Tony Caruso

Mr. Caruso on his boyhood heroes and related issues

Mr. Caruso on FDR

Born in 1919, Antonio Caruso, a forthright, wise, and humorous man, was only ten years old while living in Newton Massachusetts when the Great Depression began.  Out of the many struggling families that lived around Newton, Mr. Caruso’s family was considered to be extremely fortunate due to the weekly income that his father made from keeping his job throughout the depression.  Mr. Caruso provides a different perspective of the Depression through the eyes of a fortunate child surrounded by people losing their jobs and houses.  He explains an ordinary day, where he would eat cake and play games with his friends, while passing by Hoovervilles of homeless people who had no money at all; experiencing two entirely different ways of life during the Depression years,

This is Kristin Hehir and Brendan Place, and we are interviewing Mr. Antonio Caruso on May 18, 2008 for the Wayland High School History Project.

Q: Please state your name.

Mr. Caruso: Ok, as I said my name is Antonio Caruso.

Q: How old were you in 1929?

Mr. Caruso: I’m eighty-nine years old now and I was born in 1919, so I was 10 years old in 1929. That was a long time ago.

Q: Where did you live during the Depression years?

Mr. Caruso: I lived in Newton Center, Mass.

Q: What were your parents’ names and what did they do for work when you were small?

Mr. Caruso: My parent’s names were Antonio and Onarina Caruso, and my father was a caretaker for an estate. He worked for many years at this one estate. He worked there during the Depression, all during the Depression.

Q: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

Mr. Caruso: I had one brother, no sisters, and my brother was six years older then I was.

Q: How was your mother’s role as homemaker impacted by the Depression, if at all?

Mr. Caruso: My mother was a homemaker, she never worked. She was a stay at home Mom, and of course she was always home and did all the cooking and washing and in those days you didn’t have washing machines. You didn’t have like electric stoves, or gas stoves. You used to have a wood stove. You used to cook everything but wood. All the meals were always made at home. I mean it was very, there wasn’t the kind of food that we have now. You can go to the store and there’s prepared foods. Everything had to be prepared, right from scratch. She made cakes and pies all by hand. It’s funny that she’d make a cake and there would just be four of us, my father, my mother and whenever we had a dessert it was cut in four pieces. It was just that. There was dessert every night. Always like I said a good home cooked meal.

Q: During the Depression do you think your life had changed or do you think it was the same as it always has been?

Mr. Caruso: Like I said we were fortunate.  My father had a job and he worked every day all the time so that we were not as bad off as some of the other people in the neighborhood. A lot of other people lost their jobs, and they were very poor.  A lot of them were immigrants who had just come over from Europe, and of course it was hard for them. They would have to go to the town center and they would get food stamps and they would go down, I don’t know how much they’d go down. But they would come back with a couple bags of food, and a lot of times they did not like the food, so you could see them trading it with people, so that they could get what they want.

Q: What did you eat as a child? Did you eat any pre-made foods or was it all home made? (Spam, breakfast cereals ex’s)  Did you grow and can goods back then?

Mr. Caruso: Yeah I didn’t eat the spam until I was in the Army. That’s when I had spam. Like I was saying a lot of the food was from our garden. My father had a huge garden and one side of the garden was all potatoes, mostly all potatoes. He had enough potatoes so that he had built under the house what they call a cold cellar, where you would store the potatoes, and the cabbage, and the celery, so that you could eat them all the way through the wintertime. But he used to grow all his tomatoes and my mother used to can a lot. She used to can tomatoes and of course Italians like sauce so she’d can maybe 100 or more jars of tomatoes and pickled beats and a lot of things, a lot of the fruit. We could eat almost all winter long. It was all home grown food. Then we had chickens, rabbits, and of course I had my pets like guinea pigs, pigeons, I used to like pigeons, and my job was to keep them fed and cleaned. I used to have chores to do this was the same as in the wintertime. The stove we had was not like the stoves we have now; we used to have a coal furnace. I used to get the coal from the coal bin and bring it next to the furnace to make sure it was stocked up.

Q: When you went down to the store, what kinds of things did you want to buy and how much did it cost?

Mr. Caruso: You asked when we were sent down to the store. Like for breakfast, the cereal that was very popular in those days was corn flakes, rice crispy’s, and of course Wheaties; the breakfast of champions and oatmeal, and the oatmeal wasn’t like the instant oatmeal you have now you would have to cook it in a pan in a pot and of course then you ate a lot of eggs in those days. And of course we had chickens so there were plenty of eggs. When you go to the store to buy a load of bread it was 11 or 12 cents for a loaf of bread and now it costs $4.00 a loaf of bread right now you can see the difference. Like you would buy a pound of Hamburg for .39 cents.  Butter was like 39 cents. Now we had Oleo and of course in those days when you had to make the Oleo you had to mix it with some kind of pill they put in there.  It wasn’t the Oleo you have now, that came later on.

Q: What is Oleo?

Mr. Caruso: Margarine. Oh I am sorry we always called it Oleo. Margarine, Margarine.  Don’t forget I am getting old and so. But now you go to the store you buy things and it’s all by the pound.  In those days it used to be so many Oranges for so much you know, and now everything is by the pound.  I worked in a store, it wasn’t my first job.  But the other thing I used to like was going down to the store. My mother used to send me to the store to the corner and it used to be a store in the community. There were First Nationals and what they used to call First National stores and A & P’s.  But where we lived the closest store was the corner store and you would go down there and you would have a tab, a running tab. My mother would send me down to get something at the store and she said you can get something.  I always liked to get Whoopee Pies and the Whoopee Pies they had then they were really big and they were only a nickel. So you would go down there and run down there and we would go down and get it. Then there the end my mother would go down like on a Saturday and go shopping and I would get my thing. And the other thing I don’t know if you had ever been told, but in those days they did not have these calculators, and cash registers. Everything you used to do, like I said after I started to work a little and you used to go to buy stuff and you used to have these paper bags like you have now, and as you go down you write down like 1.17, 2.00, or 39 cents, and then you just make a line through it and add it together.  See now of course you got calculators and cash registers and things like that.

Q: Where did you grow up?

Mr. Caruso: Newton Center, which is near Chestnut hill.  I lived right near Chestnut Hill, which is, I don’t know if you know where it is; it’s down towards Brookline.

Q: Did your family own a car?

Mr. Caruso: My father bought my brother a car in 1935.  A 1935 Ford, and after my brother got married he gave me the car and he got another car.  I had that until 1940. I bought a car and I paid 675 dollars for a brand new car with radio, in those days you used to have colors and seat covers and what do you call it, a fan for the windshield because you did not have the defrosters.  It really was 675 for the car, and I kept that till I came back from the service. But we had the car, a 1935 car.

Q: How would you compare the typical clothing then to today?

Mr. Caruso: The clothing of course. Nowadays there is a great difference in the clothing. You never went to school with dungarees; well we used to call them overalls. We went with a shirt that was always pressed and ironed and your clothes were neat. And the teachers used to get after you if they weren’t clean. They were particular on how you were dressed, and how you cleaned yourself. We used to have when I was going to elementary school, every May first, they used to have a May Day and it was a health day and you would get badges for being this and that. It was a lot different. The clothing was different, the material was a lot, it was a lot different then the clothing we have now. Now you just put it on and it looks wrinkled and you wouldn’t have to iron it. So I mean you had to go to school as if, and especially when you would go to church you were very well dressed too. The material, the cloth was different.

Q: Was it like Wool or just cotton?

Mr. Caruso: It was mostly cotton, and wool. During the Depression it was pretty difficult at times. A lot of people had a hard time with having nice clean clothes and things like that. But I came from a neighborhood that was a bunch of immigrants that were mostly Irish, Italian, and German. It was very close-knit. If I did something wrong my neighbor or whoever it was would tell my mother and father. And the other things is, I’m not saying that all of the children now is they are not as respectful, especially the older people. They don’t, you know we were able to talk to the older people like you talk with people. Nowadays you say “hi” to somebody and they won’t even answer you. When I was growing up a lot of the people we had around I used to have to call uncle or aunt because that’s the way we’re growing up. Nowadays the children don’t respect the elderly as much as they should. Like I say it was very close, very close, so close that we at times when you would go out, you could come and your neighbor next door their door was always open, and there would be a dish, and food on the table they would just leave it there, and everybody new each other.

Q: Like a big Family?

Mr. Caruso: There were a lot of big families. Like five and six people

Q: What are your earliest memories of the hard times of the 1930’s?

Mr. Caruso: The earliest I can remember of hard times like I said was when we would see a lot people out of work. You would see a lot of homeless people and they weren’t like the homeless people are now. The homeless people were just homeless. Nowadays you have homeless people that should be in some sort of a home where they could be taken care of because they do not know how to take care of themselves. When I was growing up they had a place up in Westborough, where they had a lot of people that were a little mental, where they were kept off the street because they didn’t now how to handle or take care of themselves. You used to see a lot of hobos along the railroad tracks. They used to travel a lot and they were good people they were just homeless and they didn’t have any work so they would just ride the rails. I had one of my relatives that rode the rails all over the country. He came back home and got a job and went to work. It’s a shame that a lot of the children now are not very respectful. We couldn’t get into any trouble. Like I say if we try to get into trouble. I skipped school one day and went to the movies in town by the time I got home some one had seen me and reported it to my mother. But I mean that’s the way it was. They keep an eye on you.

Q: How did you spend most of your time as a kid in this era?  What did you do for fun? What games did you play?

Mr. Caruso: For fun, that’s another thing, you see we did not have television; we didn’t have computers at that time. It was just in its infancy; the television had just come out. I didn’t have a television until I think I came home from the service. But we used to listen to the radio. You sit in a room and just sit there and listen. I used to listen to Jack Armstrong the all American boy, and Buck Rodgers and the twentieth century, Skippy. Then when they started the televisions, it was Captain Bob. But we used to make our own [fun]. Now we lived in those days; there was woods all around us. The other thing I didn’t say was when we were growing up my mother she had to cook with wood. We would be in the woods a lot of times, and whenever you would come home you would always take home a couple of branches. Then we would cut them up and chop them and get them ready for your mother to use for cooking. But we used to have places in the woods there, we called it Cat’s Pond, Death Pond, and we used to go there and play with a raft, or just hike around it and play. All the communities around in those days had a play ground, and when you would get out of school you would go down to the playground, and you would play at the playground. In the summer time they would have programs, where they would have a couple of counselors, but all the kids were there they had arts and crafts; you would have all kinds of games. A lot of times we would amuse ourselves amongst ourselves we would go from one house to another, and we would go and play like monopoly and other games like that and the mothers would always have cupcakes or cookies or something you know. But we would go from one house to another house. It was all around. We were always occupied that way. See nowadays children don’t stay out. They get in on the computers, and work on the computers, see it was different we used to have to make our own fun. We used to play Tarzan and things like that swinging through the trees. You know you had to manufacture it. When I say kicking the can, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that. Ducking the rock, Buck Buck, how many fingers you got up, Runchie Prun, Relievo. We used to play those and sometimes it would go on all night. We had to make our own fun. My first job, I used to work for the baker. In those days they used to deliver bread to homes. I’d work and I’d probably get about 50 cents a week or something like that.

Q: What were the movies like? Radio shows?

Mr. Caruso: You could go to the movies for ten cents if you went early. You used to see first, they used to have the news, the real news. Then they would have a cartoon. Then you would have an A movie, or what you would call an A movie. Then you would have a B movie, which mostly were a western, and most were western stories, and of course they weren’t like the type of movies you would have now, they were very clean movies. You never saw a woman in the bed with a man; there would be the twin bed or something like that. They you would walk to the movies so that you could save that nickel or something that you would use for the bus because the busses used to be only a nickel in those days, so you could get an ice cream. The same way you would go to school, I’d walk for miles. I’d take the bus in the morning but in the afternoon, I would save that one ticket, and I’d sell that ticket to somebody else so that I could get an ice cream on the way coming home. But you would walk ya know. We used to have a lot of fun, like during the summer time, once a year they would take you down to either revere for the day, or Nantasket. The grocer down there would have a truck, and he would pile a bunch of kids into the truck and drive us to the beach.

Q: Did you ever go to the circus or to carnivals?

Mr. Caruso: They used to have carnivals once in a while. About once a year there would be carnivals that would come around to the different areas of the town, and you would go there, and just see it.

Q: What kind of music did you enjoy?

Mr. Caruso: I liked the big band music. The big bands of the area that were there like Arty Shore, and Benny Goodman, I don’t know if you have ever heard of them, and Woody Herman, and Van Monroe. He used to live right here, as a matter of fact he used to play; you know where the synagogue is in Wayland, on route 20. Von Monroe that used to be the Meadows, not the Meadows, the Meadows was in, that’s where Von Monroe played too, it was in Framingham where Bennigans is now. But that was Syler’s Ten Acres, and he played there. As a matter of fact, I had a friend of mine, this was in the mid 30’s he had a band, a fourteen piece band, Larry Cooper and His Men of Rhythm something like that. You know where Lavin’s is now, that used to be Dora’s Havana Inn. They used to play there too. It was a nightclub and it used to be a nickel. There used to be a Mansion Inn over here on the corner of West Plain, and Rt. 126. That’s the type of music I liked and when I had my car I used to sit out there and listen to all the big bands from all over. But there was a lot of different music, and we used to go to the movies. Like I say if you went early, like on a Sunday and it would cost you like 25 cents or something like that. Like I say you would always get two movies, and other things.

Q: What were your favorite sports?  Do you remember the sports that you liked?

Mr. Caruso: Oh yes, the Red Sox.  I liked the Red Sox but I used to follow the Braves.  They were here at that time.  One of my baseball heroes was Babe Ruth.  I happen to go to a couple of times and I got see him.  Every time he used to play there were so many people that they used to line the outfield so they could put more people in.  So you could be really in close and see Babe Ruth and of course Joe De Maggio and all of those people like that.  But that’s going back a long ways.  The Braves had what they called a Knot Hole Gang and you used to go to the bleachers and pay $0.20 for the game and what was nice in those days was that you could go right down to the lockers and sit or stand outside of the lockers and the players would come out and you could get their autographs.  And my other sports that I liked was hockey.  At that time basketball wasn’t as popular and of course soccer, well we used to play that in school and it was just like now.  It’s a sport that’s not as popular.  But all around the world because I was in the Army and I used to go to some of those games, especially in Italy and they’d play but then there used to be a lot of fighting after the games because different towns would be getting together.  It was very, very popular.  That’s what they called football.  Those were the 2 sports that I liked.  I used to like hockey, I really did.  It was one of my favorite sports but then hockey has changed a lot.  Like now it is a lot different than it used to be.  In the old days it used to be more precise playing, more passing, not fighting.

Q: Did you have any heroes?

Mr. Caruso: Well I think that when I was growing up, Lindbergh did something that no one else ever did.  He was the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  That’s another thing.  When we were growing up in that era, airplanes were not like they are now, a dime a dozen.  I mean when a plane used to go out, you’d go running out to see.  In fact when I was going to high school, they let us out to see the Hindenburg, the airship.  They let us out just to see it as it was going by.  Now, you people take that for granted.  You take the radio for granted, I mean the television.  We didn’t have that so that is why it was so different.  You had to do so many different things to enjoy yourself.  And people in those days used to get together more often.  So like on a Sunday, you’d have your family get together.  I know that your family is like that.  They get together a lot.  And children used to live at home even though they were older.  Nowadays, around 19 or 20 years old they go out on their own.  Well there was Bird, who discovered the South Pole.  Do you know about that?  He was a hero, as a matter of fact when he went to one of those, when they came up Rt. 9 with a big, big graters with the big wheels, well they were going to use that to travel on the ice.  And it came up to Framingham where the police station is now.  There used to be an airport there, a little airport and they brought it there. And I remember coming up on Sunday to see it.

Q: On an average day, what did you do?

Mr. Caruso: Well I had chores to do.  I used to have to help my mother.  And we used to be out most of the time playing.  You used to get up and go to school, and you walked to school when I was in elementary and junior high.  You’d then walk home and do your homework and then you’d go out and everyone would be waiting and they’d have their gloves on.  We were always occupied.  In those days the parents never had to worry about us.  We could be gone all day and they wouldn’t be worried about us because there were no problems.  Like what we used to do, when I was telling you about going to the store and getting things.  Well a lot of times, I’d go down and they knew I would get cookies or bananas or things like that and then my cousins would go down and buy something and then we’d all go out in the woods and we’d have a feast.  But our parents knew that we would do that.  But we were always occupied.  Like I was saying about community life, everyone knew everybody, and everybody helped each other out.

Q: What was school like?

Mr. Caruso: School, well you couldn’t get away with what you get away with now.  I mean they were strict.  They still used the yardstick or the pointer and they’d whack you with it.  And if you went home and told your mother and father, they’d say what did you do wrong?  They never blamed the teacher.  You must have done something wrong.  They were stricter.  Elementary school was a lot of fun.  We used to have a lot of fun.  And I went to Newton High School; it used to be Newton North.  That was the only high school they had then.  And I used to walk to school, and in the wintertime of course you’d try to take the bus. School was good, I liked it.

Q: What were your daily chores?

Mr. Caruso: Well like I say, we had the animals; the chickens, and ducks, and rabbits and stuff.  I had to make sure that they were fed.  I’d have to do that before I could go out to play.  And I had to get wood and fill up the box.  I helped my mother around the house, cleaning and stuff because I didn’t have a sister so I was expected to help.  My mother wasn’t very well anyways so I used to help.  And I’m glad because I learned how to cook and I learned how to do a lot of things.

Q: Do you recall your first job that you had for pay?  What was it like?  What did you do with the money you made?

Mr. Caruso: My first job, I used to go around for the baker.  And I used to get $0.25 a day or if I worked the whole week, I’d get $0.50 a day and I’d give the money to my mother and if I wanted to go to the movies, she would just give me the money, or if I wanted to go to a ball game, she would dole it out to me.  And my first job, this was in the late ‘30s when I graduated from school, I became a machinist.  And almost the first year, you have to work 48 hours per week.  In other words you used to have to work on Saturdays also.  Your pay was something like $0.33 per hour or something like that.  But as I say with all of that you make $13 or $14 a week.  But there were a lot of little farms around and the younger fellas they’d work on a farm like picking beans or something like that or working the farm.  There were a lot more gardens and stuff and it wasn’t like it is now were we are dependent on going to the store.

Q: Were members of your family affected by the Great Depression?  How?

Mr. Caruso: My family wasn’t affected much by the Depression because my father was one of the fortunate ones.  People used to always say, “Gee you’re lucky that you have a job”.  So during the Depression, he always had a weekly pay.  A lot of the poor people in those days lost their jobs and like I’d say a lot of them were immigrants and they used to do a lot of construction work and then the construction work stopped so I mean there was a lot of unemployed.

Q: Was your faith strong as a young person?

Mr. Caruso: Yes, yes it was.  It was strong.  I used to go to church every Sunday and you used to have to go to your CCD classes right after church so you would just stay for those.  Now you go during the week.

Q: How do you recall Franklin D. Roosevelt?

Mr. Caruso: I remember Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of the things that you remember mostly about Franklin D. Roosevelt was he used to have these radio “Fireside Chats” he called them.  You used to sit there and listen to him.  I though he was a great president with all the programs that he had like the CCCs which was a conservation camps and you’d work on the woods and things like that.  And WPA, I know that they made a couple of playgrounds in Newton when I was there.  They used to work at Cold Springs and a couple of places like that and that was how they were able to survive by working on these programs.  He gave people a job.  I knew a lot of people who wanted to work but they just could find work.  And they were hungry too.

Q: Do you remember the first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt?  What was she like?

Mr. Caruso: And I remember Eleanor Roosevelt.  She was a very intelligent woman and she was around for quite a while after he died.  She was always involved in good things and she was a very good person.

Q: Do you remember ever seeing a Hooverville?

Mr. Caruso: Well, what you call homeless people?  Well they would be around the railroads.  You used to see them but they were just people who didn’t have homes.  They didn’t have any money so they couldn’t go live in a flat or anything like that ‘cause they didn’t have any money.  You’d always see them with a little fire going cooking mostly stews and stuff like that.

Q: Did your parents think FDR’s New Deal was a good program?

Mr. Caruso: My parent’s thought the New Deal was a good deal.  He was a very good president.  For me he was, I thought he was.  He was a president 3 times.

Q: Do you know anyone that was part of the New Deal programs?

Mr. Caruso: I can’t remember.  I think I had only 1 cousin that was in the CCCs and that was pretty good for the fellows in those days because they would get out and have a job to go to.  I remember the construction jobs of the period.  I remember the Golden Gate being built and the Empire State building, my uncle worked on it.  He used to tell me about working way up on the high story floors and stuff like that.  Hoover Dam I went over the Hoover Dam in 1949, I think it was.  I remember that.

Q: One famous event of the late 1930’s was the New York 1939 World’s Fair, which was titled “the world of tomorrow”.  How do you remember this famous fair if at all?

Mr. Caruso: And I was telling my wife today, that I know that I went to the New York World’s Fair because I had 2 uncles that lived in New York, but I don’t remember it that well.  I know that I went, but I don’t remember and I went to a couple of other World’s Fairs.

Q: While the country was in the Depression do you recall learning about Hitler’s rise in Germany or the Japanese military advances in Asia?

Mr. Caruso: Yes, about Hitler and the Japanese.  I remember reading about him going into Poland and down in Austria and places like that and invading into the Baltic countries up above there.  And then of course I served in the service.  I went into the service on May 21st, 1942.  I was 22 years old.  I went from Fort Devens to Miami Beach for training.  And then from there up to Fort Dix and then went overseas and landed in Scotland.  I was in the aviation engineers and we used to build airports.  We came from Scotland and then sent just outside of London and built a big airport there which is still being used now, when Heathrow is full they use that one.  From there we went to North Africa, I was in Algiers and from there we went to the invasion of Italy and I spent 18 months in Italy.  And from Italy, I went to Corsaca and then came back to Italy and then went to the invasion of France, Southern France.  Come back from France to Italy and then come up the Po River until the end of the war.  And I was fortunate because I got to see my grandmother and I would never have met my grandparents.  And my grandfather died just in May and I was there on 4th of July, 1944.  And that was a good experience.  I didn’t mind being in the service because we got to build a lot of airports.  We were always around airplanes and you would see about 300 or 400 planes in the air at one time.  We used to have a group here and a group there and fields and it was really good.

Q: Do you think we are still affected by the Great Depression?

Mr. Caruso: I don’t think we’re still affected by the Great Depression but the way things are going now is not good.  You see what’s happening is that the way that I look at it is that the middle class are the people that really work to make this country the way that it was, and it is being depleted.  They are losing jobs, some of the people are getting richer and you can see it with the gasoline prices.  It is hurting the economy a lot.  And it is hurting people, the small people.

Q: Did you volunteer for the Army?

Mr. Caruso: No, I was drafted but in those days you wanted to go because there was a reason to go.  Right now the war is not the same type of war.  It was different in those days.

Q: As you see it, how are kids different today than in your childhood era?

Mr. Caruso: Well the kids, I already said that.  It’s a shame; I think a lot of parents don’t take an interest.  In those days, a lot of the women didn’t work.  They were home and they watched their children and what they did and what they didn’t do.  Now, like I say, the computer is a great thing but there are also a lot of bad things about it.  And if the parents don’t watch it, then the kids can get in trouble.  But like I say, they are not as, oh I don’t know, if you saw an old lady on the corner, you’d help her out but now a-days, you could be laying on the floor dying and they go right by you.  And if you say anything to someone, they look at you like you’re a whack-o.  But it’s different now but you can’t blame the children.  Because their parents are not taking the interest, like your parents are watching what you do but a lot of them are just thinking about themselves, not their children.  They’ll go out and leave them alone.  Children who are not of age to be left alone.  It’s a different world, a whole different world.

Q: Do you think there are any similarities between kids these days?

Mr. Caruso: I think the children are smarter now, much smarter now.  When children are growing up, and you have television, they have Sesame Street so they can learn to read.  All we had was our parents.  Like my parents were born in Italy.  I had to learn going to school.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t speak very well until I got in school because it was just a few years after my parents had come from Europe.  You get a good start here, which is why there are smarter.  They are smarter but they just don’t, they are not as cordial to people.  Some are very disrespectful to their parents.  We couldn’t get away with that.  But I don’t say that all of them are like that, but I say that the majority of them are like that.  That is tough for children today.  I worry about my grandchildren here Michael and Antonia because it’s going to be tough.  The way things are going; it is going to be tough unless something changes drastically.  When I was growing up it was hard to start your life but so long as you go and have an education – education is the main thing now.  And it is too bad that a lot of them can’t get it because it is so expensive.  Some parents just can’t afford it and the economy is really bad and we owe a lot of money all over the world.  I’m just hoping that it changes a little.  It’s difficult.  I don’t believe it was like this; politics are such that one won’t give into the other.  They don’t compromise as much as they used to, it’s more political and it is a shame.

Q: Do you think that there are any lessons from the Great Depression?

Mr. Caruso: I think it made people conscious of how they used their money.  In those days you’d worry if you had enough money at the end of the week to pay your bills or to get food.  You’d read about these food banks that would run out of food and you can understand because people don’t have the money and they have to go to the food banks.

Q: Do you remember the Hurricane of ’38?

Mr. Caruso: Oh yes.  I was walking home from school and I was wondering what was going on.  As I was walking home from school, the trees were falling down and I was saying “What’s going on”, ‘cause in those days they didn’t have the systems to warn you ahead of time.  And even now, out in the Midwest, even when they warn you, sometimes you just can’t get out.  Oh yes, I remember that.  We had to cut up a lot of trees.  You didn’t hear too much about hurricanes.  That was the first one that I remember hearing about, in 1938.  And as I say, I was just walking home and then all of sudden you see trees falling and the wind was blowing and you’re saying “What is going on?”  Then you come home and you read about it or you hear about it on the radio.  Everything was radio in those days.  It’s funny when you talk about it now, but we used to sit in front of it and you’d be sitting there and laughing away at the sitcoms, well that is what we call them now.  Fiber Magee and Molly was one and there was the Bob Hope show and Amos and Andy on Saturday and you’d; have the news.  But you would just sit in front of it and my mother would be there knitting and my father would be there reading and listening.

Mr. Caruso: I hope I’ve been a little helpful anyway.  I don’t know ‘cause it takes time to recollect, as you get old.

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