Title: Interview with Joe Maniscalco (April 3, 1980)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006501/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Joe Maniscalco (April 3, 1980)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: April 3, 1980
Spatial Coverage: 12057
Hillsborough County (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006501
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Hillsborough' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: HILL 24

Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
Full Text

This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
the University of Florida.


April 3 ,1980

SUBJECT: Joe Maniscalco

INTERVI WER: Gary Mormino

G: My name is Gary Mormino. Today is April the third, 1980. It's my pleasure to

be talking to Mr. Maniscalco. What's your first name, Mr...

J: Joe.

G: Joe, y ,- ^ ;,,

G: .'. '**:: "l(/ ''"-. Maniscalco, at this cigar shop on 7th Avenue. And Mr.

'Maniscalco, why don't we begin. Tell me something about the old country.

J: Well, when I came to this country, I was a kid. I-was about seven years old.

G: Right.,

J: In 1910. Ah, my people, my parents had brought me here, I was a kid.

G: Un..ha.

J: And then...

G: How old were you, whatyear were you born?

J: 4 ti .

G: What year?

J: 1902.

G: 1904. Where were you born in Italy?

j: ___i_________ _"____._.__ _e ____(^

G: Got some pictures here I think you'll...bring back some memories. Pictures of

the old country. When is the last time you've seen...

J: This is /i'// ".''',
A --

YBOR 24A Page 2

G: Yep.

J: Okay, let me...do you want me to look-a-4tk4ae

G: Fine, you can dQ-4t now if you want.

J: Yeah, this is, this is the church.

G: Um. .hum.

J: This is /LP 4/? .f We call .the L 1/ _e___ _.

G: Right.

J: All right, on the end, on the end here, on this end or even the other end...but

I think this is the end. Which ever one, J(.tt/ i

they had oeefif... cU'. i. C-:,r,

G: Fountains?

J: Fountains.

G: I've got some pictures of that.

J: Let me see. i^/'Yf ,. '0 -,, L. a water fountain. t

/w^ ;+-
J: This one is right in...ah...This is what I was. Butlh. changed.

G: Right, well, what did, what did your father do in the old country?

J: My father was making...ah...ah, like I tdld you yesterday.

G: Uh...ha.

J: Was making, ah, lime.

G: Lime, uh...ha.

J: Yeah. He used to go in the mountain, one mountain, used to break the mountain,

and then week on it and make-e-atae.

G: Um...hmm. Right, right. Well...did he live in the city?

J: Yes sir.

G: Right, right...

YBOR 24A Page 3

J: He was born and raised in the cityV ./-::. '-. '. / L 7

G: How about your mother?

J: Same thing.

G: What was her maiden name?
/1 /5rlerr-

G: right.

J: -h"amt-'" /V)^, -.,2__

G: Right, right. What do you remember about growing up in Sicily? You were born

in what year? Ah...

J: Nineteen hundred and two.

G: 1902. What do you remember about growing up in Sicily during the...

J: Well, the only thing I can think...that when my father was working-'you know, I

used to go to school that day* And, after school, the fellow with the wagon,they

used to come and pick me up and take me where my daddy is. So -'Ae-6pead someY'Me

ti e, d I'd spend night up there with him.

G: Right, right. How would you gw?

J: 49te-to t e // /e a /, I was just a kid then...

G: Right.

J: And I couldn't do nothing -en.

G: Right.

J: I couldn't help my father.

G: What wasethe-meztiT!n like?

J: Oh, big. Let me see them pictures, maybe...maybe you got them in there. You see,

the mountain was...the mountain was, we named it Greco iMafo /or O .
G: Greco Mark-. The dead Greek?

J: The dead Greek Menk.. That's where the 4e&a.ein was.

YBOR 24A Page 4

G: Oh, right, right.

J: That's...that's where it was. It was a big mouetein. All white...white rock.

G: Right. Remember this picture of the ^,"';.'2.. /)C .*. ?

J: NO.
G: You don't remember this?

J: I don't remember this.

G: Okay.

J: Why,should I say that I remember when I don't?

G: Right, right. You saiA you went to school in Sicily?

J: Yes.

G: Ah, what was school like in Sicily?

J: 4eL., school was good. It was...I was a young kid, and we went to school all day.

And then by two o'clock, two o'clock or two-thirty, we would go on home.

G: Right.

J: Yousea, I was a kid, and you couldn't '::. The only time I went out then

was when I had to go out...with my big'brother or my big sister, or either-my


G: Right. What...f\you remember any of the religious celebrations br..

J: Oh, yeah. They had a beautiful celebration sc ;r -_IL-'Xf, and

CL..A,/0, nL "'IIf Iyou know, this is the biggest.

G: Describe, describe the festival.

J: Oh, it was so beautiful. See, they used to...I was a kid, and I remember when

they used to take this --- /(2 W /6L /$,T OLThey used to take it, and have
like a parade, you know. People wetd- go g -o and people we+d throw money ,=-t

And then you had all kind/ of things, ,ijp In (L ptCI?-. Well, you

can buy ,4U4$

YBOR 24A Page 5

h, -we-Ucz uld ll. Then they had the bands, and they had the bandstand, and

everything. The bandstand was a...right close to the church. See, the band-

stand was close to the church. And they used to go in there and then, they had

the firework/ on the...where the pond is. That's where the pond is, and

everytime the fireworkers play, they had the church. At the end, the fire-

work, they light the church. And then they had to, you know, the lights when

they started blowing and all...

G: Right, right.

J: And then after that, nothing more rsee d-_E I remember now.

G: Right, right. Well, why...why did your father come to America?

J: Well,my father never did want to come to America.

G: Your father or brother?

J: My father. But I had my uncles here. My uncles, they wanted to bring the

last sister they had, and that was my mother. o,?...I had four uncles right

here. My uncle Sam, my uncle Peter, my uncle Sam, my uncle Joe, and my uncle

John. They want to bring the family there. And we came here. That's why,

one of Tly" my uncle Sam came to Italy. To serve as a soldier. Because-as

you leave Italy 4 ,1- /(/1io/ you've got to ten-bactk. So he stayed about

three months, a soldier. And then) 1v /j. hi) So then when the dLC Cfrr ri

A fr we came to this country.

G: Right.

J: They brought up,the uncles, they brought us here.

G: How did you get to Palermo?

J: Ah, went by wagon.

G: r or...

J: Carroo^a

YBOR 24A Page 6

G: How long did it take?

J: Oh, I don't, I really don't remember. But it took a...it took about a half

6 a day to get to...

G: Yeah, what was Palermo like?

J: Oh, beautiful. -feay, today I don't know, because iAj-as:70 years -go.
ofV" Fe/rr.d,,.flVO 0 *
G: ?______._') ? Right, right.

J: And ITremember Palermo, that had that statue out there. You know, the horse, the

horse and all they had that statue right on /q/ '.'' 2. /if/ 262OI remember that,
h :C rc C, ^/'c
because thae was, I think, was close tbhwear the ship was. Then from there, the

ship was.named Y/_- _e0/0, f.,.,

G: }/' // ^,. Right.

J: The ship that brought us to the United States.

G: What do you remember about the voyage?

J: Nothing. The only thing I remember about the voyage--I had a girl with me, you

know, a little friend, she's still living, and she's still living. And she it

here. We both used to play in the ship, and that's the only thing.

G: How old were you when you came, again?

J: Nine...I was seven years when I came, about seven years. I was seven years when

I came here to this country.

G: Right. Where, where did the ship land?

J: In New York.

G: What do you remember abuht New York...

J: Nothing. I don't remember nothing,

G: Statue of Liberty, you don't remember seeing that? Ellis Island?

J: No. The island was very...you know, once when you get there...once you get there,

you know, they take you to the island. To examine you, and your eyes, you know

YBOR 24A Page 7

like that. They examined my eyes, and then...

G: Right, right. Do you remember that at all, or...

J: Yes, I remember that.

G: Yeah,

J: That's what they call /.1, /i" / ',- ,'lin New York.

G: Z/ a- /- r/

J: Yeah.

G: Right. What does it translate?

J: Ah...the island, like you said...

G: Ellis Island...

J: Yeah.

G: Right, right. How did you get to Tampa?

J: By train. It took three days and some to get to Tampa.

G: Right. What did you think of America as you were...

J: Well, I was a kid. The only thing that I did when we got here...we had a lot of

people right here on 19th Street and 6th Avenue, they had the old station, Ybor

City Station. And all the people that come from the old country, they all get
wOAer) ^/yL/c^
off there. And this was like a parade,py knetw, people from the old country

A coming, at night when the train is...you see hundreds of people in there,receiving

Wt., to find out how the family is getting along, and what they're doing, and

what they are-gfe g _d .

G: Who was here to greet you? Anyone you know?

J: Who?

G: Did you know anyone who was here, when you came to Tampa, besides your uncles?

J: No. No. My uncles, yes, I knew my uncles. But I was a kid, when t'Aly left:.there,

see? When my uncles left, I was a kid...a baby, you know, two,.o three years old.

YBOR 24A Page 8

And they all left and they came to this country.

G: Right. What did you think of Ybor City?

J: Great. I've lived my life here in Ybor City since I came from the old country.

G: What was it like when you came in 1910? ,

J: Oh, when I came here, *thure was a .piee f-the thing, the best thing in the world

that I ever saw. And I've been around in the country. And I never saw people so

friendly, so...you used to sleep with the door open in the night. The people in

the street at night--music, serenade, and the people---everybody at one or
W-re. 1o oRV tom L-
two 'clock in the morning, go-t on the porch, hearing. people playing -nd serenade

they coming by, and all like that. Oh, was it terrific then, see. And everyt/

body would invite them -r-to eat-w drink or something.

G: Right, right. Where did your family live in Ybor City?

J: Ah...when we came, we live...right here on 10th Avenue.

G: Tenth?

J: Twenty...twenty-fourteen 10th AvenPue.

G: ThaLe where the interstate is today?

J: No.

G: No?

J: No, no, no, no. The interstate is in fourteen, I think, or thirteen or fourteen,

something like that.

G: Right, right. What's there today?

J: Huh?,

G: What...

J: Palm. Today is, you know, the new Palm Avenue, that...where the college is now.

G: Right, right.

J: I used to live right there on 10th Avenue. It used to be 10th Avenue where Is-
^ -

YBOR 24A Page 9

G: What was it like to grow up in Ybor City as a young boy?

J: Oh, I grew up nice.

G: What are...what kind of memories do you have?

J: Oh, well, I used to go/ picnic. I used to shine shoes...I used go to town, the

old sh" shine shoes, get up early in the morning and come back/late a*

night, bring four or five dollars home to the people. And we used to live with

some W that kind of money them days.

G: How old...how old were you when you begin rolling cigars?

J: Not even thirteen..

G: Not thirteen, gee.

J: Not even thirteen, -7/KI.1-' /; 7' ,, I went to school and my father, I used
htad comd/g,'l
to make a lot of .KU/ n0. When you've got a bed'keeping yo', you make
/ (
a lot of o .(/ OOA Because of nine months of school, I only went two

months. So my father said, "You don't go to school nothing".take you to so you

can-ge-out ad make cigars.

G: Right.

J: And that's...I started when I wrke'-- buckeye...and I stayed there two week/,
4x- ee
and they put me and my brother, my oldor brother, he was working +- cigar making,

and he took me out there to be a" apprentice in the Cigar factory / A //6-//" -4,

G: What was the factory?

G: Right. What was your first salary, do you remember?

J: My first salary was...they used to pay me, after six months I worked there, they

used to pay me two dollars a week.

G: Two dollars a week.

J: Then I started working, making cigars and all like that, then I started making

fifteen).- twenty dollars a week as an employee then.

YBOR 24A Page 10

G: Right.

J: But it took me two years to become a cigar maker, to become empleyed4-

G: Who were, who were most of the workers there? Were they mainly Cuban or Spanish,

or Italian...

J: Ah...they was Cubans...and Spanish and Italians.

G: Who egte the best cigars?

J: Well, they had, tbaey had some good Italian cigar makers at that time. And they

had bad ones. They had Cuban good cigar makers. They had Spanish good cigar

makers. But most of the cigar makers,- mo9es. all of, most of the good cigars,

the Spanish people was making themA

G: Right. Right, right. The...how did you manage to get a job? Did a friend

recommend you, or..T
,. Vrf n C_
J: No, I just go in there and ask... 61 . S i.i'/. they want to get me as empl-yd

"C"'' I was making cigars, and my cigar, they used to saw it. But they never paid me

as the employee. Because this is all piecework. And then, I quit tzer andI
S- o )erf t o : 0
went to another a', -he-pl-ae -f-the Garcia Brothers. So I got a job in there

where I was making twenty-five and thirty and forty dollars a week. So that's


G: Right. Right.

J: 0p then I went back to the .-.// f ... ^ because then they want me
/ +<4(7 giVE f1
back, so I could work in there, you know, and ake it as an employee.

G: Right. Right. VWhaf did they...when you began working, did they...they have a


J: Yes.

G: A lector?

J: Yes, they had a reader, and we used to hear all the news going on in the country.

YBOR 24A Page 11

We used to get the news, what's happening in the city of Tampa, and the area of...
yoV <^d f& Du-_
Tampa Bay area, the news, t' hear it all. And then they used to give- a news

from all over the country, and then they used to give news from,.,foreign countries'

news. And then after that, the reader started about ten o'clock in the morning.

I mean nine o'clock. And ten o'clock, they used to read one hour, read all the

news. And then they come back and read some more news. And then, about two
:,-o'clock, he started a novel. Okay? And you couldn't hear a pin drop when that

man was reading.

G: What kind of novels did he read? Do you remember any favorites?

J: Yeah, I remember...ah, Ni ty-three -_Ni .t.,eee, all of them, a lot...
nnc fn
a lot of them things. They used. I can apmaumbr La Casa deY la 4 T ^I ah
.,i Yo' h-noj. --
OD I ^O,'CO.) I All them things, they used to read plenty of them, one finished,

and then, he used to bring/ten or fifteen different stories--books, and then

let the cigar makers decide which one they want.

G: Right.

J: So we used to vote on which one we want.

G: Right. Do you remember any favorite lectors?

J: Yeah. l MIII. PC=i'O,

G: Po7r''C io,

J: Uh... Ofl'QQhO. Ah... \J ) I s //,/ o We used o call him
n- t" A4Sio. You know, he was a cross-eyed And then, we'had

We had some good readers.

G: Do you remember (i) 0 T-O ,rr o? onfi)lo %icrrm'

J: ,": T/ ,

G: -l .

-,^ p ICcior,
^ o, -. < -2 1007?

YBOR 24A Page 12

J: /AO we had some Italian t C1- / ., his name was,

we used to call him i, / then. He used to be a reader in the

factory too. Then he kind of lost his head, and they took him to T.alho .

G: Hum...yeah. Were the readers radicals?

J: No.

G: No?

J: No. But the best that you could get a day, the readers, when they read the novel,

like 'te /7//)r and his father, the

old man _/3_c-CgO He used to read in the /"'g"C "' you know

where the Glaek factory is? He used to read in there.

G: Um...hum.
J: And...there was nine hundred and some people in there, and yeu never had any vice

or noise, or C1ome 1t4i g like that. His voice was so strong that he fill up that

whole place.

G: Right. Were you ever involved in any of the strikes?

J: Yes:sir.

G: __53/____o ?

J: Many times. In nineteen,.,when we got here, when we got here in nineteen, in 1910,

after two week, I thinkAf was. They had the seven month strike. I was a kid,

but I remember.

G: What do you remember about that?

J: Oh, they...they had fights on 20th Street and 10th Avenue.

G: What kind of fights?

J: Between the laborers and the strike breakers. See?

G: Right.

J: They had all of that back then.

G: What was your...was your father able to get a job?

YBOR 24A Page 13

J: No, my father never made cigars.

G: What did he do?

J: My father, he was working in a farm.

G: In a farm?

J: Yes.

G: Right. How did the strike affect him?

J: Well, it didn't affect him much, because he was making in them days, he was making

a dollar 'V. a dollar and a quarter a day.. See?

G: Right.

J: It didn't affecthmy father at all, because...and then, after that, my sister,

she or t and she's still living,/D sister Mary. She's still
/ .=,.:,,' "-*< i ,S- / l".)
living. My brother -B4n +ad learned how t' trade, the cigar induatsy. So they

went to work, and started to t(' 'tl c 0 Then when I grow up, like I

said, I went to. "ti h /to-- f--t -/#,(e by

G: Right. Getting back to the 1910 strike, do you remember anything else about it?

How, as a young boy...

J: Oh, the people, the people, they was... They didn't know that we had a strike.

The way 4mirUdhe people/took care of each other. And then, you can thank the
inerdep de people, that had the business...grocery stores, wholesale, wholesale

house...they used to give the food to the people, you know, and then, when the

strike settled down, a lot of them we"Itd-lpey back what they owe.., A lot of them .

didn't, but we got along fine during that strike.

G: Right. What was the first strike you were involved in?

J: Nineteen...ah, when I was...
G: Yeah, when you started working as a cigar...

J: Well, the first strike that I was involved in was...see, the cigar makers, they

never was satisfied.

YBOR 24A Page 14

G: Why is that?

J: In f $li// -~i /C0 Because of the kind of material

G: What was wrong with the material? / r'

J: The material w@ritd not fit the work, pgditie-. i; :. --j.aq * cm-t

aip don't feel like workatin he go A i- fi .... ,,.

wo'rkTI We can't work this, we've got to go on strike" And tveiy d n-

everybody out.

G: I_ /I

J: Yeah, 9 /CZ (3 /// And then we'd go out, go to the labor temple, the

old labor temple, not the one theyflBgot today, the old one. It used to be

on 8th Avenue, between...sixteen...16th and 17th Street. That's where4f used

to be. And, that's the old temple. Then they build this...well, I've been in

many strikes many times. Then in 1920, we had the ten month strike.

G: You were involved in that? You were working then?

J: I was working, but I waI in strike, and I w eig at the phosphate mine.

G: At the phosphate mine?

J: Yes sir.

G: Did you have trouble finding that job?

J: No sir, because they want people to work in the phosphate mine, and they were able to.

G: Where was that? Mulberry?

J: Ft. Meade, Mulberry,

G: Were you involved, there was a strike out there too, wasn't there?

J: No. Not that...no, no.

G: That was earlier?

J: No, that's earlier. Then we used to make three dollars a day. In nineteen...

G: Did many Italians go over to the mine?

YBOR 24A Page 15

J: Most was Italians.

G: Is that right?

J: Most was Italian, because Italians...they want to work. They got families to

take care, see? And most of the workers were Italians. Well, then-we...

When I was working in the phosphate mine, I was a... in the mine, inside the mine.

Inside the mine...working in... First, when I started, I started in the track...

railroad, I used to be...I used to spikes. And then, I went to the mine, working

on the mine, -nd. J quarry. And, one night, because I was-, we had to

h'ip every two weeks, every fifteen days, you'd change shifts,from day to night,

and night to day. And one day, while we was working, why I was in...I think I

was in about forty feet deep, a4d.you know, in the phosphate mine, we had a big
explosion. That's when them three boys died. It.killed...they was fixing, fixing

dynamite.. .-;t i / Of they had a lot of cases of dynamite, and t4ey

tt i 4 /...a/C i I

G: Were they Italian?

J: No, Spanish boys. They all was Spanish boys. Nice young kids.

G: -40 many Cubans go down and work?

J: Yes, plenty of them too.

G: Cubans, and Italians.

J: Right.

G: Right. Did you /i4: over there?

J: Yes sir, we did. Well, we used to come with the truck. They used to furnish

the truck to come home every week. We had our own r-uek, we had, they give us

a house to sleep, beds, you know, ...

G: Right. How was Ybor City affected by the 1920 strike?

J:OY Well, 4 feei-aee, in 1920...t+hey-paced Ybor City. W+th ten months of

strike in-faet, lots of people, you know, ten months, and the people got tried

Ybor 24A Page 16

in 1910 with that seven month strike.

G: Right. Was there any violence?

J: Huh?

G: Any violence?

J: No, there was no violence. But there was, it was, you go to the labor temple, you

find one of these...he wants to be God, you know. he wants to be /d / ,

he wants to be this.

G: ,' IO

J: Yeah.

: Right.

J: Right.
G: Right.

J: And...I never did go, because I don't like to mix with them guys or nothing.

When the strike was settled down, I went back to work. But like I I went

to work in the mine.

G: Now, when you were a young boy.in the labor movement, do you ev r remember a

guy coming here named ) /$/ ; i7? /\'4

J: Oh, that was before my time.

G: That was before your time.)

J: Yes es4, )Lr6/OY) i'/ / .''.jas before my time. No sir.

G: Yes s&- ) 2c i

J: Well, I don't...I heard it, hufbrja was a ,:\. df,

G: Right, right. Was he popular among the workers?

J: He was real popular because I heard his name many a times. Many times I heard


G: Right.

YBOR 24A Page 1'

J: I heard people, you know, like... / _J_" /, 5,t

/,'//?V -)/C ~ ^rlC of,/ He died now, you know. He's my cousin. He used to
_re a-t the history bib+es, 4O V _f g f, .)

G: -RghtY-wa did he. -C .oA h
eLE-Cr Oeach Oc t prCsorTr
J: He didn't_ -triw-ia-. He aweeas in Italy. When he came here,

oh, its...when he came here, he got a job as a secretary of the Italian Club.

G: Is that right? Did he ever....
Mr )rore VI ''^
J: But the was the secretary for the club for

years. The Italian club. And he used to...say history, you know, talk about

history. He used to a-wm ikc a lot of time _C___ _I (oeirH ("f+iC )

------- ll those people. -yo know the history by, you know, tha read so much, and

they used to tell lots of stories about.

G: Right.

J: About Columbia, and all of that. See?

G: Right. Did you ever leave behind any LO/ ?

J: What?

G: __ _A _1' __e ?

J: No, I don't think, I don't know, I'm not...I'm not...

G: Right. What was the cause of this 1920 strike? What was the cause?
r, : tv ;, o L"' 'V-\.
J: No moneyA;:We lost.

G: Right, right. When did you come back to work, then.

J: After twenty, after ten months.

G: Right. Where did you go? The same place?

J: I went to the same place.

G: What were making then in-pay?

J: Then, I used to make thirty, thirty-five dollars a...

YBOR 24A Page 18

G: What kind of money was that? e

J: That's great. Today, you want...like you making $220-50...with the,with the, the

money you used to make in them days, in 1920's and the 30's, you could used to

take care with fifty dollars, forty dollars, you used could take care of family

of six or seven.

G: Yeah. Were you working during 1931? During the 1931 strike?

J: Thirty-one?

G: That strike, 1931, over the lector? There was a big strike then, wasn't there?

J: In thirty-one?

G: Yeah, you don't remember one?

J:'Not that I know of.

G: Do you remember any other bad strikes?

J: No, but, that's the only strike that I know that last long.

G: Right, right.

J: But then they had a little strike, you know, like that strike...

Xt~n 1', ic t .r4
G: Nineteen thirty-five?

J: Yes sir.

G: d-"-we did it s-airL?

J: I was cook.

G: Where?

J: Downtown, small place.

G: Uh...ha.

J: Not washing dishes...cook, as a short order cook. Then I learned the trade. Good.

And I work in the big res grants.

G: Right. Jow, kw

J: Like, I've worked in Sea Breeze, I worked in a lot of good res urantsA And I

YBOR 24A Page 19

stayed about...I got (pd cooking, and I went back to making cigars.

G: Did you?

J: And I went to IjI$('1 Garcia.S

G: What year was that?, T t y
J: Well, 4ti. _ff(-, ) Garcia, I-imt th6r,-eat- r( ) Garcia, I worked about
J:. Well, '*'. ';"*, ____________

I think was about thirty-five to thirty-eight years, -I-t-ink-it-was.

G: Yeah. Listen I'd like to come back sometime and talk to you again. I've got

to rush off now, and I'll come back another afternoon, and we'll sit down for

another half an hour, okay?

J: Good. Whatever you say.

G: %M4uo-ra es. I appreciate it.

G: I'm talking with Mr. Maniscalco again, and we were enjoying this picture of

the Italian club picnic.

J: Yeah.

G: What kind, what kind of social activities did you do in the old days?

J: Well, I was in...working wi-h the when I joined ,that, I was
about ei-ghtee years old, when I joined that.

G: The Italian plub?

J: The Italian club. We used to be across the street.

G: Right, right. I was telling Jack that the old building burned. What was the

original Italian club, L6X/ -) I --^'1'7 ?lQ__-__ _

J: L / a' .

G: Right, what was that like? Could you tell us?

J: The way the club was?

G: Um... hmm.

YBOR 24A Page 20

J: Ah, it used to be a building, -ket ,, but it used to be nice.

We had the.'inside, we'd have to...the bar, like we've got it up there. ritath1L-
hx': l back romwea-used-to-Jthi-the-tmenis--room.

G: TmeL--roon?

J: The-mens-roomnt e had the bowling alley, table pool in there. And up the stair,

we had the theater.

G: Right.

J: Beautiful theater, we used to get the 4pyer you know, from New York, they used

to come down. This one here, ah, dm IOV ah, we formed a theater, you

know,to work them, Il;... i. f 0ioperas and-ael. It was nothing but the young men,

you know, and...

G: Right, right.

J: __and- e b6- Cacciatore, Joseph Cacciatore used to be the

baritone, and !i : I 1. -,- ..was the president of the club, and then he became

secretary of the club, and...

G: Right. Were the plays in Spanish or Italian?

J: Italian.

G: Right.

J: Italian, theall) was in Italian.

G: Uh...ha. Yeah, yeah. What, what happened to the original Italian club?

J: It burnt.

G: It burned. Do you remember what year?
J: Yeah, it was in I think it was in 1915 or 16.

G: Right.

J: Then we build, then we build this.

G: What happened? Do you know the cause?

YBOR 24A Page 21

J: No, I don't, I really don't know.

G: Do you remember when the building burned? Were you here in this area?

J: Well, I was here in the area, yeah.

G: Yeah.

J: But I don't remember exactly when it-was. You know, I know it burnt. And then

from that, we el d the building in the inside, and-then we build this one.

G: How did you build the current Italian building? Could you describe the process?

J: Right here on the end of the corner?

G: Right.

J: Well, that was in 1916, I think, or 17, when it was built.

G: Right.

J: As I remember, that year, we had a picnic in Palmetto Beach. We was building

this. It took, I think, a year or a year and a half to build it. We had a picnic,

and during that time we had the parade, you know, from west Tampa to Palmetto

Beach. And I was one of them who'd run. I got &seond-place

G: Did you?

J: Second, p-a eer c'C

G: You were jogging before it became popular.

J: Well, that F to p .-. you know, working out there, because we-did

all -of-that for the members, see? And every year, they used to have a...

some function...long time ago. And after that, was the J)Nti .r.L- (c'_J2C

G: 7rifco. u2hK

G: Right. Is that of the cash and carry _ZCO; ?

J: No. No. 06, n ,

G: NO?

YBOR 24A Page 22

J: h'. ', .11 i t Cri .hey .used have a a,

'0-O .OYLQCO brothers, used to have the f/1?- on 14th St. and

7th Avenue.

G: Right. r I .-

J: And tkhen-when ,. .. was married to aa"mean- n-Mah-.

G: Right. Right. Did you help in the construction of the Italian building?

J: Oh, yes. Ilwas a member of the club, and everybody was-mede, you know, everybody

helped them, went in and build, you know, the contract, 'j,1. '/ '),A( 4

After we got through, we started already, furnishing the building, you-geting

G: Right.

J: Then we put the movie in there, the movie house, and we had the burlesque show,
P .r; ',,h i- bcij'iid .'.. .
not burlesque...I mealnmuscial. We had the...then we used to bring Italian pictures

in there.

G: Uh...ha. pi t

J: And then we used to get companies from New York to come in here-and 4 ey. They

used to come here, see? And we used to be in to watch it...every week you had

someone there. Every week, every week.

G: Right, right. What did you do? Let's go back in time. Let's say it's, -let-s/

Ljd say it's nineteen-twenty-eight. And it's Saturday night. Tell me what Saturday

night was like on 7th Avenue.

J: Well, we used, we used to give a dance most every night, every Saturday night...

at the club. And we used to come here, you know,during the week. All the Italian
(I h'r
people that lived around here, they used to come here and stay at the club,
-!,,r -^l;tF ,.) ''--
,__ ___ if you know, and c7FI J\IJ ., _to twelve.or one

o'clock at night. Jf used to be a .... But I remember that

YBOR 24A Page 23

tooy=t iatemost-of. ..most ef9 every night, you'd see a .- /' qf!, 1 ) 1, I '

Seople playing.. ,, This fellow hereji. r ,-i

G: Uh...ha.

J: And they used to -:OyF C^. .... _in the night. Twelve or one o'clock, o
two o'clock in the night and they used to L And everybody
Oc O, -,- rno-ty
ed- a the porch"'oead-hear them playing and all like that. And mite-e+
-wO, Y^OJL co, l d
thaen used to be like a family--everybody was like a family. nAi wm- UlAs" -
sleep in the streets...and your neighbors with the door open, and nobody.-wSea

-1ooked-ater each other. e /,,,.., OCOL. all that gone.

G: Hew-daE ou think Pam would enjoyif you tell her what courtship was like in

the old days? abe.

J: ()) dJi Uh, the dating was- th\d-h old days, the Italian

people, they watch their daughters very, very close./ One of the girls, if she

have another boyfriend, say e--wae Spanish or American, they never...that ain't
right; if they wanted to see a daughter marriePior either the boy married to w

.. 4' People that you know, see. But that...switch around, you
Scr" a(( 5 -
know. You marry who you please 4and who you love and 4w like that. AThe same
thing with me. When I got married, I went with my girl, my wife, since she is

my wife, my wife for 48 years. I used/ibe, after two years that we went together,
you know, and knew like that, I got married.

G: Describe a date; a typical date, )Lier \/OLUCtU) ,(

J: Ie.i I got married?

G: No, no, before you were married.

J: Oh, before I married?
G: Right, what would you do?

J: Oh, I used to go the beach. Go to the show, you know.

YBOR 24A Page 24

G: Did you take her along?

J: Take heri/tith me, but her mother had to go withmeft See, the mother, chaperone, the

mother was the chaperone. If I didn't have the mother, I had the sister. They

wouldn't let her go alone. Then when before I, before I asked her aga, you know,
ktr Vm 4c oo &M+^C '. tfe 44C'Mk'
hetby-in the house, I used to ..s-.e=.tried=te ried-walking, she would sit in

the porch. When the old lady come out, her mother wotud come out, I had to get out.

See, all that happened. But then, you know, I told my father and mother that I

wanted to get married and I wantLou. to go and to... So they went out there, and

t-he old lady d all right, tha year that I; not a year,

three months. GoingA t. it was bad. The old lady wants me

to marry, my mother-in-law, she wanted me to marry in t"I church. Seeshe-wanted
S'b ^ .. . ., rrctr ,, ...c. e, ..ry'
-4e A to marry in the church. During the depression, you o-.i .g
marry cu.l )J
money, the family--e'-en- 'eatgh I had a mother and father to TI O ,Z CaC F I had
tAat ... 7 ":'-4aAl. aA o. i''n"f H,
'\young kid brother sister snd4-ge-t e-get-*-eh. I was the only one during the

depression who worked. So I had to take care of my family, you know. So my father,
,h.c o'Lu 5
before he died, before he died in 1934, he told me, he said, "Son;, t want you to

get married, and before I die'"...he had an accident, a real bad accident. He said

"Before I die't I want you to get married, and I want to see your son ..- '

5" ir,9lyI/ I got a son, who's forty-six years old.

G: What do you remember about the depression?

J: The depression was bad. The depression r'rS 5 ver people. La.iig-up for a bowl
"tI4T ,. .
of soup...thank God S the ItAlian people who ad the stores, you know, thaC give

you credit. Ten months or ten months or oo,-you-know, the depression, you know,
q:'o c d Ci'r;, Bc., Vh o i ., /o,
when Roosevelt t first come t. And they started working and giving some to

the...but I work all the time, though, I had a job.

G: Were you making cigars then?

YBOR 24A Page 25

J: Yeah, I was making cigars. I never was out of a job. I used to make 30-er 40.e

50 dollars a week, and the way I used to take that money--I used to take it to

my father,.,all that money. My father used to give me three dollars. Out of the

envelope. And with that, I had to buy the cigarettes, I had to buy my clothes, I

had to buy a lot of things. Them days you could hms to the show for ten cents,

fifteen cents. You could wfe buy a cone of ice cream for five cents. And you

could hav e to the show and eaieyed, you know. And you--I had that money for

the whole week. And then I used to shine shoes when I was a kid. I used to shine

shoes. And I used to walk from here teYbor City where I.. ., used to live Walk

right here, coming this way mst of-the-time, and walk downtown to the old court-

house. ABout five-thirty or six o'clock in the morning. And come back about eleven-

thirty or twelve o'clock at night. Making four or five dollars shining shoes. In

them days, a nickel or dime used to shine shoes, see. So Saturday and Sunday, I

used to do that. And the money I make, I take it home, so it could take care of

the family. See, we was a big family, so I had to...my bQtkhers, they wasn't nothing

but kids, you know, and I'm going 4,-sehel. And then when I was thirteen they

take my out of school. AllI< got was six grade in school, I ain't got, I ain't

got much education. But they had to take me out of=schda- ol.-s hey-olda't-

support the family. Then my father got sick, my mother got sick--my mother used

to work and making four dollars or five dollars, stripping tobaccos, my father used

to work in the farm cutting celery, planting, g m and allAthat 4MS for a

dollar-and.a: quarter. adqllar.and. a half a day. So you couldn't support a family,

you know, that...so we had to...the kids, we had to get out and go out and make a

few dollars extra. A few dollars for the house. So then, the boom came. When the

boom came, everything started...went up i c *but a year, you know, 1925,

1926. Then it started to... in 1926, and then it went down completelyy. And every-

body was worried. A lot of people was worried. A lot of people who had few dollars

YBOR 24A Page 26

had invested, andAthey went broke. Families who were like my mother-in-law, y

mother-in-law, she had six kids. And she raised them six kids because both-her

husbands--my wife was fiveold, her father, her father died in Italy. So she had

a few dollars in the bank, right here in Ybor City bank. Across the street where

the bank is today. Across the street. They had the bank in there. And then they

built this one. And, during this time, when the banks closed, you know,A all over

the country, you see. And people ,. a lot of people lost money. A lot

of people went broke. So the depression, that's during the depression.

G: Right.

J: So it happened; all of that in all this time.

G: Right. The.twenties, during the depression...

J: The twenties...

G: .. prohibition was big too. '00 Y_ __n__ i._r___ _'_..-)

J: The twenties... .'; .' ,.

G: In Tampa..Ybor C-ity.

J: Bel ieve- m-F idaun-tkew-- s.. I remember plenty about that. People used to

control that.

G: What do you mean? ,
.---. .- T .' J ,i"
J: A lot of* a lot of people used to control this I gota place here like
S J-ofi ro0 &, C0 I
'vot- 4Qw. AndJa bar, or some,0Q_c cHnl OT the guys weIld come up and

pick up the money I.rC"^. ,'2,.! You've got to give -tie so much a week. And

allphappened, the change, everybody like the change. 4ie e a you know, on

that kind is the draft all the time, you got the draft. And the guys, they used to

kill each Ether. They used to kill each other all the time. They used to say,

"You get out, and I'm going to take the power." And the other guy was je,'. ,

yeu said, "You get out and take the power." So, you know how 'z "'i g J ,, o. C

jxi-the sheriff, or the mayor, or whoever it is, the mayor's going to put his man,

YBOR 24A Page 27

so that man is going to have the control for everything you get, see? So-.thatls,
FU 0!..
e-lieve-mle,it' s...people they used to live on it...a lot of people.

G: What groups were in control in Tampa? What ethnic groups?

J; I don't know. Well, I wouldn't, I wouldn't mention not.name atvall. I wouldn't

mention no name at all. Because it's not, it's not right to...to mention any names,

because that's, that's bad, it's mean.

G: Yeah. What about Charlie Wall?

J: Well, that is...Charlie Wall used to be the big boss.

G: Right. V, h.r/.

J: He used to run the city of Tampa. The, ?0 ?i0-)i .. BE -thea--Zlike all the

rest of the Italians, they used to run the city r ':. -,', But I wouldn't

mention no names at all, because it's not, it's not believed too muuh.

G: __r__ _,

J: Right.

G: What did...how did the groups get along in Ybor City...

J: Fine.

G: The Italians and Cubans and Spanish...

J: Fine. Fine. They used to get along fine. There used to be between-the clubs,

a social club, what we call'" S- y) '' We used to be the Italian

Club, the SpaRist-had-the and the Cuban Club. Every year they

used to get together.. And every function they give, like you say it was a...
c\ '.A- dy", .- A-'
like Sundays, or maybe the Italian/got a picnic. They-gave theiclubslno function

at all. The Italian Club the only one to give the picnic. Next Sunday the other

ere. Then we had a sociable dance. The soc...the sociable dance that we used to
V, uO N i 1
go )J;:tP Italian Club members, they used to go to C(E!O F ', the

OrT)- :,, .would ihe pay nothing, you know, sociable...it was invited, the

social, fr- the four clubs. And each one every third week, make -- --- ^

YBOR 24A Page 28

This week you give one, next week, the other ones, then the other ones, then

the other ones, then the other ones, see? Anh 5o s r weese one is going to be

the first. And picnics, we used to do the same. Everything that went with it all
the same. The way, see, if I mention ry name, I ain't going to do it.

G: Oh, no, don't worry. Don't worry.

J: Well, I'm just telling you because...there's no...if...cause I can mention a lot of

names but I wouldn't...who was control, who got the L-'cI iC and all that.

G: Wasn't there,,some people...talking to some of the old- imers at the Italian Club.

Why, why didn't the Italian Club ever have an hospital ........ ?

J: The reason why, the reason why the Italian Club never had a hospital on account of

the groups they had. Because I've been a member of the Italian Club since I was

thirteen years old. And I'm still a member. IL-ve=beeR-t;r c-b-, I've been in the

board of directors for years...the board of directors most all of this...uh, JIrC o r)

we give in-tera and all .thae&, I used to do the bes. All the time. But

when you get a club...a r. A... the'at j i from each other, then you never

have anything.

G: Umm .hmmm.

J: See? And the Italian Club, could have had one of the best hospitals in the, in the
Po (U ha" is
city of Tampa. But the Italian colonial, the Italian eerporai moved down here,

and could havethat. And we have people that would do that. Onetime IJLwas in the

board of directors, the-e was..a r) b '' f think, So.mie /t You could

buy property for $6,000. There was a three story building with a basement, we could

haue buyd it for $6,000, and build a i__} V in there. And -t -len ad 4-,

to build it up -, o- fix it up an dpait-, it would have cost us about

$15,000-$20,000...I'm talking about them days/when ,... could buy. And

we never had that. We never had it because, always did like to have a ni e &

iPnty of t-imas But-fnever.the Italian club. And they never did do it. Because

kk Page 29

you get it, you get out, and -he -eer man come in. See this fellow here, this

fellow here, Mr. Ricardo, Mr. Ricardo was the president for twenty-five years at

the Italian Club.

G: Hmm. What-happened-

J: No. b cr o And he was a good president. And he wants everything

nice and smooth, everybody was smooth and nice. And then...then lo)Ct. IjOlO CL,

come in. Then, you know, I can make-you, you know, all the members, you know, that

have been there. And that's why, the reason, when you Q CL ('0!.,f!to fight...

,ff O4,i-C^.', you never -ia anything.

G: Right, right. What...What about politics? Did the Italians ever do anything in

politics? ..

J: Oh, well, the Italian people's the strongest, the strongest politicians they ever


G: Who do you remember?
J: Oh...there was the...the + ( family. And the family. {c'a ir(S

you know, before this younger generation---the father, and the old timers, they

used to. "they used to bring the dollar home. Then they come out with the

younger generation, they want to go to school. They don't want be cigar makers or

they want to go to school. Today, thank God, and I'm proud of what
we've got here...the lawyers and doctors...and I think we've got the best doctors

in the country, right here in the city of Tampa. Good lawyers, prominent lawyers,

good lawyers, we've got the best. Judges, we have judges, whe'been-hee... And

I'm proud today to see whove-a young man come out from college, you know, and

... ..., Cause the very first thing they do...if you've got the money to

send your kid to college, you send them...regardless if you've got to be indebted,

you want to put them in college. You sacrifice. See?

G: Yeah.

YBOR 24A Page 30

J: See, you sacrifice, like I.\) C,! ) I've got two, two nephews. Both

a doctor, one is the...for the head, and the other one is a heart specialist.

G: Um...hmm.
J: And the one wi-thi-.the greatest specialist you can find. And this boy here, they

wanted -hlitto operaten .. .. He's one of the greatest,.all over

the country %l=o known all over the country. The operations this boy's doing.

G: Right.

J: And I'm proud to see that...see that }\ /

G: Right. In the...

J:PCgause his father sacrifice, you know, they sacrifice...hard work...to put them kids

in college. And thank God they're a doctor? and they've made themselves a good
name. There's one of them makes- in charge of...of St. Joseph's Hospital, the...

G: Right. What do you...what do you remember about +-ek-MAhio-? /jl'C- J UC,Ci ?

J: Oh, I don't...Nicki, Nick was the bestthee city of Tampa ever had. The inan-was
b"-,i o,, - O r,!t+ r, i ..,
thoe-AbesA;Atan-the-ciTy-ef ---ampa 'evy-had. e

G: Why is that?

J: Not only, not only did he have personality...he had a way to...to help the people.

That man used to get up at four o'clock in the morning, and look around the city.

All around the city where you ftQ (piP;r-te -Then the ,'Le out there.

h r men and And what...what he done for the city of
Tampa no -man ever did/ ,What he did. You can't...a man's got a responsibility,

he can't do favor to everybody, you know. But he was one of the best ma,, he was

a good city.. E.t..first he was a city.. .cmo ty city, you know. Then, from

the city he went to county commission. And he sYy count/commission all of these

From-iere. he became the mayor of the city of Tampa. Twice. And
Ci-Haicf rvn 1ke^
Nicki ,he's a wonderful man, and you can't beat that man to be a eity...un ef ief

'f,"- O g t e city oneehad. He's a great man. But you've got...you

YBOR 24A Page 31


ah...people that do you4 favors, and then you just turn around and double cross
t.r c rr iP. f
them. And you can't, you can't everything. But Nick was one of the

best mayors that Tampa, the city of Tampa aer had. But he done plenty for the

city of Tampa.

G: Right, right.

J: See, the Walls, the McKay, the Walls, and the Wrights, they used to control the

city of Tampa. But then, +UT QcrUo(, "e control was gone, see? Because the

younger generation come out. You people is bossing around the city of Tampa today.

The city of Tampa today ought to be the biggest city in the state of Florida.

Because we had a lot of i 52L come in here. And they, they... they stop them.

They stop them. Because we couldn't. Today the city of Tampa weuld- have been

a million people. A million people could be in the city of Tampa today. But they

stopped the Wagls and McKays and the Wrights...they all control the things. Now
att you've got to do '-wia' they say. See?

G: Do you think they disliked Italians )Ma^ /l/l44

J: No,no,no,no,no. No. No.

G: Take yourself. Have you ever been treated badly because you were Italian by any-


J: No sir. Never. Because I'll tell you the truth. Anybody they used to...if they

take advantage of me, I don't care who it was. I'd tell them where to get off.

Quick! If I had to fight them,TI-'&dfight .them. I might get beat, but nobody's

going to try, to tell me, see. If I'm right. Now if I'm wrong, it's different. Many

times we used to go to a dance, you know...like aI ^i _t. i''.1 and all like

that. They used to put sign in there--no dogs allowed. That mean no latinsi

they don't want no latins. No Italians, no Spanish, no Cubans, nothing. See?

But the Italian boys and the Cuban boys and the Spanish boys, tley used to go in

there and fight. We American as good as you are. -Thy reason they, they used to

YBOR 24A Page 32
hate us because weAtalk three or four different language. And when we're together

like we are now, we talk...they wuuld talk Italian. This man would walk in and

say..."Why, why don't you talk inEnglish.tten you g m4 p bj /,

Everybody couldn't talk English at that time. People that come from Cuba and Spain,

Italy, they've got to learn the language. They've got to go to school. And the
old- timers ,we teach them, you know, and that's what you get, ... But we never,
w ne ver.. /the alw a_ _f
we never... they always at r / up in New York. You've got
(7Y' I '/ ,C- 0t -._< D r rc hf." ?
To y \/S ou don't cross the street. I
i: T cpta
remember in Chicago...on-New-YTYok Avenue. The -Rt-ian people on this side of the
street, they couldn't cross it. These people were white people, they couldn't

cross the I 'I-'hCTC ., i. ,! 9. K r:' W -rin the stores. They wouldn't

let you ,c2SS in there.


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs