Title: Interview with Dr. Frank Adamo (April 19, 1980)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006516/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Dr. Frank Adamo (April 19, 1980)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: April 19, 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: UF00006516
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 39

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Full Text

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and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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Interviewee: Dr. Frank Adamo.
Interviewer: Gary Mormino
Location: Tampa, Florida
Date: April 19, 1980

M: Today is a^ April 19, 1980. A beautiful day in Tampa and it is my pleasure to be talking to

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Adamo. Do you pronounce it "Adamo".

A: Adamo.

M: Adamo. Everybody else in Tampa pronounces it Adamo, but that is our plight being led. And

why dortwe begin Dr.? Could you tell me ah something about your Sicilian roots?
A: Well, I was born here, you know.

M: Oh, you were born in Tampa.

A: Ye I was born en-a+r on the ah-southeast corner of Eighteenth Street and Seventh Avenue,

r i git yr-ktu .

M: CiIigrLteiiL, hat is Eighteenth and Seventh Avenue.

A: Yeaf, right..

M: That is right above the Italian Club. That area, right.

A: The Italian Club was to the southwest.

M: Yesa, by where the Tropicana is today. Tropicana Restaurant? Right around there, I think.

A: I do not know any Tropicana club.

M: What year were you born, if you donk. mind me asking?

A: I was born January 20, 1893.

M: 1893, my. WVRTiT

A: And th, my father took us to Sicily in 1914.

A: And stayed there for a year in^OU k Sil I s

M: Tell me something about your father, his Sicilian background.

A: Well, he was he was a farmer. He-d not own ni g He was -heAd much schooling

or things. Well, ye-kew, a lot of the farmers in Sicily they did not have much schooling.


AT n / ..

M: What kind of farm did he have? Was he a, Contadino?

A: Yes, he was a Contadino. I do not know whether he worked for somebody or what you know.


A: But, I do not know too much about my father.

M: Right. Why why did he come to America?

A: Well, I guess to like the British and them, you know,all the other>came in search for

fortune or get better conditions I imagine. Ada ..

M: Did he originally settle in St. Cloud and Kissimmee with some others?

A: Yes both of them settled there and a-ebanr- then they they came to Tampa.

M: Did he ever tell you about St. Cloud, what it was like working in the sugar field there?

A: Well, he said it was pretty bad. I do not know, They;were making either twenty-five cents

an hour or something like that or a dollar. I do not remember for sure. And there were

snakes around, you know. They were building a railroad I think he said.

M: And then he came to Tampa right?

A: And then he came to Tampa.

M: Right.

A: And learned to trade of cigar making, you know.

M: 'Uh-4uh.\ '

A: And both he and my mother,yettrke worked in the cigar factory.

M: WJich factories did they work in? Remember?

A: I really do not remember. There was only two or three factories there. There was the Ybor

City and the HAYIA Factory, I think it was.

M: 95LIi-h- Right. Did they ever tell you what it was like in the cigar industries.

A: Well, I ah-4 never discussed much you know.

M: Right. So, you mentioned you were born in 1893.

A: January 20, 1893.

M: Right. What are some of your first memories of Ybor City as a young boy?

What do you think of when you think of your boyhood?

A: Well, I remember very little, but a-I remember that there was a streetcar on Broadway and

the street was not paved, yeo-koew 't was sand on both sides and that is just about it.

And I began to have .f-about the age of about seven ,-began-to- hve a migraine headache,-you

knot which lasted until I reached seventy I guess, seventeen years ago,

M: What do you think it was? Any idea?

A: Well, I do not know. It was apparently inherited. My mother had it and some of the others.

And who else had it in the...?

V: Well, Mary has it. (V A's wife)

A: Mary, my daughter.

W: Sheas)the second daughter. And your grand-daughter has it.

A: My grand-daughter might have it.

M: Right. Where did you go to school?

A: I did not have much schooling here. There was a private school on Nineth Avenue and

Eighteenth Street there,. ear kn.w. -h- carried out by some -a religious group.

What was that? You do not remember, do you V?

V: No.

A: No, and I did not go very much. I played hooky quite a bit, you know.

M: Yea5. I

A: But/then when I ah was about sixteen. I decided I wanted to go to school andhmy father

and mother did not believe that I would do any good because I had never wanted to go to

school,-you-know. So, at the age of seventeen, I decided to go to Chicago. They-h+e--e,

I had learned to make cigars, you know.

M: Is that right?

A: Yetq. A^-ah,...

M: Can you tell me a little bit about that first? Why did you learn to make cigars?

A: Well, I did not want to go to school, so J I just went to make cigars.

M: On your own, or ah?

A: Well, because I did not want to go to school, might as well learn me a trade.

M: HowJ:i5.did ;you learn?

A: Well, I went to a school and just aft learned...

M: Buckeye or C_-\__ ?

A: No, it was a factory.

A: I do not remember exactly whether it was a parrish factory or another one. But I learned

very quickly and pretty soon I was making them very fast you know.

A: Ar"nd-o, I-d eedtTo, I had met some of the boys from Key West and they

the families and and4fh I began to learn the English language. I -eetd hardly

knew much about the English language.

M: Uh-hun. /

A: And so, I became friendly with them and some of them went to Chicago to make cigars. So,

I decided I would go there and maybe go to night school or something to finish my grammar

school, you know. And==s I arrived there on April 1, 1911.

A: And got a job right away on the factory and a I started going to school at night. And

studying all the grammar, in one year I was able to finish the grammar school. We had 8

ten hours every night from six to ten and after that I went to the high school at night

also at the same place)and- a-taking all the subjects in one year. At the end of seven

months, I decided to take the a:fe examination, the state examination by the Department

of Education there in Illinois and passed all the subject except two. That was at

Geometry and Algebra ,yu- knw, because I had not gone over through the whole book, you

know-r"d .so the last two questions, I missed. But I was told that I could take those two

subjects over and then and pass the examination. So, I went to an old school in Louis

Institute which was right opposite to the place where I was making cigars.

M: This is in Chicago?

A: Yes in Chicago.

M: And did Chicago have a big cigar ad factory?

A: Well, it was one of the biggest up there.

M: How was it different than Tampa's cigars?

A: Well, they were the same except that they use the same kind of tobacco.

Mz--41hd ^1

A: The owner he used to go to Cuba to buy the tobacco you know.

M: -th-hth. Okay.

A: And &'; I took those two subjects and for two months and I passed the examination, so I

was able to receive the certificate of high school graduation. Si then after finishthat

I entered the Medical School, the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery.

M:-sUh-hub /'\h.

A: And,and-ah, during the first six months I took college. You had to have one year of

college. So, I took that up and-and--e took Physics and Chemistry and German, one year,

German and ah-and another subject, I cannot remember which one it was.


A: But anyway, I finished the yqar and then I started Medical School in 1914. And a1-'X

in F1-9r- 1917, the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery was absorbed by the,-by--rie

4k-Loyola University ak School of Medicine and *a we finished there in that year. After

finishing, I had one year internship at the aF Francis E. Willard Hospital where I met

my wife and qag-ad she was finishing her nursing and we got married in 1919, I think.

M: Yea9. When did you come back to Tampa?

A: Well, I came back to Tampa as soon as I...

M: Why,..iy-did \you decide to come back? Why di(nt you stay in Chicago?

A: Well, I -a- wanted to come back here, you know, to see how it was and...

M: Did you think you would stay?

A: Yes, at first I thought I would stay and ari.we came and ah 1919, isn't it?

V: Yes. August the first.

A: To take the examination, I think. To take the examination?

V: You came down,-you--eaffe-dnwR to take the Board and then you came back to Chicago.

A: 5r Oh, I came -to take the Board in June, I think of 1919 and a4s-anm I was practicing

over in Chicago. Had an office there and soon as I found out that I passed the Board

I came, you know, I knew everybody here and I thought I would do pretty fair. And-aer,

started practicing here about September of 1919.

M: Mrs. Adamo, what did you think the first time you saw Ybor City? I would be curious as

an Englishwoman.

V: That I almost died of the heat and the mosquitoes were bad at that time. We do not have

them anymore,

V: But you could not open your mouth or you would get a mouthful of mosquitoes.

M: trh-htt. What else did you think of Ybor City?

V: EI. I enjoyed it. Had a good time.

M: Were you eventually able to speak Spanish or Italian?

V: No, no.

M: Was that a disadvantage?

V: I learned a little of the mixture. They mix the two you know, Spanish and Italian.

K-- Uh-huh.

V: The Italians all speak Spanish and they mix the two languages,-whe I know I talk like

speaking Italian and they told me no that is Spanish.

M: -Uh-hethRRtgrt-. Right. How, how did Ybor City change ab; Doctor, between the time you

had left and come back in 1919? Did you say it changed?

A: Well)it was growing slowly, not thatT-t as fast as it had been growing in the last ten or

twenty years.

M: UWht--u. Let me,-Le-me- ask you some other questions that you did not touch on.' -A, did

you remember the lector at the factories? The reader, when you were working in the

cigar factory?

A: Yes. We had readers, you know, they would read the Spanish paper. They used to do it in

Spanish both of them. I do not know whether they had one factory where they had an

Italian reader, but most of them had the Spanish.

M: What was your impressions, your reminscences of them?

A: Well, we used to hear the news. That is about it. It was5seems to be pretty good. It

would take your mind off the work, you know, because it was the same type of work you know.

M: *Ah were you working at the factories in 1910, when they had the strike?

A: Strike. Oh, yes, I was working in the factory and and-a-ewhen the strike came, I went to

Key West. These friends of mine that I said I had met from Key West ah-ah they had told

me to come over there. Maybe I could get a job there, so, I went over there and I did

get a job and stayed there six months. This is just before I left for Chicago. I worked

there fome.

M: Right. How was the strike back here? Did you ever hear?

A: Well, it lasted six months, I think. It was a long strike.

M: .Ubuw4.. Really, right. Okay, so you came back to Tampa in 1919 as a Doctor. Ar-e-nd then

yEs__Ea you established a practice.

A: Yes. 1919., 1919.

M: Where was your office?

A: My office was first in a building that we owned on on Seventh Avenue between Nineteen and

Twentieth Street. It was a three story building which is now closed, demolished and all.

And ah stayed there for two or three months and then Y I got an office at Twenty-Second

Street and Seventh Avenue on the onthe -asoutheast corner) ) where they had a

pharmacy downstairs.

M: -Azhab. Right. Across from the restaurant.

A: Across from the restaurant.

M: 4Uh-nctt. All right, what wa: th-cmk, -dL w ther,' was there a Columbia Restaurant then?

What was that like in 1919?

A: The restaurant? Well, it was a,-4--wai just the corner, yu-Tknow, t t -a, most people

used to come there and have Cuban sandwiches and coffee you know in the morning. Nothing

like today of course.

M: yuh.4u. Right. Tell me about your practice. Ah_ to-people serve the Ybor City?

A: Well, the practice was very well. E- I got a long way quickly, you-knoaw. Began to make

very well. Ad-.ah-..

M: Who were most of your clients?

A: Most of them were Italian.

M: Many Cubans or Spaniards?

A: Not very many of them. Most were Italian. I did very well and then _k in 1927, I decided

I needed more studying and I was doing surgery, you know, I started surgery pretty early

to do surgery and I thought I should, yD4 knDw know more about it, you--kftowr;-t 1~h h,

and-ah, tpen we went to Chicago and started practicing there.

M: -4J-b=bhuh

A: And during that time, of course, I could not attend the clinic almost every day, a+nst

I would attend some of the clinics. The children at the hospital, the pathology or

conference at Cook County Hospital. Then they would have a meeting, the Special Society

like, Internal Medicine, Gynecology, Surgery, hi and Orthopedic, they would have a meeting

once a month, you know, which would 0r run every week, you would have one of them and

it would last all day,and at night we have thetah lecture. You-know., the reading and

so f I got a great deal of,,youiknow, better knowledge that I had before.

M: Right. In serving, in serving Ybor City, were there any diseases that were particularly

prevalent among cigar workers? Would you say, for instance, that it was a healthy or

unhealthy occupation? Being a cigar worker?

A: There was tuberculosis of course. It was y,- -t w^TT h..

M: WhW is that?

A: Why you mean?

M: Well, why would cigar workers be prevalent?

A: Well, because the air, yoru-s kwy-was-*we44, it was a_ tobacco'' I imagine, it May be

it was the same amount in the other population, but:aN, there was diseases of Typhoid

Fever. We had at that time. Ah the Dengy Fever, we would get Dengy Fever and-4b the

Influenza and the Pneumonia.

M: Any malaria?
A: Malaria? Not too many. Oice in a while we get it. But it had been ar-awy ow lessened

J% ;he incident had lessened.

M: iyjl h.Right. Did you ever work if for the Italian Club? Serving as their doctor?

A: No, I did not, because ae they would not let us, you know. Ah, the medical society was

against that kind of a practice at that time, you know.

M: Why is that?

A: I do not know why. It just you-knor;m +t-i-'a rules. I do not think they were right, btt--

,,.alh --

M: Who did the Cuban Club and the Central Historianos get to serve as their doctors?

A: Did I serve there you mean?

M: No I mean if i they would not let you, L.-ean.,-why would they let someone serve at the

Z r

/73e- 3A-r

A: They did not until later, you know. They did not until later. And ah', only,-4er'tssee,7

about ah in 1940, I think or 1950 'theyyig y-allow the doctor to go there. We could not

even go to the hospital at that time.

M: Is that right?

A: Until then, yes.

M: You do not remember the reason given? Is it because of the economics?

A: Well,

M: Because it was unsocialized medicine?

A: That it was detrimental to the to the medicine, you know, the Medical Association and that

everyone should have you know an independent doctor, yotr-kn"ow, whenever they want. If you

belong there, you had to take the doctor which at that time working for them.
'Mi'" U HHh" u .

A: So....

V: They said it was contract medicine.

A: Yea4 They woUerDiPnoTT FT-.hey say it was contract medicine too.

M: '"U'ffT-It. -Oese,4biE h did you do many home deliveries then, during those days?

A: Yes. I, I did some home deliveries. .Ah-, usually they came out all right, except one

case that a6i lasted for a couple of days and I do not know, it was a Lupo family. I am

not sure whether it was Dr. Lupo or someone else that I delivered, that it came out all


M: YefL,.

A: But, last two days.

V: She got i6 ii ) on the kitchen table.

M: Is that right?

A: Yea&, I used to take tonsil on the the Zambete family' one time I took five and left her

to take care of them. You know, after.

V: Yes, I gave the anesthetic and he said, "Oh, I have to go to the office." He scooted and

left me to take five off of the anesthetic. I almost died. I was scared.

M: Right, right. Do you remember Tony Pizzo as a young kid?

A: Well, f I knew him quite well. Ie-was-wi-t-h-ah,- I do not remember too much about it.

I knew his father-in-law real well.

M: Right. Uthtih ''

A: Died, I think I saw him the last time he was in the hospital. I do not know whether I

called the doctor for him or not.

M: Right. Were many of the elderly Italians superstitious about medicine? You know, with

the Cardonnay and the MC things like that?

A: I do not think so. But I do not remember.

M: Were there many home remedies then?

A: There were some, yes, there were some.

M: Do you remember any sh?

A: Well, somebody had a home remedy for for Jaundice, I think. Some Cuban fellow that has

some kind of concoction,.yau-know, that he used and claimed to have had good results.

M: Right-.:lhalt .as the, did you make house calls in those days?

A: Yes. We made house calls.

M: What would house calls cost in 1920?

A: Well, we charged about-'A three dollars, I think.

V: Lucky to collect it.

A: Huh?

V: Lucky to collect three dollars.

A: Yes, yes.

M: Did people ever pay you in anything other than money?

A: Oh, when I lUved in Chicago there in\27, I think I had about 6hs-35,000 or 40,000 dollars

in the books that I never collected.

M: Yea.

A: It was ah different.

M: Did they ever pay you in cigars or anything like that or ?

A: Well, there-4s, nothey did not have no barter at all. Some of them, they would bring

it in and pay the same way if they could. And you got a lot of people you know that had

a garden, bring you vegetables....

y i
i: /'

M: ,,Uh-huh.

A: ...a grove, would bring you oranges, you know. Would pay you or not pay you. You know,

would bring it to you.

M: Did you ever have any trouble with 5a groups like the'!;i trying to extort money

out of you?

A: No, t Iey-neve' ert, never had that.

M: UhTh "

A: There-was-ah, I think they were all friendly you know.

M: Really.

A: And I never had too much money then to...

M: Did ah-did you belong to the Italian Club? During those years, were you a member of ah?

A: I am not sure.

M: Do you recall,-,do--you-recalz- when it burnt down in 1914?

The original Italian Club? Were you in town then, 1914?

A: No, I was in Chicago then. I do not remember. From 1911 to 1919, I was in Chicago.

M: Right, When you came back in 1920, 1921, there was another bad strike. Do you recall

the second bad strike?

A: Well, I was not here in 1921. See, yea, I was here inI'Al. That was the time of the

storm, I think, was not it?

M: Right, 1921,

V: I think so..

A:' I ah,'" ...

M: Was there another strike then though?

A: It did not last long if I remember right. There-was-not, it was not too long, I do not


A: Yeah, there was a strike. That is right, The people, remember, had no

V: Yes, I remember the strike,

A: Ye a, we did not get paid orranything.

11I3oe -9?A-


M: What else do-you-recall. about your, lets go back to the medicine, maybe the Italian

communi ty-here How would you characterize the Italian community in Tampa?

A: Well, it was pretty knitted together, you know. The afr;"-he carrying on with the same

group, you know, and picnics and things. And-ahby they used to have ah, during th..

Christmas, they used to have dances, I think, at-'on-h...

V: Every Saturday, they had a dance.

A: Every Saturday?

V: Every Saturday night, yes.

M: Would you all go?

V: We went at least onee or twice.

A: We went sometimes.

M: Right, yeaf, Describe, describe a typical dance in the old days. What it was like.'

A: Well, there was a '" would mainly"dance at that time

M: Right. What was Seventh Avenye like in the old days?

A: Well, it was pretty good. It was quite busy at night, you know. You could walk at night.

Nothing like now. People do not walk there now, I guess, very much at night because ahL

it is crowded. When some of the stores open at the time.

V: Oh, yes. Every Saturday night, they were all open. The whole of Ybor City would be out.

But, not any more. Only a few Blacks.

M: What, what do you think happened to Ybor City?

V: Vandalism.

A: I do not know that it was not so bad. Not any more than other sections. Ahv-y..

V: I mean now, vandalism. Not at that time.

A: No, not at that time. We could walk at night. I remember my brother-in-law lived in

Gary and dh he used to play cards at the Italian Club you know, he used to go there all

the time. He used to be the collector for the Italian Club and we walked from.,abt

Eighteenth Street to Gary, Thirtieth Street and Ninth Avenue, where he lived there, without

seeing a soul sometimes.


A: Now, I do not know whether you can do it now.

M: 6irfitfCR"What do you mean, he was a collector?

M: What did he collect?

A:\\ Italian Club? Well, he used to collect,-yoe- know,for the memberships.

M: Oh, the dues.

A: The dues.

M: Right. Right. How did you get involved in the service?

A: Well, L-had-been in 1923, I joined the Reserve, you know, and I kept it up until I was

ah in_._ as a Lieutenant-Colonel by F930-Ti-, 1 i-,po,1q39, I guess. I was a Lieutenant-

Colonel then. And then, I had been through many camps you know, -afr Fort Shedd in

Illinois -A Fort efh-Benning, an army post in Atlanta, in Minneapolis and in Alabama

and thejort here. What was the name of the one near the in Pensacola? Do you remember?

Near the Naval Station? WharT-h?

V: I-do aty I remember Savannah, Georgia.

A: Well, Savannah, of course, even many of them I had been. And I went to the Office of

Schools in Pennsylvania,and-atr...

V: And Fort Sheridan.

Mr'-Lterlme. ..


M: And ah, _IT1 how did you wind up, wind up in the Phillipinesf )I'nI41?

A: Well, in-ah,'-ii November the fifth, I was called for active duty, you know.

M: 1941 or?

A: In 1940.

M: '"40. Okay.

A: To report on the first of January of 0--S\94*', 1941 and I was called away for to the

Induction Centerwg.=, to become Chief of the I/fduction Center at Fort Benning,-a&nd I was

there from ah-f-rom. he first ti4.the til the-May, I think, when I was called and q^

wMm sent to the PRT1ttpi-Res. -AdJ-ty-I arrived there and ah June or July of f41l

M: h.

A: Aad-ay-4-t was directed to go to Fort McKinley Hospital. From there we stayed until the

war started December the seventh I think. One morning they hit us ah-when we heard the

bombing, you know, at six o'clock in the morning.

M: Were you expecting it?

A: No, we did not, we-did not ah no,-we- knowthat there was ah something coming, but we

M: Rad, had you heard about Pearl Harbor the previous morning?

A: No, we had not heard about Pearl Harbor.

M: You had not heard about Pearl Harbor?

A: No. The first thing we know they were bombing, you know, with planes over our head. I

was living with a Colonel, who had a cottage, you -kgow. a little cottage, little houses,

yee-kRow4 and he is the one that woke me up. And he began to say, "God, now we are going

to see what we going to do to the Japs." You know, he was kind of happy to have us side

the war or something.

M: Ftaiat you met MacArthur?

A: No, I never, I never met MacArthur. I saw him in the in the CO(rt j' when I was sent

there from ab-frew Batan, you know, when Batan was surrendering the aaiChief Medical

Officer in s- 01b t sent for twenty-five doctors and ah-tr-ah ten dental surgeons.

But only three doctors got there and only one dentist. All of them who could not get over,

they could not get over. And there li.met him one day, t+m-eyLre after Batan fell, the

Japanese broke their cannons, you know, right near where a hospital was. Hospital No. 1

where I was assigned. And they werer-the--were cannonading,.y-eknow- Cthe 0 or',

and the bombs were hitting the ahl.little mountain yau-kmw and he was si.t4.-+ -t-fe

ftrwsome fresh air,- et-kQw.l..w-Ahi-es living in the tunnel and he stayed there apparently]

was not afraid of the bombing at all. I thought, they used to call him

you know,because he was, but he was very courageous far as I was concerned.

A: Very courageous and I saw him there,

M: Did you know or meet Wainwright?

\/o0, &?A

A: Yes. I met him, tffmet-tim. He was 6h';he-was-next I think to him in command.

M: Right. What, what happened next then?

A: After it was we stayed there about a monthr-OH, six weeks and finally then the

Japanese landed on the island and a+r Wainwright surrendered, you know. We stayed there

prisoners for about six weeks and were put on a boat and ah,taken to Manilarand-ah-...

M: How were you treated?.

A: And held in the Phi1+l-.ne prison, yoetr-kow. Well, we were treated ,ahlt we had our own,

yout-kaow took care of our own peoples yo*-know. Aad-aha-about--this'-t' the -on-y-thing

the food was pretty bad, y-4o-kfaw. Arid we had nothing but rice and a little bit of

vegetables that was hard, you-tMwcs looked like hollow tubes, you-know. And ah-oh,

occasionally, rarely, we would get some taste of a meat, yotF-c" w, not very much. A

you know, to keep.

M--Did"you think you'iouid 'get- back alive?

A&. hAh?

M: Did you think you would get back alive?

A: No, we did not know. You know, we as time went on, you know, being there for

about nearly three years.

M: Were you able to write home?

A: .Noty--- think,' not until, did I write home? No-t'tl'lT-it-wasr-over.

V: Through the Red Cross.

V: Just a card from the Red Cross. I am well. I am...

M: Did you believe it?

V: One. Well, we did not know what to think.

M: Right. When were you rescued?

A: I think it was about *a February the fourth.

M: What year?

A: 1944, I think it was.


/ OO 3N-

A: 1i44 or 545?

V: I think it was 1k45.

A: 45, yeah

M: So, you were a prisoner of war during the entire war?

A: Well, except for the six months t-he-.t-.as from June to the when I was captured, you know.

M: Right.

A: Bout eight months, I guess.

M: What did you do to pass time as a prisoner of war?

A: te-h.ad. sometimes we played bridge, you know. And sometimes, we were assigned to a task,

you know. Like I had to keep ,record of all the Berry-Berries and ab-malnutrition dis-

orders, you trow.


A: ATrd-afh-,otherwise we would just sit and talk. Sometimes, you-knew, talk about food mot

of the time,qyou krr..-and--fa you did not think about women or anything during that


M: -N-4-m. How, how were you rescued?

A: Well, asedae"wo,, oh, just about two or three weeks before we were rescued, we saw our

planes, you know, about oh ten thousand, thirty thousand, forty thousand feet flying

formation and a,-..and we knew that we were close. They were probably from a carrier.

And vi, so, one day, we did not see any of the Japanese and they come out saying that

^h, the Japanese had gone. So-e-nd then, that day on the about the fourth of February,

we saw them coming in. And ther one of the first men I met was a aOje boy whose father

had a jewelry in Miami. A jewelry store. I forgot his name now and dh he was a very

nice fellow and he was from Florida yetorkow and I was kind of happy to see him. The

next day, we heard that he was killed, yontrnw. Apparently, there were some some zI,

Japanese,,you-know either hidden imfrfe, in trw5t-i- some part of Manilla and he was


M: Right. The Japanese did not resist when the Americans landed? I mean, they did not

execute any of the...?

A: We did not aw any of that at all. You know, we did notsaw any of that at all.

M: Right. R4igh4f. What were your first words.to the Americans? Do you remember?

A: No, I really do not remember. We were so excited. We do not remember anything. We

were so hungry ad-&sal]-'hat ...

M: Do you remember your first meal?

A: Yeah, we*go&tv-we.gQt, in fact I got so sick, I thought I would nearly die. I had one

of those cans of pork, yt*'aiew, and Is our problem, my cholesterol must have gone to

a thousand or more because it was just a few days later, it was nine hundred you know.

Aer three hundred, the maximum, I guess of the normal limit. And then pretty soon,

we were wevre-a* sent to Link Iron Bay ,.Li.k-+rn-ray where they were all congre-

gating north of Manilla and from there we were took an airplane and were sent tZ south

Ai where MacArthur had landed, you-k-nowT I forgot the island. Then, from there we stayed

a few days and took a boat to to New Guinea, Columbia where we picked up some Zf people

who were giving in all past to go to the United States, to visit there. The war was

still going on and from there the boat would go right straight to San Francisco, you know.

It was all dark. There was no lights or anything at night. We stopped no place else from

Nw4te+bnee^a+1a--tld ,i from Hallandia, New Guinea to San Francisco we never stopped.

M: Did you get to call your wife or write her after you were rescued?

A: We.l-rrf 'Fr ea1ar-ah yes, I think we wrote after we were liberated huh?


A: I wrote after I was liberated, didn't I?

V: -cS I think so.

A: I forgot now.

V: YoG)u.rbahby-hbad-, ypu phoned when you got to...

A: San Francisco?

V: San Francisco.

M: What did you think? What were your feelings?

V: T% I think he he called up from San Francisco.

M: What were your feelings then? When you heard?


A: What was your feelings?

V: Oh, well, relieved of course, like everybody else.

M: Huh. Good. Do you harbor any bitterness today? Against the Japanese?

A: Against the Japanese? Well, in case of war, you know, it could, though I do not think,

so, I guess they would kind of mean you know. I remember they did shoot things. There

was a veteranarian that was about twenty-five and hb when we were captured in C/n_Fin

andgah I do not know what he did or something and they took him out and shot him, you


V: Awful.

A: For no reason at all. And ahWapparently there was a fellow whose name was Grovel and ahe.

a lot of the men thought, cause I did not know, I had no proof of it, that he conspired

with the Japanese, you know, to get favors.

M: -Uh-htrt-

A: Receive favors and that he was the cause of it, you-know. So, this Grovel was tried in

Utah, I think, he was from there. He had been a student in Japan, you.-kow, of the,.-L

t-nehT, 7h- T ie''=arne "f that-re i ion--The Shinto?


A4.-&h4-ito. YeaS and he spoke the Japanese language very well. Of course, he received

some favor from the Japanese and some of the boys thought that it was a traitor, you


M: Did you learn Japanese during the...?

A: No, I did not.

M: Huh; Did they ever try brainwashing?

A: Not to me, no. In fact, I was Chief of Surgery at.-h-in f f.'fti and a) one of the

Japanese soldiers developed acute appendicitis, yQ4_.auJa and they asked for the Chief

of Surgery, ysJikow, they did not want anybody else to see him and I saw him and decided

he was Japanese and so we-# made the diagnosis and decided to operate and they wanted

me, they sa$ you have to use local anesthesia. And a4- at that time,-tt the German had

afZput up in vogue the Af? local anesthesia for many surgical procedures and so I started

with a local d& ,1but when I got to the appendix, you know, it was kind of swollen and

A: ...very angry looking and of course anesthesia does not work very well, yeou-krnw. And

I said "I cannot continue with it." And "well," He said, "Will he die?" And I said,

"I do not know." yetuknow dd :so, but we got to put him to sleep. So they finally put

him to sleep and decided t I finally finishqltthe operation and and after two or three

days, they brought me a can of .s peaches. I remember that.

A: That was the only contact I had with them.

M: But you were popular man there. iv

A: (fn-) 4-It?~ot1Ptinkte- yad, I did not see anybody 1iRs e d i d the only

thi A-4-wes__ was h=at

M: Among your friends and...

A: We were sitting on the outside of the of the aperture of one of the tunnels, you know,

and I was smoking or something and they kind of hit me on the head with the flat

bayonet, you know, it is the only time. But otherwise I was not ah...

M: What kind of, what kind of medical problems did your men have?

A: Well, most of them was -ed optic we had, Berry-Berry and people yeaoau4t with

the swelling leg and Pawat malnutrition and eveterminosis and dissentary. I had

dissentary and a*taa4dl+ liver conditions from malnutrition.

M: How much did you weight when you got out?

A: Well, I-eay-, my weight when I went was 160 and I weighted about 95 pounds when I reached

-er San Francisco.

M: Jr-nfra. From 160 to 95.

A: Ninety-five.

M: Wow. Amazing, amazing story. Listen, I would like to thank you very much ai for your

time. You have been most helpful.

"WA--No-wine -r"5umeth'i ng .

bM-" 'Bevel --aqura,-

A-: -On y-TI "Fn- t er buh.


M: What was the climate of the ah-the concentration camps?

A: Well, the climate was subtropical, yot-know. I1t-h-4t i he rainy season was from a

February to April, yoeuknow. It rained, torrential rains, ou..kow. And it was hot,

yo ktnIy.aai d but not more than ninety-five or a hundred once in a while.

M: Tr5. Right. Did you find being from Tampa, it was easier to adjust? Than some of the-.

northern kids?

A: Coming back you mean?

M: No. .WelllT while you were there. Because of the...

A: It was, I would say, it could have been about latitude 20, 20 or seventeen or something

like that.

M: Right, right. iant-to completely different matter, you were talking about appendicitis.

I interviewed, you know, Joe "Blue Eyes" Valenti? Do you know him?

A: Blue Eyes.

M: Yea5, "Blue Eyes" Valenti.

A: Yeas, oh, yea.

M: Right, he was saying that his father died of k inflamed appendicitis. He said, you were

the one that...

A: His father has a gangrene of the gallbladder. He died in Miami.

M: Oh.

A: It was one of my first cases.

M: Is that right? YeaS, what was the problem there? He i-d -Mit- wa...

A: Well, he had general peritonitis that developed, you know. The gallbladder became

gangrenous,yau.b ew and I guess toximia, I thought at that time, ye- know, cause we did

not have the things we have today.

M: Could that have been prevented today?

A: Eh?

M: Could he have...

A: Well, he might, possibly.

M: Uh-huh.

A: But he was AR too far gone, I think, when we got there.


A: m(\ bjQ kuld 1- haw op0'00"

A: Nowaday, with the condition he was, I probably would have not handled it because the

percentage, you know, of deaths are way in;:the nineties, probably.

M: Right. Someone had mentioned that you .a developed some techniques for gangrene 4t or

was it penicillin?

A: You know, we had asre of trah infection with the bacillus, you know, gas

gangrene because the, the Phillipinos were fighting way up, way up in the northern part

of ah-L.b-a4 Manilla and they came in late and they developed gas gangrene. &rdour

treatment at that time was to amputate. Because you had gangrene. T#M one day, I had

a fellow who had gangrene in the chest, you know, and part of his chest. So, I knew

we could not amputate here you know, so, I did what we call ia _iotomy, where we call

all the fascia where the gas was. All the open it, make it many incisions.

M: Uh-huh.

A: And -t knowing that the bacillus for gas gangrene had tn havopcould not live ak-with

oxygen, you know, I filled the slit area, -tis, with ah iodine foam gauze to leave it open

and began to, at that time, we had aiM sulphur then.

M: Uh-huh.

A: Put that in also and I began to irrigate it with peroxide every hourly you-kow- ,end

iv)this area where I had it and the fellow got well. So, from that time on, I began to use

that treatment when I had a leg, ys-k w. If it was a leg, I would make three incisions

all the way here and one here, see, all the way. Leave it open and put--the pack it with

gauze, so it would not close on me and irrigate it with peroxide. Then, they

all of them got well after that, you know. With a few exceptions. One or two exceptions

were wepre almost gangrenous, was as greenish, bad looking as,rthe fellow

was terribly scared. I knew that he was going, not going to make it. And he did not

make it.

M: Uh-huh.

A: So, that is, that is the only thing and then put it in Time. What was the magazine?

Life? Yet, Life Magazine.

V: They say it was gun shot wounds that became gangrenous.

A: No, they put the picture of it was describing t'te in Life Magazine,

M: T--R. You do r have a copy of that article do you here?

A: You have a copy of the Life Magazine?

V: We did have until they built that house and then it disappeared.


A: Yea, it disappeared when we ...

M: You do not have many old photos of Ybor City, do you?

A: Do you have any photos of Ybor City?

M: Old photos of old Ybor City, your medical office or anything like that?

A: Do you have any photos of YBor City?

V: I do not think so.

M: Yed. )0 well.

V: I will tell you who has them.


V -tTnaYtTs name?


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