Interview with Adelaide Pesce, 1984 March 27 [audio](part 2)

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  • Coal stove in the Squirrel Run house; fetching water from the pump down the road; never needing much ice for the ice box; another child pulling her daughter's hair at St. Joseph's school one day
    Keywords: coal stove; coffee; curtains; ice box; Kennett; shed; St. Joseph's school; wallpaper; water pump
    Transcript: Johnson: Remember if you had wallpaper on the house or if...

    Pesce: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: You had wallpaper?

    Pesce: Oh yeah.

    Johnson: What color was it, do you remember anything about that?

    Pesce: I don't know, don't remember what the color was [noise on tape] bedroom - sometimes it was flowers and everything. I don't remember too good, because then we move to Kennett, and then in Kennett we have all the doors - what do you call it - pull down.

    [Daughter-in-law]: What, what did you have?

    Pesce: The thing you push down, like this.

    [Daughter-in-law]: The shades.

    Pesce: Shades, I can't talk today.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You do all right, that's all right.

    Pesce: We have all the curtains - we make the curtains for the room. Then we have at one time outside, we put it to go in, to save the air, we have the curtain to close down, then when we have the kids there, we just open and keep the air to go away.

    Johnson: Now did you feel warm when you were in Squirrel Run, did you just have that one stove downstairs?

    Pesce: No, it was too cold, awful cold, the stove you put a lot of coal, but boy it was red, you burn one side next to - to move you froze to death. Because, I got the stove right here, that's the door, and you open the door, you warm little bit, the next that you next to the stove, but all rest you froze.

    Johnson: What about upstairs, did they have a little stove in your room upstairs?

    Pesce: No, yes, had a little stove in the - what do you call it?

    [Daughter-in-law]: In the hall.

    Pesce: Yes, we have a little stove there.

    Johnson: Now would that have burned...

    Pesce: With the coal.

    Johnson: Coal - did you have a kerosene or coal oil stove?

    Pesce: No, we never kerosene, we never used kerosene, no we have the other one - wood - and coal - what you call it?

    Johnson: Coal? Or coal oil?

    Pesce: Coal - no, what do you call it?

    [Daughter-in-law]: First you put wood and then you put charcoal.

    Pesce: Yeah.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You burn charcoal in the house?

    Pesce: Carbon, yeah. We have a lot of wood, we put a lot of wood. Oh my Heavens, we can't do that, we were afraid the shirts or something, they burn, you can't do it, u-huh.

    Johnson: Did you buy the coal or did you...

    Pesce: We buy everything, everything. We can't buy the water, but the rest, we buy everything.

    Johnson: I see.

    Pesce: Everything. You can give...du Pont, I tell you the truth.

    Johnson: Now did you have to fetch all the, get all the water yourself - would you have to go out with a pail to do the washing?

    Pesce: Yeah, we have spigot, at pump, outside. We have the pump to go get it.

    Johnson: And about how far did you have to walk?

    Pesce: Oh not too far away, to right here, to the living room, not too far away. I have the house here, you open the door, this the porch, and down the road we have pump, you pump your water. Then we have the like the garage...where we have all the coal and everything, you need a bucket, you bring it home.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Each house had a barn or each house or everybody had the big house together?

    Pesce: My sister-in-law, she have like I told you, shed.

    [Daughter-in-law]: She had a pantry, like a little shed?

    Pesce: Yeah. She - to go outside, to go inside, she got step, just open the door and go in the kitchen. But then we had the pump down there, in the road, we have to pump.

    Johnson: Did it ever get frozen up in the wintertime?

    Pesce: No, not the water, no. No, never frozen. We have to pump, we have to go get it with the bucket.

    Johnson: Did you always have to get it yourself, or did you get somebody else to help you?

    Pesce: Oh we got it, sometimes my daughter get it, sometime my husband, home - my husband work all the time, but the time I go myself.

    Johnson: Most of the women go - would the other women go too?

    Pesce: Every morning go get it to the pump, down there.

    Johnson: Now was that water good to drink?

    Pesce: Sure, oh my God, sure it was good, everything was good. The water was good.

    Johnson: Did you have an ice box to keep things cold in the summer?

    Pesce: I have ice box, we have market there, we have everything. We have right in the house - then it was like a tool shed, you open the door and you put your coal, you put your water, everything. Just like to here, to go there.

    [Daughter-in-law]: But you had an ice box where you put ice in there?

    Pesce: No, we have little thing to put it on.

    [Daughter-in-law]: To put ice.

    Pesce: Yeah.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I was going to say, you didn't have electricity?

    Pesce: No, no, no, we didn't have electric.

    Johnson: But they delivered ice in that area?

    Pesce: If you want it, yeah, but we never get 'em much, the ice, we have the cold water got from the pump, we don't need ice. We never used the ice. We used the...

    [Daughter-in-law]: The water was cold all the time.

    Johnson: Could you tell me what it was like when you'd get up in the morning - who would be the first one to get up - would you get up and then wake your husband up, or would he be likely to wake up first?

    Pesce: Well, I don't remember too much.

    Johnson: Would you make coffee for him?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, I always make coffee, oh Lord, I never stay in bed, I get up and always make...

    Johnson: But you didn't have to make him lunch 'cause he'd come home for dinner, is that right? Some of the men took their lunch to work.

    Pesce: My daughter, she was coming eat the dinner all the time with me. Emma, she bring - give the money, my Anna, she was come up to eat with me.

    [Daughter-in-law]: When they were at Squirrel Run?

    Pesce: When they were at Squirrel Run, make a lunch, because they have to walk to go to school, St. Joseph. But then, it was [?], I make a threats...

    [Daughter-in-law]: She made threats on her daughter.

    Pesce: She was [Irish?], I said she gonna touch my daughter again, I pull your hair, don't leave you one top of you head. She never touch no more. That was Puerto Rican everything, the plaits done, looked so pretty - she was pull all the time, she was pulling her hair, I said, see you not scared, your arms, I'm not afraid of you, I'm gonna pull all your hair.

    Johnson: What was her name, do you know the name of that little girl?

    Pesce: No, I never remember. But after that, my Anna, she never care for the Irish, the way treated to her.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, you find that today too, with the Spanish people. We don't understand the way they speak, we don't understand the way they act.

    Pesce: She was pulling hair, see she have a ribbon, she pull - one day I'll wait for her. I said, "Listen, you see, I have a little stick. This is where you gonna get it. You gonna taste it what I'm gonna this." She never bother no more. And my daughter, she never cared for this Irish, because she was too mean to her, she never care for her. So like the [doctor's wife?] she never was a friend with her.

    Johnson: Did your children like school on the whole, did they like school - did they like St. Joseph's?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, oh yeah we never had trouble. It was my sister-in-law, she was [bringing?] him to school, was afraid to leave her, the mother by herself, when she took him back, before she reach home, that boy was home with her. Leaving the mother by herself.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I don't think he liked to go to school.

    Pesce: Oh-no he was afraid of the mother, she was so...

    [Daughter-in-law]: That was his excuse.
  • Moving to Kennett and growing mushrooms; evenings in Squirrel Run with company spent playing cards and singing; taking baths; Halloween; Christmas; New Year's; masquerade; dancing; holidays
    Keywords: bathing; Halloween, New Year's, and masquerade in Italy; Kennett; mushroom farming; play cards; singing; teeth brushing; tenor
    Transcript: Johnson: Do you remember if your children went swimming in the Brandywine? Did you let them do that - some parents did and some parents wouldn't let them go.

    Pesce: No, no, no - no, no, never. We moved to Kennett before...

    Johnson: Before they were old enough?

    Pesce: Oh yeah - Anna was about ten years old, and my, the first, she died, she was 18 months old. When they come in, I didn't have no baby, I have baby dead, I have my kid to Joe [?].

    Johnson: Yes.

    Pesce: We was all the time all right, but we didn't have no trouble.

    [Daughter-in-law]: What year did you move to Kennett, do you remember?

    Pesce: No, I don't remember no more. See, my husband, he come up here and then he gotta soft drink, he have to bring soft drink all over it, after soft drink he got beer, he used to sell it - but then we build the mushroom, and then we have no more drinking.

    Johnson: I see, he went into mushroom farming then?

    Pesce: Yeah, he build the mushroom.

    Johnson: Do you remember about going to bed at night - what time when you go to bed, would be likely to have a lamp at night - an oil lamp?

    Pesce: Oh, we never go to bed early, we was play cards, play cards and sometime we have company and would be like that, we sort of drink a little bit, sing a little bit.

    Johnson: Even on a weekday when your husband had to go to work in the morning?

    Pesce: Oh yes, we had good time, we have company all the time.

    Johnson: Would you have an oil lamp, do you remember what the lamps were like to play at night?

    Pesce: Well we have - I don't - what we have - gasoline or something like that, I don't remember no more, that I don't remember. But at Squirrel Run, I think we have gasoline, or gas, or something like that - we have light, electric light - I don't remember.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I doubt very much if they had electric.

    Pesce: Huh?

    [Daughter-in-law]: I don't think you had electric in the first years.

    Pesce: I don't think so, I don't think we had electric.

    Johnson: No, I don't think they did.

    Pesce: I don't think so.

    Johnson: Would you sit around outside when the weather was really nice, after dinner at night, or after supper?

    Pesce: No, we never - sometime we visit these people, or people come to see us or we play cards or things like that. Oh we was all the time have company, a lot of time, and drink a little bit and sing together - not me, because as I say, I make everybody run away - so scared to death. My husband and my brother-in-law, everybody like the tenor, it's a shame you can't go to the movie, thing like that you can sing, they were so good.

    Johnson: And do you remember about taking baths - did you make your children take a bath once a week?

    Pesce: Oh yes.

    Johnson: And did you have to bring the water in the kitchen and warm it up?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, we have to - like I said, I told you, we have over there, a little stove and you warm 'em up, and then you can wash, yeah.

    Johnson: And did you brush their teeth before they went to bed - brush their teeth?

    Pesce: Every one, they do all the time. The girl have to brush and they do before they go to bed, oh yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about Halloween - did you let them go out dressed up on Halloween?

    Pesce: Oh gosh yeah.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Was it Halloween or was it Mardi Gras that you dressed up?

    Pesce: Halloween I think - I think so.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Halloween - oh, I'm surprised that you celebrated Halloween.

    Pesce: I think, I'm not too sure, I tell you the truth, I don't remember - look how many years, I was 24 years old, I'm 97 now.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You're 87.

    Pesce: Eighty-seven years, and I don't remember much anymore.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well I think that might have been at the Mardi Gras time in February.

    Pesce: But a lot of the children in Squirrel Run went around on Halloween, and you know, maybe they all went, because they would get candy and dress up.

    Pesce: Yeah, down there, it was Christmas the day before, or New Year's, New Year's it was collect day.

    [Daughter-in-law]: What did you - fruit.

    Pesce: Fruit, yeah, it was sing the song - sing - I don't remember no more. And they give...

    [Daughter-in-law]: This was before New Year's?

    Pesce: New Year's, New Year's - and they sing. And I remember when they come up in Kennett to see me - what you call it - New Year's - Oh my God...

    Johnson: Now the Mummer's Parade in Philadelphia, did that have anything to do with those parades, too - the New Year's celebration?

    Pesce: No, no.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, Mom, you used to have times when you would dress up - they would have the masquerade, you know when they would wear - that was in March, early March before Lent, didn't you do that?

    Pesce: I guess so.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You don't remember that?

    Johnson: Was that in Squirrel Run, or would that have been in Italy?

    Pesce: I think was in Italy, New Year's Eve and everything and we would go - had New Year's Eve - what you call it - Christmas - because you can't eat before ten o'clock, twelve o'clock in the night.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You mean at Christmas.

    Pesce: You go church and everything, then you celebrated Christmas, or New Year's, I don't remember. You can't eat no meat or nothing before the...

    [Daughter-in-law]: The eve of Christmas.

    Pesce: Yeah - late, late at night. Then we eat, boy we eat good. Everybody, they eat, go to the - what you call it - church.

    Johnson: Where would you go, would you go home after church or would you go visiting?

    Pesce: No, I didn't go no place, I always stay home, I don't visit much to nobody. I was no go to far away or anything. Like a lot of girls, a lot of boys go together outside, u-huh, I was never going.

    [Daughter-in-law]: How about the dances that they used to do - the Tarentella.

    Pesce: Yeah, but the - I never learn, I never go, my poor sister, [?], come around. She was go dance, because I told you, she have a lot of friend, my cousin, three or four, four cousin, and then go together. Then we have - what you call it - the masquerade...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Yeah, well that was what I was trying to ask you before.

    Pesce: Yeah we was [laughs] a lot of boys was dressed as a woman, and I was dressed like a man. And then we have little bag and the pad up here, and then they have - what you call it...

    Johnson: A flower?

    Pesce: A flower - to squeeze it good - throw things in the face.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I never heard that before. I never heard her say that before.

    Pesce: We had the back, like that to squeeze it to find out what you got, if a man it's a book, and I grabbed, I grabbed thing, actually take hold - what you call it - to throw it in his face.

    [Daughter-in-law]: That - you heard that before?

    Johnson: The flower, yes - they did that in Rome.

    Pesce: We go some place and we go another road, and then when the kids - the boys - my God, there was some - we don't know who it was - and she was dance so good, she was dancing - not me, but my cousin, she was dancing so good, and she was their wife - and don't know who is the wife. And I told you the truth, we have enjoyed, we have the party every minute, but then the bread, a thing like that, it come to squeeze the thing like that, I throw it in his face. We have good time. And then, two things, now I want to told you this, too. Was a friend, who don't know dancing, another girl like me, we got first prize for bad dancing, the worst dancing, we got the first prize - we buy a lot of beers - wine to drink. We have good time. But my cousin, was a woman, she was dancing so good, and it was his wife, brother's sister. We have a good time, oh I tell you the truth, especially when we go that New Year's Eve, what you call it - we have to march - what you call it?
  • Washing and ironing clothes; her husband doing piece work for DuPont and belonging to various clubs; getting the Italian newspaper; hairstyle and jewelry; her husband keeping dogs at Squirrel Run
    Keywords: clothing; dogs; earrings; hairstyle; hats; Italian newspaper; jewelry; Kennett Club; North Italy Club; piece work; rabbit pot pie
    Transcript: [Daughter-in-law]: Do they ask about the dress that they wore?

    Johnson: Yes, can you tell me anything about the dress that you wore?

    [Daughter-in-law]: Did you wear long dresses at that time, the long dresses and the apron?

    Johnson: That is every day, you wore a long dress?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, we have covered your knees and below, yeah we have the dresses, long dresses. I told you the truth, I'm not too sure anymore what it was, don't remember.

    [Daughter-in-law]: But did you have a lot of dresses - how many dresses did you have?

    Pesce: No, not too many dresses, I have enough to...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Change.

    Pesce: Yeah, I have enough to change. And I was a washing clean.

    Johnson: And you'd have to iron them, too, I guess?

    Pesce: Well we had to iron, I put a little table and put something on the table, I iron on the table, thing like that.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Where did you heat your iron?

    Pesce: On top of the stove, the coal.

    Johnson: What did your husband wear to work, do you remember that?

    Pesce: Oh, just a pants, shirt, sweater, things like that, that's all he was wearing.

    Johnson: Yes. Did he usually wear a hat?

    Pesce: Oh yeah.

    Johnson: All the men seemed to wear hats.

    Pesce: Oh yeah, he was wearing his hat, oh yeah, all the time.

    Johnson: And did he have special shoes so that he wouldn't make a spark?

    Pesce: No, he didn't work in the powder. My brother was work in the powder. My husband, he was work, the thing to put the powder, the little piece, it was with the machine, went down - boom, boom-boom, each one. We was making more - he was getting one penny each, I mean like I told you, to come up, after he come in the place, he put his pipe in the mouth. When he go back, first he have pipe, and when he go the gate, he has to put it in his pocket, and put tobacco in his mouth. And then he never get stain off of his tooth. He have to work at this work each one, and was penny each one, he make about three dollars a day, not make much, yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about graduation at St. Joseph's, did they have a graduation - or maybe you left before they had a graduation for the children.

    Pesce: Yeah, my daughter, Anna, she graduated, I think. Or no, I don't think she graduated - I think she graduation in Kennett. I think both at Kennett. I buy white dress, beautiful, beautiful.

    Johnson: Did your husband belong to any clubs - any clubs, did your husband belong to a club?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, it was a Kennett Club, and he was belong there, he was in a lot of places.

    Johnson: Did he belong to an Italian club down at Squirrel Run - there was one that they talked about - a North Italy Club - would that...

    Pesce: Yeah, was belong that, oh yeah.

    Johnson: And would they have meetings?

    Pesce: I don't know, I think it was - I don't remember. He - everybody was there. Have a lot of party.

    Johnson: Do you know anything about the people who were in explosions - did the Company take care of those people - did they give them money or anything?

    Pesce: No, I don't know.

    Johnson: You don't know about that.

    Pesce: That time I was not able to talk, and I was not able to - I was staying in the house, I have to work and I have a family and I was not much for - then beside, I was going in the garden, pick what I wanted.

    Johnson: Did you ever buy anything from a catalog there - did they have catalogs that they sent out?

    Pesce: Down at Squirrel Run?

    Johnson: Yes.

    Pesce: I don't remember.

    Johnson: Some people talked about Sears catalogs.

    Pesce: Oh, we was buy a paper, Italian paper, was a bring to the city, we would get it, Italian paper, went to town.

    Johnson: Now, did they bring that in from Wilmington for you?

    Pesce: He bring to Wilmington, yeah, it was bring to Wilmington, my sister-in-law, Camilla, she can't wait, the news come from New York, I think, and she can't wait to read the one that was - and then one day she was crying, because the one she was gonna die, I say "Why you crying?", "Oh, that woman, she's gonna die." She die - she is alive, nearly died, she put it in the paper, wasn't actual die. Oh, God bless her, oh my sister-in-law, she was crying, she says, "That woman, she die."

    Johnson: How did you wear your own hair, do you remember how you wore your own hair in those days?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, I have long hair, I have beautiful hair, curly too, I didn't have to have it curly, it was curly all the time.

    Johnson: It looks beautiful in that picture.

    Pesce: And then when they cut it, I take all my - oh, was so disappointing my husband, he don't want me cut it, have to go Italy.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You had long hair until you went to Italy in 1937?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, I have long hair, it was - honest to God, it was curly, I never - my poor sister, she had all the curly too, natural curly. Oh, it's almost five o'clock now.

    [Daughter-in-law]: It's three-thirty.

    Pesce: Oh, three-thirty.

    Johnson: Are you getting tired - I have just a few more questions. Do you remember anything about jewelry - did the people wear wedding rings in those days?

    Pesce: Jewelry?

    [Daughter-in-law]: Did you have jewelry?

    Johnson: Jewelry - wedding rings, or earrings?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, I had wed - when my husband, marry him, make him take it off, he don't want it.

    [Daughter-in-law]: He didn't like for her to wear the earrings.

    Pesce: No, I have beautiful - my father, he buy 'em perfect for me before I come to this country, and after, he said - no you take - and I never know what happened I never said to girl, come or what, I never knew.

    [Daughter-in-law]: It's a shame you really didn't keep those things. It's wonderful.

    Pesce: I know, but I don't know [speaks Italian]. No, I told you the truth, I don't remember much anything.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Did you have necklaces, did you wear beads and...

    Pesce: I have - he don't want nothing, everything, this I got after the war.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Oh I know, but I mean when you first got married, did you have jewelry you brought from Italy, or did you buy it here?

    Pesce: No, just the white - what you call it - earrings, that's all. Well, we was not rich, we didn't have no money, but we have plenty to eat, oh you can make money.

    Johnson: What about cats or dogs, did you keep a cat or a dog in the house?

    Pesce: Oh my God, I have a Snookie, I have a little boy...

    [Daughter-in-law]: She means when you were at Squirrel Run.

    Pesce: At Squirrel Run, oh yeah, my husband have two dog.

    Johnson: Two dogs.

    Pesce: Rabbit dog.

    Johnson: Did he hunt with those dogs?

    Pesce: He was a garden and everything, catch a rabbit and everything, yeah he have - when we move here, we have a dog who is Snookie, and I have a dress, I put it on top of his head, catch at the neck and thing like that, and then we walk up and talk to my sister with this - everybody laughs so damn much to see that dog with that blanket - oh, it was funny.

    Johnson: They don't like to have clothes on [laughs] dogs don't like that.

    Pesce: They were laughing because they were so pretty. They were so happy, it was warm. But then, I was watching my husband, see my husband was go down [?], he look what he is gone. She go to turn this way, before my husband was go round, the doggie was in front of the [crate?] down there. In Kennett he didn't go after. Oh, just like a baby, we had a lot of fun with - then was killed in Kennett with the machine, he killed.

    Johnson: Did a lot of people in Squirrel Run have a dog, would most people be likely to have a dog?

    Pesce: That I don't know, Mamma had, we have two dogs. My brother-in-law, I think he have dog, too. He would go with gun, see he go after the rabbit. And this man, you killed that rabbit, and then I make a pot - my wife she made a rabbit pot pie. He kill and give - then they bring the rabbit...he was so funny [laughs], oh it was funny.
  • Never needing to lock the door in Squirrel Run; her husband's hair cut; the doctor coming when she gave birth to her first child; objects in her Squirrel Run house including coffee pot and mouse traps
    Keywords: barber shop; childbirth; coffee pot; diapers; hair cut; locks; measles; mouse trap; telephone
    Transcript: Johnson: Are you getting tired, or can I ask you a few more things?

    Pesce: What do...

    Johnson: Well, did you have locks on the doors, do you remember if you had to lock your door in Squirrel Run?

    Pesce: No.

    Johnson: No - just everybody could come in.

    Pesce: Everybody come in - go - it was, nobody to have scared to do anything. We had a lock and everything, but we never close it, we never close it, no, u-huh, we was glad to see my sister, when my sister...

    Johnson: Most people say that.

    Pesce: We go close the door, we never lock it. And then when we were going bed, never, no.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I can't believe that.

    Pesce: I told you, those people was good, like I told you, was in the Army, don't know what it was, she was there, what she was, I don't know, but she was right with the men, she was in a corner with the men, then she put up and she say, "You kiss my backside." [laughter] We had more fun. Then it was a French, the woman, talking there, she married Italian man and she was talking French, and they think it was so high class, he don't like it, he make fun when she was talking because she was talking French, he say, "Kiss his feet [?] way do, she know more than you." We end up over this way, I put a fence, and then I close all the monkey - I say, "You gonna be the last monkey - you gonna be close off." Everybody laugh so much, it's the truth, everybody go away, it was by itself in the fence close off. It was a problem, but it was funny. The wife, she was so cute, she was French, he make a funny because she was so great. I said, "You are - you don't know, you are jealous and you can't talk it."

    Johnson: Do you know where your husband got his hair out?

    Pesce: Oh, he got his hair cut short all the time.

    Johnson: Yes, did he go to a barber on the powder mill property?

    Pesce: Here?

    Johnson: No, when he was in the powder yards.

    Pesce: I don't know, I don't know.

    Johnson: You don't know where he got his hair cut?

    Pesce: No, I don't know, I don't know.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Did the relatives cut the hair, maybe sometimes someone in the family.

    Pesce: No, I think he go to the beauty parlor, what he go to the barber shop.

    Johnson: There were some powder workers who cut hair on the side, but this was before that time I guess.

    Pesce: I don't remember, I don't remember whatever, I don't remember.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Did they wear long hair, did he have his hair long?

    Pesce: No, no, no, like his hair all the time, never...

    Johnson: When you had a baby, would you have to prepare for that baby beforehand, did the doctor come when you were going to have a baby, or did neighbors come in, do you remember how that was?

    Pesce: No, I have my clothes, I have everything ready.

    [Daughter-in-law]: No, she means for the doctor.

    Pesce: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: The doctor would come - did you have a baby at home or did you have...

    Pesce: I have a pain about five o'clock in the night and my baby didn't born until two-thirty next day, so doctor he have to call another doctor, it was still up, on the second day around the neck, she never called him, he never come up.

    [Daughter-in-law]: The cord was around the baby's neck.

    Pesce: My first baby. At twelve o'clock in the night, the doctor come in, Dr. Sam, he had to call another doctor to come up right away, the thing, for to see, take it off.

    Johnson: And the baby was all right then?

    Pesce: But she died when she was eighteen months old, from the measles.

    Johnson: And did you make diapers for her, do you remember that? Did you make her diapers, or could you buy the diapers?

    Pesce: No, no, I buy, I buy - dozen all the time, I buy dozen. No, I never make 'em. Then when she was a little bigger, I have little pants, things like that, but my poor sister-in-law - my sister, she would go down, she buy the little shirt, the pants and everything for me, because she can't talk, she was unable to talk very good, and I was not able to show for my children. But then they have a neighbor, that girlfriend, she was special, she was go get everything I want, she was okay.

    Johnson: I don't - most of these things they want me to ask you about objects, and most of these things really would have been your grandmother's objects, not your objects, but do you remember anything about an ax or a gem pan or a muffin tin, or what your coffee pot was like? You remember what your coffee pot was like?

    [Daughter-in-law]: Do you remember what your coffee pot was like?

    Pesce: Oh, we have a big coffee pot - what do you call it?

    [Daughter-in-law]: Metal?

    Johnson: Enamel?

    Pesce: Metal, yeah, we make a coffee there all the time, [Italian] we have that. We have electrical thing like that, we had all electric. But coffee was make in the - we never pour in that pot - [Italian] what do you call - we have a - on top of the stove, and that was boiling right away...we have coffee maker, didn't take long.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I wonder where you got your coffee at that time?

    Johnson: Did you buy the coffee in the store.

    Pesce: Oh yeah, we buy, we would buy coffee, yeah.

    Johnson: Was it already ground by the...

    Pesce: Yeah.

    Johnson: You didn't have to grind it?

    Pesce: No.

    Johnson: They have a grinder in the Gibbons House.

    Pesce: We have a ground.

    Johnson: You did have to grind it?

    Pesce: Yeah, we have in the ground, yeah.

    [Daughter-in-law]: It smelled so good when you do it that way.

    Pesce: [Unclear comments]

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, that has nothing to do with the coffee pot, Mom-Mom.

    Johnson: And do you remember a mouse trap, did you have a mouse trap.

    [Daughter-in-law]: The mouse trap, to catch the mice.

    Pesce: Yeah, we have some.

    Johnson: You had a mouse trap?

    Pesce: Yeah, we have it.

    Johnson: What was it like, do you remember what it was like?

    Pesce: It was just like a basket, thing like that, before dead, you put a little piece of bread or put cheese, then they go inside, the thing, it close by itself.

    Johnson: And they can't get out again?

    Pesce: No, can't get out, have to stay there.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You remember that?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, we have just like a - you put some bread or cheese, everything - it's open, when he go inside, the thing, it close up.

    [Daughter-in-law]: It wouldn't kill them then?

    Pesce: No, they stay dead, they stay dead, and then they get up no more. They...thing like that, they never get up.

    Johnson: Did you have a telephone in the house?

    Pesce: No - no we didn't have no telephone.

    Johnson: And did you have a stand for a hat or a coat?

    Pesce: Well, bedroom, yeah, never downstairs. I think we had a little - to the side, end of the wall, not too many.

    Johnson: Did you have a soapstone griddle?

    Pesce: Soap?

    Johnson: Soapstone griddle - these are something like a marblestone, only it's sort of a slippery stone and you could make a pancake or something.

    Pesce: No, we didn't have - no, I don't remember that, I don't remember.
  • Occasionally eating at the restaurant next to St. Joseph's Catholic Church; her children eating in a highchair; the kitchen in winter and moving to a warmer house in Squirrel Run; drying laundry; Italians staying with them for a while in the second Squirrel Run house; not keeping objects from Squirrel Run
    Keywords: carpet; Caruso records; clothespins; coffee grinder; egg beater; grocery store; highchair; hooked rugs; ironing; kitchen table; laundry; lineoleum; player piano; restaurants; spaghetti; washboard
    Transcript: Johnson: Cherry pitter?

    Pesce: What's that?

    Johnson: A cherry pitter - it's a - it's a little thing, you put the cherry on it and it has a spring and you bounce it down like that and the pit falls out and you don't have to cut the cherry open and get your thumb all sore.

    Pesce: Oh, no, I don't think we have that.

    Johnson: No, it's a little device, they have one in the Gibbons House and sometimes men will come in and say, "Oh, I remember one of those." They went like this. [laughs].

    Pesce: I don't think so, we have a lotta things, but I never remember - because my kids, it was buying everything, and my husband too, it was one thing, if anything I want, he was get it, he was good. And special Sunday, he want to go eat outside, he say "You not gonna cook today, we gonna go eat outside."

    [Daughter-in-law]: Where would you go eat?

    Pesce: In the restaurant at Squirrel Run.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Oh, really?

    Pesce: At top of the hill, next to the Catholic Church, there was a restaurant that they run and everything, he was go eat there.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Oh, that must have been at Rising Sun - that must have been at the tavern that she's speaking about.

    Pesce: I don't know.

    Johnson: Well, if there was another place next to St. Joseph's too, it was - there's a picture of it in that book and that could have been turned into a restaurant, too.

    Pesce: Yeah, we go - oh, he say, "Sometime I order some fish, what they call crabs or something like that. So let's go to eat outside, let's go eat." Yeah.

    [Daughter-in-law]: That's wonderful. I'm learning a lot of things I hadn't heard before. Most of these things I have heard before, but there are some things I...

    Johnson: Did your child have a highchair?

    Pesce: My husband?

    Johnson: No, the child would it sit in a highchair when it was little - did you put the baby in a highchair to eat?

    Pesce: Oh yeah, oh sure, oh yeah we have a highchair.

    Johnson: Was it wood?

    Pesce: You could take, you can feed it there.

    Johnson: Yes, and it would lift up.

    Pesce: See, you put it in the chair, then you cover it - what you call it...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Tray

    Pesce: Tray, yeah.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Oh, I wish we had that.

    Pesce: I don't know what they did, what they did - to give away or what, I don't remember what happened.

    Johnson: For a while they thought they were dangerous, cause sometimes children would rock and tip them over. When my children were little, they put them in - they said put them in a lower chair, you know as soon as they got wild.

    Pesce: Well I saw some kids, it was playing with the eat, give it cheese, to give it everything like that, and they never cleaned the little thing like that, what you - and I don't like - I like to clean, keep clean, whenever feeding my kids.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Yes, but sometimes if you keep it clean, they won't eat - they like it messy.

    Johnson: They can make such a mess.

    Pesce: I put everything fresh each time.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Oh sure. Oh, you mean after they would finish eating.

    Pesce: Yeah, oh I always keep it clean.

    Johnson: Did you have an egg beater? An egg beater.

    Pesce: I think so, I have egg beater, yes.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You remember beautifully, Mom-mom, I don't know how you remember it all.

    Johnson: Do you remember what your table was like - did you have a kitchen table, table in the kitchen?

    Pesce: The kitchen table - we have a kitchen table, yeah we have a - I tell you right now, it was - the stove it was warm, but the place, it was cold, when you sit down, you have to do fast to eat because the kitchen was frozen.

    Johnson: Was there any place else you could eat?

    Pesce: We have just the little kitchen to eat. Like I told you, back we have the room like that, what I put my water, was table to put - what you call it - you washed and everything - they were there, you froze to death. We have a table in the kitchen - when we have - we never close the door. I got the table there, the door is open right there, all the air, it come there, you froze to death.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Oh, that's what I wanted to ask - what did you have on the floor?

    Pesce: Carpet.

    [Daughter-in-law]: There was a carpet on the floor?

    Pesce: Yeah, just a carpet, yeah. See she make the blinds, she make all the stamp and everything. They put all the carpet...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Hooked rugs, probably.

    Pesce: Yeah, rug, rug.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Her husband's first wife apparently had hooked rugs for the floor.

    Johnson: Yes. It's too bad you don't still have those.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I know, I know - when you have these things, you want to get rid of them, and now people would love to have them.

    Pesce: Yeah, I make take away, that rug, and they put...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Lineoleum?

    Pesce: Lineoleum, but that was worse, was worse cold. I was happy when they move away, cross the bridge, river on this side, and then it was nice, it was warm and it was not so cold. It was nice, it was high.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You lived in two places?

    Pesce: Yes.

    Johnson: Oh, you moved across the bridge on the higher side.

    Pesce: Yeah.

    Johnson: And that was warm?

    Pesce: Yeah, this side, this side. Yeah, you know where there was a restaurant, the office - there's a restaurant, a grocery store, they were selling coffee, anything you want...

    Johnson: Yes.

    Pesce: Well, I was moving the other side, little far away, and it was nice, nice place.

    Johnson: M-huh - now how many rooms did that have?

    Pesce: I think it was two bedrooms, two bedrooms I think, nice big kitchen, oh, beautiful living room, yeah, was beautiful. Then I have all the [friend?], go down, told you it come from Italy, there I stay too long, and then we move in Kennett, we move right here, Squirrel Run, but down there we just - so help me, so nice and warm, the best, it was nice and warm, and the bed, it was nice.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Why was it warmer there?

    Pesce: Because the kitchen, everything was closed.

    [Daughter-in-law]: The house was warm.

    Pesce: Yeah. [tape is switched]

    Pesce: About six or seven months, because my husband, he come up in Kennett to bring the soda drink.

    Johnson: So you didn't really live there very long, in the nice, warm house?

    Pesce: No, see my husband he come Kennett to bring the soda drink...He come home Saturday night and Sunday, then he was go back again. [?], but then we were in Kennett.

    Johnson: Do you remember what your ironing board was like, did you have a wooden ironing board?

    Pesce: Well, I don't think we had ironing board, we put something on the table, then we ironed there.

    Johnson: Yes, you said that, I'm sorry, yes. How about clothespins, did you hang the things outside with clothespins?

    Pesce: Yeah, we had some - I'm pretty sure we had clothespin, to have the clothes, to put...

    Johnson: Outside - and in the wintertime, would you dry the things in the kitchen?

    Pesce: Little room, out back, in the room off the kitchen, we have little room - and then we go upstairs, we have room - we have nobody, we put all the clothes in the...the nail.

    [Daughter-in-law]: In the hallway.

    Pesce: It was warm, few minutes it would be dry, yeah.

    Johnson: Now, when you lived at the second house, you said people lived with you - were they boarders? Did they pay to live there?

    Pesce: I don't know, I don't know.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You don't remember?

    Pesce: No.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Were they people you knew - they were people from Italy that had come from Italy?

    Pesce: Came over...

    [Daughter-in-law]: The boarders - the boarders that you had...

    Pesce: Oh yeah, come from Italy, yeah, yeah. Why they didn't pay much, no, didn't have no money.

    Johnson: You just had them, you were being...

    Pesce: We have good heart. Then the Mother, she called, she don't know, they never write - then they moved to my sister. And they write, they don't know what it was, I told you the truth, was here for a while, because they write, they give my address, but then they move away, I say they work somebody else place, and was come with my sister. Then I give their telephone number, the address, not telephone number. I don't think they have no telephone down there.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I was gonna say, I don't think they had a telephone.

    Pesce: I don't think they have no telephone down there, but I gave the address - I talk to her, to call the Mother to leave a number, they never...

    Johnson: Did you have a washboard?

    Pesce: Yeah, we have it.

    Johnson: Did you starch the clothes?

    Pesce: No, I never starch, never, we don't know to - nobody would starch it, nobody.

    Johnson: And I guess husbands wouldn't like it if they were working, they wouldn't want to have something scratchy.

    Pesce: I don't know, see the one they want the starch, I think they was sent to the laundry. But we don't have much to put starch in everything, I don't have no time.

    Johnson: Did you have a wringer, to wring out the clothes?

    Pesce: See my husband, he buy the last time, in we go in Kennett I think, don't have down there, no, I don't have any.

    Johnson: And I didn't ask about a coffee grinder, did you have a coffee grinder?

    Pesce: Down there?

    Johnson: A grinder, when you ground the coffee, did you have...

    Pesce: I don't know, I'm not sure, I think we have it, because - I'm pretty sure, because one I have the thing in Kennett, here, I have it.

    Johnson: They have one in the Gibbons House, it just attaches on to the - they have it onto the dry sink there, and you just...

    Pesce: Yeah, we have it, they ever get throw away, when we go Italy, she everything, everything, the make a the spaghetti, just new, she throw them away, everything the machine, like you say, ground the coffee, you got the coffee, she collect everything.

    Johnson: Museums would give anything to have those things.

    Pesce: She had so many records, from Italy, Ca - what do you call it...

    [Daughter-in-law]: The records - Caruso records.

    Pesce: Yeah, the records - Caruso and everybody - she travel with everything, we come from Italy, was collect. They were thrown - everything, everything.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Where would you put things like that - at that time they did try to do away with things.

    Johnson: My grandmother was the same way, and my mother was, too.

    Pesce: Ava [unclear]. I don't know, but Ava, she was travel everything.

    Johnson: Did you say you had something to make the spaghetti, too?

    Pesce: Friend of mine, he make the guitar, she travel with the guitar too.

    [Daughter-in-law]: It was - explain to her what it is, Mom. That it had strings on it.

    Pesce: Yeah, you make the spaghetti, you make the dough, and you make the [?], and then you put it, you put the thing, it was cut all spaghetti, yeah. That was making with the knife, before you know it, it was done. But then I have machine, can make the spaghetti.

    Johnson: That's faster.

    Pesce: Yeah - we had one.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I never saw the other kind you speak about, I never saw that.

    Pesce: Well, this is the guitar [unclear]. He make a the guitar and everything, it was so beautiful. He make a spaghetti, then you put it there, stromboli, everything - everything, when we come up from Italy, there's nothing left, all the records - Caruso and everything, she throw away.

    [Daughter-in-law]: We also had a piano - player piano - it was a very valuable piano, with all the - what was it - the rolls that they had, which was sold because...

    Pesce: What a - tell you the truth, like I told you, the machine to ground the coffee, it was so nice, you put it up in the top, you put your coffee, you grind the bean...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Smelled so good.
  • Concluding remarks with Mrs. Pesce's daughter-in-law
    Keywords:
    Transcript: Pesce: Yes. There is more I could ask, but maybe I stayed long enough - it's been two hours now, I don't want to get you too tired. Maybe you'd let me come back again? If you're not too tired, some other day. Thank you very much...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, I never thought you would be able to sit here that long - that's good, Mamma, you did very well.

    Pesce: Today my head, my eyes bother me so much - I tried my best.

    [Daughter-in-law]: She had a little sinus cold I believe, and that's what's bothering her.

    Pesce: When the sun gets in my eyes.

    Johnson: Yes, it's mattering a little - thank you so much for talking to me, I enjoyed it so much.

    Pesce: I enjoy, too.

    Johnson: Just leave this here while I get my coat and I have a paper that you have to sign.

    Pesce: Yes, all right.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You keep some of these, Mom.

    Pesce: I don't want to eat, I eat one.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, I was going to give her a couple, and then I'll leave you the rest.

    Johnson: This paper is - let's see - you have to put your name on here, and then this gives the Museum the right to use your - it says...

    [Daughter-in-law]: May I read this?

    Johnson: Yes. [pause]

    [Daughter-in-law]: May I keep this and mail it back to you?

    Johnson: Yes, I have two copies, would you like to...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, as a matter of fact, I'm sure my husband would want to see this before she signs it. Yes, so we'll keep it and we'll mail it back to you. Would you like a few of these, Dorothy?

    Johnson: Well, I would, very much, but just a couple. My husband is on a diet, so...

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, if you're allowed, you're very good - have those.

    Johnson: Thank you very much.

    [Daughter-in-law]: No - tell him I said that, I'm sure he'll probably want to taste them. If he's like my husband, he's always looking...

    Johnson: This is my map of Italy - I brought it along in case I didn't know where your town was.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Now we will - my husband will look at that, and decide as to whether he wants that signed, and we'll mail it to you, or I can drop it off at the office to you.

    Johnson: Fine.

    [Daughter-in-law]: That's very nice that you leave those things with us. Was this yours?

    Johnson: Yes [inaudible].

    [Daughter-in-law]: Do you do this all the time?

    Johnson: I've done three of the interviews so far - it's really interesting, I meet the nicest people.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Are your parents of - what nationality are your parents - would they be German?

    Johnson: Yes, my parents were German.

    [Daughter-in-law]: That's wonderful.

    Johnson: My grandparents were born in Germany.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Were they born in Germany?

    Johnson: Yes. They had a language problem, too.

    [Daughter-in-law]: We've met Austrian people, and they're just absolutely beautiful people. Our daughter lived in Austria for a while and she became very fond of a very elderly lady whom she's seen again since then, and she was just absolutely wonderful to speak to about the Austrian culture and she was in music and I think it was her mother was treated by Freud for cancer. She remembers Freud being in her home, and Doris just loves that sort of thing, she always has. But it's interesting to go back to the different countries.

    Johnson: Yes, I didn't know Freud treated for cancer, I thought he was just...

    [Daughter-in-law]: I didn't either. Well, I'm sure at one time he was treating her, probably, with hypnosis or something with her illness that she had had. But we now and then get recordings from her. She keeps Dolores in touch with her, of course her well being. She evidently isn't very well right now, she's suffering very much from arthritis, but I think it's been a long time since she's heard from her. Our daughter went back last year and visited her, and she no longer sees, she's very crippled.

    Johnson: How old is she?

    [Daughter-in-law]: I think she's probably about ninety-one right now, and she lives alone. She has a wonderful nurse that takes care of her - comes in and cares for her when she isn't working. But she has no one, she was married and never had children, so it was really a sad - she had a brother and she talks about so much. She loved him so much, but she's an absolutely wonderful woman. When we visited there we had our younger son come with us and every recording she makes, she always asks about Joe, she remembers him - could see...

    Pesce: [inaudible].

    [Daughter-in-law]: Yes, I did, Mamma. They used your table. I'll put it back.

    Pesce: It's okay.

    Johnson: These recordings are really great - you hear some unusual things.

    [Daughter-in-law]: We have one other recording. But it's our younger son, Joe, that was at the museum and apparently spoke to someone there about Mother being, you know, part of that. He was very excited this morning when I spoke to him before he went to work and I said, "Mom-Mom's having someone come speak to her." And he called her, he told her right away. We hadn't told her yet.

    Johnson: Well, it's just so great to have people who remember what things were like because they have no way of restoring those things.

    [Daughter-in-law]: When I spoke with Mary, I said, "Well, maybe I can..." She said, "We don't want it from you, we want it from her."

    Johnson: Yes.

    [Daughter-in-law]: When I spoke to the Mary DeAngelo, I told her, I said, "Well, maybe I can tell you some things, and her daughter also." And she said, "No, I would rather have your mother speak to us."

    Johnson: Well, thank you so much for talking to me, I...

    Pesce: You're welcome, I have enjoyed it too. But today I'm miserable, my eyes, everything funny.

    [Daughter-in-law]: She does very well though. We keep a watch on her.

    Johnson: Thanks a lot.

    Pesce: You're welcome.

    [Daughter-in-law]: And we'll get back to you with this.

    Johnson: You can send that right to Mary Joe, too, if you want to.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Beg your pardon.

    Johnson: You can send that right to Mary Joe at the museum.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Is her name Mary Joe?

    Johnson: Mary Joe DeAngelo, yes.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Is she married?

    Johnson: I don't think so.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I thought she was miss, she said miss, I wasn't sure. I was wondering if I knew her, you know.

    Johnson: I really don't know her that well yet. She's really very enthusiastic about the program - she's a scream. Thank you so much.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You're welcome. Did you know how to get out of Kennett?

    Johnson: Yes.

    [Daughter-in-law]: I don't think you'll - as a matter of fact, I think if you'd get up here at the top of Sipple Street, make a left-hand turn, go past the cemetery, and make a right, you will find it much easier to get out, cause they're all one-way streets.

    Johnson: Oh - yes, I noticed on the way in.

    [Daughter-in-law]: So if you go back on Sipple Street, which is the large street you came down on - go down this hill, make a left, go at the very end of that street, that will be Union Street, make a left turn, you go out as far as the cemetery and you come to the cemetery you immediately turn right and that will take you back out on Route 1.

    Johnson: Thank you very much.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You won't have any trouble.

    Johnson: Yes, and thanks again for your directions and all your questions were so helpful, you helped me a great deal.

    [Daughter-in-law]: You're welcome. Well, Mother understands, but sometimes she doesn't hear as well as she should.

    Johnson: Yes. And asking about her dress, I was so grateful to you, cause that's a subject we should have asked.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Well, you know, we take these things for granted. Of course my parents were Italian, are Italian, they are no longer living, but I was born in Mississippi and my parents migrated from Italy to Canada and traveled down on the Illinois Central from Winnipeg down as far into the Delta country as they could travel - so our backgrounds are very similar. Course that was at South. And my sister has written a really wonderful thing for our family. And the children don't appreciate it now, but they will some day.

    Johnson: They will some day - our children wouldn't either, and I didn't, certainly, you know, I often wish I had asked people questions then because, you know our grandparents have died.

    [Daughter-in-law]: Of course - and many of the things she wrote in the book, I never knew about until I read the book. Course I've been here longer than I was there - I've been here for 37-38 years. And I was born in the South and lived there for about 19 years, so it's just been - I love old things and our children love that, especially the one daughter that I have. She loves, she loves talking and, of course, learning more about all different...

    Johnson: And the museums now have made it so interesting, because they are learning more all the time and when we go through the...

    [Daughter-in-law]: It is - it certainly isn't anything you couldn't find out about if you just want to do it.

    Johnson: Yes, you appreciate old things. Well, thank you very much for everything.