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 Salvatore and Aunt Filippa Simonetti
(We called her Aunt Filomena)

 

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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Now Playing: "Sisters"

by Irving Berlin 

From "White Christmas"

Sung by Rosemary Clooney

 

Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,
I'm there to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home
All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain and sun
Two different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one
Those who've seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can
Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister
And lord help the sister, who comes between me and my man

 

 

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