My Autobiography by Michael Normandy, Sr.
The kitchen was our world! We had the original "eat-in kitchen." It was also our den, our entertainment center, our laundry room,, and in many cases, our bath room. I mentioned that 184 Maujer had a separate bathroom and bathtub. Most tenement "flats" were not so equipped. Saturday night bath took place in a washtub near the stove, with a sheet hung on a clothesline providing all the privacy necessary. The smaller children were washed in the sink or in a laundry tub alongside of the sink.
It must have been a very hard life for women to wash, cook, rear children, and do all the daily chores that are so automated today. Through it all, Mom kept us happy, respectful, dressed decently, and well fed. I donít remember being hungry.
Living at 184 was the beginning of my contact with the rest of the world. Most of Momís family lived across the street from 184 in a six-family tenement building.
I remember Uncle Sal Simonettiís candy store/grocery store/soda fountain, (and a clandestine game room in a room behind the store for the card players, numbers bookies, and other entrepreneurs), which occupied the right side ground level of this building. The other side was an empty store that may have been rented as a fruit and vegetable store. I only remember it as a storage place for the baby carriages and bicycles belonging to the tenants in the building.
Uncle Sal was the only boy in the family and had five sisters! This is the only picture of all five sisters that I know of.
The Five Simonetti Sisters
Standing: Sue Gallo, Margaret DePrisco, Ida Normandy
Seated: Jennie Devine, Barbara DeGenova
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