himself. So he
quit. So I did cut meat for a little while.
G: What was ground beef in 1929?
G: What was...how much did ground beef cost?
A: Meat? Remember..,I don't remember how much... Ground beef was...
J: Well, I know I remember T-bone steak was seventy-five cents pou .
YBOR 21A Page 17
G: Seventy-five cents a pound?
J: T-bone steaks was seventy-five cents a pound.
G: Yeah, right.
A: Yeah, ground beef, I believe it was about forty-nine cents a pound. Fifty cents maybe.
G: Right. Now Tampa, if you look at the Italian community in Tampa--there seemed to be
an awful lot of people who ran their own grocery stores.
G: Why, why do you think so many Italians went into business for themselves like that, small
grocery stores? Any explanation?
A: I have no idea. I guess they wanted to get out of the cigar business.
G: Right, right.
A: I imagine that.
G: Right, right. Do you remember any other ways how the depression affected the Italian
community? Do you remember an& stories or incidents.
J: Well, there some incidents where there were people who couldn't pay their taxes, and lost
G: Right, right.
J: A lot of them lost theit homes cause they couldn't pay taxes.
G: Did any of your friends lose their jobs in the cigar factories?
J: Yes, they'd lose the job in one factory and probably get into another one.
A: Like they'd lose their job around Christmasotime, you know.
J: When the work was getting slow. Some were laid off, then probably they took up again later,
they were to come back.
A: Around February or March they start again.
G: Right. How did your father's dairy business do during the depression?
YBOR 21A Page 18
J: My dad, my father, you know, wasn't selling milk4-he was making ]Baf cheese.
G: In Tampa?
J: Yes,and- otc4t And he used to peddle it with a wagon. He had customers that
bought his f Lotf, and he would go every morning, and sell his (C\-o
and he'd make cheese and sell his cheese; So he was making good, to raise the family,
he was making money.
G: Okay, how do you make fresh (\L f cheese? ?
J: Well, I .dAF know how to make the _oLftc- _, but youi sA WCt crWTo h Z .
G: Sure, sure. I'm curious, do you make it out of goat's milk, or cow milk?
J: No, I make it...I get the milk from the grocery store, and I put it to boil a little bit.
When it's kindey very warm I add a jigger of vinegar, white vinegar. And then it brings
up all of the ( 'o -- Out of a half of gallon of milk, I get a pound of
G: Is that right? Didn't you have to refrigerate it, or..
J: We can eat it warm, or I can put it in the refrigerator.
G: Is it as good as the store-bought?
J: Oh, yes.
G: Is that right?
J: To me it's better than what's in the store.
G: Yeah, now, did your father ever make the r o from goat's milk in Tampa
J: In Tampa, no.
G: Why not, do you know?
J; Well, I guess he had more contact with the cows than he had with the goats.
G: Right. Where was his dairy located?
J: On Forty-seventh and Columbus Drive.
G: Wow, he was out really far northeast out there, right. Did he have a large farm, how
YBOR 21 A Page 19
J: How many was it? About half an acre?
A: I believe it around Holiday Inn, on 56th? You know?
G: Right, yeah, right. Sure.
A: Wellryif,-c,.,his place was on forty-seventh.
J: Forty-seventh and Columbus.
A: Three blocks from fiftieth.
G: 1-4 i/tf that area, the interchange.
A: Yes, that's right.
J: Now it's city. Then it used to be country.
G: Right, right. Did he have a good business?
J: Well, yes, he had a lot of customers. He used to peddle the wagon and come to Ybor City.
In Ybor City he had a lot of friends.
G: Yeah, now what ;.did he have a brand name, or did he deal by himself?
J: No, they just knew his name.
G: Right. Did he. how EA-he peddle the cheese? BE-he go individually house to house, or
just down the street?
J: No, he would go to his customers. He had his customers, and te-mmmb go to them.
G: I think I asked you, but he did not sell milk, is that right?
A: No, it was against the law to sell milk.
G: Oh, right, yeah.
J: You had to have, you had to have a permit.
J: And then, then he didn't have a large amount .Aeoge cows e didn't have a permit,
so he made cheese.
YBOR 21A Page 20
G: Right, nowl, ,id he ever grow vegetables too? Or just for...
J: Just for the family.
G: Where would you get most 4.would you buy your cheese from him too? At the grocery store?
A: Yeah, oh, for the store? No, no.
G: Did blacks ever eat _\_Q____ ? Th'e pr ai T;-.-.wasn'n' blgr Would blacks eat
Italian food, by the way? Did you stock much Italian merchandise?
A: Italian merchandise in the stores? No.
A: We had only black customers.
G: Soul food, a'lot of soul food, I guess, right?
A: That's right.
G: I'd be curious about...
A: You know, we had a hard time in the store. That's during the depression. They come
in and say "give me a nickel's worth of sugar", "give me a nickel's worth of coffee,"
"give me a dime's w/rth of cheese'," "give me a dime worth of boiled han( It was terrible,
I tell you, it was terrible in those days.
J: It was in a poor neighborhood. We used to sell one onion, or we used to sell one
egg, you know. It was a very poor neighborhood.
G: This wasn't near the area called the scrub, was it?
J: Yes, it was the scrub.
G: Right, Nebraska and Scott. I'd be curious, how did you all meet? What kind of court-
ship pattern? When were you married, what year?
A: Well, my father was in cigar business, over on 14th Street,close to the H.H.C.C.
J: He had a buckeye.
A: Small cigar factory.
A: And, her mother was working there, see?
YBOR 21 A Page 21
A: And when she come from work, she stop at the cigar factory.
J: When I come from school. When I come from school, I used to stop there.
A: But when cigar factory, too, see?
A: That's wmen we met, when you was coming from the cigar factory. You wanted to see your
mother upstairs, and we met. And .cae say hello, and she say hello, and we got friendship,
G: What year would have that been? When you started dating?
J: In 1922.
G: 1922, tigHt.
J: And we got married in 1925.
G: Wh'I'rre beT.. what did you do on your first date, remember? Where you went out?
J: We didn't have no date. We used to...he came to the house. Back then, he used to come
and visit meAhome. Used to come and visit once or twice a week, and we were good friends
for a while before we got married.
G: Right, would you bring a present?
G: Right, what kind of present would you bring?
A: Well, perfumes.
A: Powder. Take her to the show some nights. Not us two, with her mother. Those days
was different thaf today.
G: Right, now would your mother sit with you or behind you?
J: Well, she used to sit ab ae m- L'bot...
G: Right, right.
YBOR 21A Page 22
J: She wasn't very strict, like some of them are.
G: Did you ever date anyone else?
G: This was the first...
J: I was fifteen years old when we met.
G: Right, right. Tell me, what did your father think of Alex?
J: He thought he was .aright.
G: Right, right.
A: They got the information, see? Her parents.
G: Right, right.
A: Everything came out okay. So we've been married now, this month, it'll be...
J: On the 26th it will be 55 years.
A: Fifty-five years this month. The 26th. Been a long time.
G: What would you do on a typical Saturday night in Ybor City if you went out on a date?
If.your mother came along, where would you go?
J: Well, I think,, /here wasn't much entertainment. We used to go to the movies. 0 6- 0
Sunday, the Club used to give picnics, ypu know, and we used to go to the picnics. And
on special holidays, they give, the Italian Clib would give a dance, and we might go on a
Saturday night to A dance. But there wasn't much entertainment in those days. No place
to go. r C-
A: Well, I tell you what, you know where the XK1;ESr in Ybor City? Well, many people--
Italians, Spanish, Cuban--used to meet the people at Cress's. Right in front of Cres$'s,
you know. Because all the girls used to come by.l.walk by there, and buy some
merchandise, you know, to get acquainted and talk, you know. That was like a meeting
place for the Latins. At the Cresf store. What was that, there was another store, wasn't
there--Cresg and...Woolwotth's. Wo6lworth's was there too.
there--Cresst and ... Woolwotth's. Woblworth's was there too.
YBOR 21A Page 23
G: Right, right. mk-i-iau.swouould you ever go dancing?
J: Yes, wwhen we...
A: At the Italian Club.
J: When we first got married, we used to go. But then we started having a family, then
we started working, and we didn't go out much.
G: Right. What would you do "what did your families do on typical Sunday afternoons?
Sunday mornings and Sunday afternoons?
J: Get together, and we have X family,; ';ae f all together. And sometimes we go to church.
And...you know, it be... If you work all week, then on Sunday, it was a lot of work
in the house. Cleaning house and getting clothes ready for the children, and that's what
it was. Hard life.
G: Right. Big family meals?
J: Big meals...
G: What was a typical Sunday meal? What would you have?
J: Oh, we had spag hetti and chicken or roast beef or....
G: Italian food, or Spanish food?
J: Italian food.
G: Right, right. How about your family, Al?
A: Same-thing, Italian food.
A: Soup, chicken soup, you know.
G: How did theyAone other question, a (ThoiC. question, how did the Italians get along
with the other latins? How did the Italians get along with the Cubans and Spanish when
you were growing up?
J: They were...
f5. (^ lvS" v^' ^ ^^\''fi^-(i/
YBOR 21A Page 24
A: All right. See, our factory was Spanish, Italians...Spanish, Italians, and Cubans, you
know, together. We had a nice time. We enjoyed it.
A:. We were friendly.
G: Right. What would your mother had done, if you had brought home a Cuban young man who
wanted to date you.
A: Well, she probably wouldn't had said anything, but I was not bhe type to bring, you know,
somebody home that... I was so funny, I was not very friendly with the young men.
G: Right. How about your parent's generation? Did they get along with the groups?
A: My parents?
G: *.generation, with the Cubans...
A: All right. They were all right, they would get together.
G! Some people that I've talked to said that the groups didn't along very well, that...
J: Well, you know how somepeople are like that, that they don't get along.
A: Yeah, that's right.
J: We didn't have any trouble.
A: Well, there's one thing to say about the Spanish people in the cigar factories, you
know. Like, you call the one selectors. Selector is the one who selects the wrapper
size and the grade, you know. And they was strict,,see? They didn't like to get
friendly with the cigars makers, see? They were all Spanish. You would not find a
G: Why not? Why not?
A: Ge+kae tn, what the Tribune say, eaftuAgn?
YBOR 21A Page 25
A: Well, that's caai*os+n, right there, see?
J: The owners were Spanish, and they always protect their own, you know.
A: And they wanted to make...put the ring around the cigar, you know, they were all Spanish
girls. No Italians.
G: What were they called, what was their name?
A: And you won't find an Italian, why? right there, see?
G: Right. Would you agree with that?
G: Would you agree with that?
J: Yes, I would agree with that.
A: All of them...them people was strict. They wouldn't have nothing to do with the cigar
G: That's right.
A: They thought they were big shots.
G: Ti, ...
A: Right. Cigar makers, we all get together. We all agree in everything. We enjoyed it.
I tell you, I enjoyed the cigar factory more than I did the cigar...the store. I had
more freedom. I had more freedom.
G: Right, right.
A: I knock off there when I wanted to. I go, like I said before, I went to the ball games.
There was no football games in those days.
YBOR 21A Page 26
G: What kind of ball games were you talking about?
A: Professional. Tampa...used to be Tampa...
A: Ybor City, St. Petersburg, not Ybor City, but St. Petersbtrg, and we had a Havanna
team come over here, too.
G: Where were the games,played?
G: Where did you go to watch the games?
A: Over here at Tampa...what do they call that? Where they used to have the fair. You
know where the fair, the old fair used to be?
G: By upw*kvwrt Tampa?
A: Tampa, what?
G: By Plant Park.
A: Plant Park, that's right, Plant Park. You know more than I do. Plant Park, been so
G: Right, right. Were you a boxing fan at all?
G: Were you a boxing fan?
A: I used to go to the Cuban Club. Yeah, yeah.
A: I used to go to the Cuban Club.
G: Baseball...was baseball popular in Ybor City?
A: Yeah, my lord, yes. In those days, the Italian Club, the Cuban Club, Club '
and ______Pused to have ball clubs, you know. And they used to play here
in Custacaven Park. You should have seen the crowd on Sundays. Oh, lord, have mercy!
It was good, I tell you, we enjoyed it.
YBOR 21A Page 27
A: But they disbanded it, you'know.
G: Why do you think they were disbanded?
A: I don't know why they disbanded. Because, maybe they...I don't know.
J: The ameur came up, and they used to like other things. Football came up, and they
used to like other things, and they didn't go to the parks like they used to.
A: Yeah, they used to fight for those ball games.
G: Did you, did you ever go to the ball games, Mrs. Scaglione?
J: No, no.
J: Not because I didn't like it, but just because,I was occupied at home with something
G: Right. Now, how did you manage to work at a grocery store with a family?--WdE'i4*- M
J: I work in the groce store,Land we worked from morning until six o'clock. And I:started
my dinner then vbat we come home. And I start, we had supper home. We had supper home
A ; ^
and the boys get ready and they go out. And I stay home and do the washing and the
cleaning, and get ready for tomorrow morning to go back to the store. And that was
J: You know, for many years, we didn't go no place, because we was tied up with the store.
We had, we belonged to the Sons of Italy, and I think that for thirty years, we couldn't
attend the functions or the meetings or nothing because our hours were all for the store.
J: So when we closed the store, we start attending the...
G: Right. What did...did you sell the store, or...
YBOR 21A Page 28
A: Well, urban renewal got us, see. Well, it's a long story. First they came in and
G: Let me change the vav-j.'td turn the tape over,aome.
END OF SIDE ONE
G: You were going to tell me about your store.
A: Well, they came into the store. An urban renewal man came to the store and said that...
G: What year was this now?
A: -i___L ...
A: Sx- r.
G: Now, okay...
A: Well, in other words, here was the way it started. I saw some people in the back of
the store taking a survey of the homes there. And I asked him what was...what was going
on. They say, "Well, urban renewal is going to take all of th&s property." And I asked
him,how about the store? The store was a brick building. They say no, that they ain't
going to touch a brick building. So I say, well, good thing. So, later on, they came
by- and said they was going to take the store, see. I had preparations already made,
but, when they was going to build in the back of the store, I was going to have a good
business, you know. But then they came in and said that I have to move. Either sell
or move. I said, well, instead of moving, I'll sell, see? If you're going to move me,
I don't know where I'm-going move, and I got to start all over again. I said no, I'm
going to sell, so they bought me out.
G: Were you happy with the settlement.
A: You're doggone right, absolutely. That's the best thing that could have happened in my
YBOR 21A Page 29
G: Right. What, at the same time, a lot of urban renewal was hitting Ybor City. What do
you think? Could Ybor City have been saved, you think? I'm not saying it did, but
an awful lot of buildings were torn down in Ybor City. 'Why do you think that was?
J: Well, you know we didn't know much of Ybor City because we lived on this side over here,
you know. When they tore down the store, they made like a little shopping center over
there. W' were across the street from the apa iaevv and they made there like a little
shopping center. But in Ybor City, a lot of places were torn down, and some of them
were happy about it, and some were sad about it.
A: They made a mistake, though.
G: What was that?
A: The city made a mistake. I don't know how to explain it, you know. But, they tore
down old houses, and see what they got over there now? Nothing. They plan to rebuild.
What they going to rebuild? All they're rebuilding is downtown, see?
A: Well, I'm trying to say what I feel, Jo4.
G: I'm not going to...it's your tape. How did World War II affect you all in Ybor City?
What do you remember about the war? What it did to the community. World War II, in
A: Well, the only thing we remember back then...World War II, they got our boy.
J: Jimmy, our son. Jimmy got in the service. He was in the havy.
A: They got him in the service. They got, they got him the service.
J: For two years. He got out of high school, as soon he graduated, he joined the navy.
G: Right, right.
,: And he was gone for two years. And that affected the family. You know, how that did,
YBOR 21A Page 30
during the war.
G: Right. What about whenegg1 the young men came home in 1945?
J: Some celebrated, and some didn't.
G: How do you think it affected Ybor City in terms of the future? Do you think that
experience made any difference?
J: I don't think so.
G: How did prohibition affect Ybor City?
A: Well,'we did some...
G: Was Ybor City a hoose? Could you buy whisky and booze pretty easily?
G: Moonshine, right.
A: We didn't much about it. We didn't fool around with it.
G: Right. In closing, how you would... Sorry, one other question. You had talked about
churches a while ago. Would you call Ybor City a religious community?
J: Yes. Yes. yhe old timers used to go to church and believe and pray, and the old timers,
they were all Catholic.
A: That's right. .* used to, just like in the old country...anyone in the family died, and
J: They used to have, you know they have a church in Ybor City. Our Lady of Health. OPH.
G: Our Lady of Perpetual Health.
J: Yeah, and the whole neighborhood used to be there, used to go to church.
G: How about the men?
J: The men, some of them, some of them did.
G: How about the Cubans?
YBOR 21A Page 31
J: Yes, the Cubans are religious too.
A: Yeah, they're more religious than the Italians.
G: Is that right?
A: Yeah, and the Spanish too. But the Cubans, see they have a __
What they call it?
A: They call it some name, I don't know, but they're realty religious.
G: Right. I'm sure there were a couple of other things I wanted to ask you about.
I'm just trying to make sure. How would you kind summarize your lives, you think?
Looking back over, your experience, you-know,yogr parents. and your immigrant past?
J: Well, it was a hard life. But, if I had to start it again, I think I wouldn't mind it,
you know. Starting again like I have been. It was a good life because we are a close
family. We always close, you know. And with the family, we had hard times and good
times, but I wouldn't mind going through, you know--it was very poor.
G: Right, you think in the old country your son could have become a college president?
G: Really remarkable.
J: Yeah, talk about my son.
G: This generation.
J: We've been very hard with my son.
G: Right, right. Listen, I'd like to thank you very much. It's really been a very
pleasurable interview. You've been most informative.
J: We don't have very much to say because we've been .a hard family, working hard family.
We raised our family, we give them the education of their choice. Now we have been
retired for sixteen years, and we've been enjoying it.
G: Right, right.
YBOR 21A Page 32
A: We've enjoyed it, yeah.
J: We stay home and we go out when we can.
G: Right, right. Oh, I know what I was going to ask you. I see you belong to the Sons of
Italy. How did, why did the sons of Italy start?
A: It started in 1922. I remember, I joined it in 1925.
A: And it was on 6th...you know where the Spanish Club is?
A: Well, right across there used to beg ,p a wooden building, two stories high.
And we used to have the meetings on the top floor, third floor. And we had some really
good times there. Really good times.
A: Then they tore down that place and we went to...on 15th Street, where
is, you know where is?
A: Well, that used to belong to the Sons of Italy. Where there was three clubs, I believe
"-r4Esa Cuban Clubs. I don't know. In other words, there was three clubs. Sons of Italy
was one of them, and we used to have meetings upstairs. We had dances, we had picnics
upstairs, and we enjoyed ourselves. But then, we couldn't pay for the building. We
lost the building. So we moved over here, right in the back of George Washington
School, see. Then we had to move because the freeway had to come by, you know. So
they built over where we at now, see.
G: Right. Why did you decide to move over to Lemon Street?
A: Why we move where?
G: Yeah, why did decide to move to Lemon Street? The present location. That seems kind of...
J: They bought a lot of land over there, and they decided to build their own building.
YBOR 21A Page 33
A: Well, the money we got from the building in back of the George Washington School, you
know. Well, they stopped building, you see. And there was about four or five persons,
members, that put up the money for the building, see. After I don't know how many years,
they were paid back.
G: Right. Why was it necessary to have a Sons of Italy club if you had an Italian Club?
Was there a faction there, or...
A: Well, I don't think so, no. Just one man came up and said let's...
J: It was) ,peopaa0the Italian Club was...that was like an Italian '
was the Sons of Italy. That was the benefit. From the Italian Club,
you used to get benefits, you know. Over there it used to be different.
G: Right, right. Again, I'd like to thank you very much. It's been very enjoyable.
END OF TAPE
END OF TAPE