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Family history in New York  
  From: Catherine
State : NY
Received: 05/24/99

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My father came over from Italy in the early 1900s. He met my mother here in Brooklyn. He was eighteen and she was fifteen when they married. Over the years they lived in different areas of Brooklyn.

Both worked selling fruits and vegetables on pushcarts from dawn to dusk. Fruit SellerThey made friends with the Irish police force in their neighborhood for protection. My father would go door to door with the produce, while my mother stood by the horse and pushcart. We were cared for by Miss Emma, an African-American woman who lived with us.

This tradition of selling staples started with my grandparents who owned a grocery store on Gold Street in downtown Brooklyn. Even I used to sell shopping bags on Myrtle Avenue for three cents each.

Our world changed when my father suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 44 in the Canarsie Market, while buying fruit and vegetables for the work day. My mother was left with two married daughters and three young daughters still in school.

My fondest memories of that time were of my father's cooking and his singing. I can still hear him singing his fruit selection of the day: "STRAW-ber-reeees!" "Ba-naaaa-nas!"


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