Come May 1932 we moved to another house located at 7249 Drolet street. The owner of the house was Mr. Orazio Zenga and his family. This began the fun years. The Zenga family consisted of many children and they were all happy and joyful people. The house again was on the second floor with four rooms, two rooms on each side of a central corridor. The rear room on the left side was a very large kitchen. The two rooms on the right hand side were used as bed rooms and one room on the left side was also used as a bed room. When we moved in the house did not have a bath and this was a prerequisite especially because of dad's work. So a wall located between the bedroom on the left side and the toilet was moved to enlarge the bath room thereby providing a toilet, wash basin, and bathtub and leaving enough room to include even the washing machine. This room also had a skylight to make it brighter. In the back there was a gallery for the full width of the house, a shed to store wood and coal and a very long yard followed by a paved lane as a separation from the houses on the next street. At the far end of the yard there were vines but the vines never produced grapes. It would start by having small grapes in the spring and they never grew to full size. Some Syrian people who lived close-by would come over and ask us permission to pick the young tender leaves. We asked what they did with the leaves and after some explanation we understood that they would stuff them as we did with cabbage leaves. So mom prepared the same thing and we found them quite good. Later on we found out that this was also done by Greeks and other people from the middle east.
The date is May 9, 1995, I haven't touched this project for quite a while as you can see, but its time I tried to do something to advance this project and not forget too many events, as long as my memory holds out.
The house while quite small with only four rooms for five children and two parents was very comfortable. Because of the large kitchen with a large family table we could all sit around at meal time and there was always something to talk about. Talking about our school work and the new things we had learned especially about both French and English languages. We would say the words to see if the others had learned them as yet. During the summer mother would do a lot of tomato preserves. The tomatoes were placed in bottles, I used to do the capping, and then the bottles were boiled for twenty minutes as a means of preserving. The Jean Talon market was not too far away and the tomatoes were cheap at either five or ten cents for a twenty-pound box. She would prepare about two-hundred bottles and they would last us all winter. With tomatoes she would also make tomato paste. The tomatoes had to be peeled and boiled to remove the water until a heavy concentration was left. Then it was placed in pans to a depth of about one inch and I placed them on the roof of the rear shed, by using a ladder, and it was left to dry in the sun until the desired consistency was reached. Just as they did it in sunny Napoli.
Mom would also make cheese. We had a farmer who brought us milk in five gallon cans with covers. One such can was enough to fill the boiler she used. Yeast was introduced in the milk to start coagulation under low heat conditions and after a while the coagulation would reach a thickness of about four to five inches. This would be picked up and placed in round forms about five inches in diameter and two inches high. The forms were made from basket staves tied by a string into a circular shape. The cheese was let to dry itself for about three months and then it was ready for grating or eating. The residue water from this process was re coagulated again to make ricotta. After that there was nothing left in the water and it was thrown out. Anything we could produce ourselves we would make as there was not much money to buy things.
We also had another farmer from Ile Bizard, a Mr. Martin who would bring us vegetables every Saturday morning. He had an old Model T Ford truck that was hold even at that time, but he kept it running in top condition and he came regularly. His main product was eggs which he claimed he had picked up himself very early in the morning. We believed him because on many occasions we visited his large farm about half the size of the island. Near his house was large a mound of earth about one hundred feet high. In the summer boy scouts would come around to place poles with banners on top of the mound.
Getting back to our landlord Mr. Zenga he was good natured but also a little queer maybe because of an accident at work, at Angus shops. Though still working his mind was not completely there. For instance in the summer on very hot days he would water the bricks at the front of the house. He would tell mother to shut all the front windows and door but he would not tell his wife (Giacondina). In so doing by the time he stopped his front rooms had water everywhere, the beds dripping, the walls and the furniture were by now all wet. This happened more than once even though his wife would yell at him all the time.
Another habit he had was that on new year's eve he would come to our house with a flute he had probably made himself from a piece of cane or bamboo with holes in it along the top and he was able to play some tunes with this contraption. He was following the tradition we had in Italy where the shepherds from the nearby mountains would come into town with their bagpipes and sing and dance in the center of town, have a few drinks with the town folks to the merriment of everyone. Orazio would ring the door bell start playing even before we opened the door and come in, play some of tunes he knew especially La Donna E Mobile using his own words and everyone joining him in the singing. Some times some other members of his family would also come along and all in all it was a merry good time. He would do the same to other people who lived nearby. That was his way of wishing us a happy new year.
Sometimes he liked to go and have a few bottles of beer with some friends in the evening especially on Saturday nights. One Saturday that had been raining all day he went out and came back feeling in very good spirits and his wife who was already in bed started scolding him very severely. He said to her "Look if you don't want to sleep with me we will get separate beds" and he walked out of the room. He went in the back yard and took a piece of lumber all wet and dripping went in the bed room, threw the piece of lumber in the middle of the bed and said "You sleep that side and I'll sleep this side." His wife Giacondina had diabetes and would come up daily for an insulin injection administered by mom. His children were always playing some kind of a game on each other, maybe my sisters will be able to add more anecdotes involving the Zenga family.
While still at this house on Drolet Street, I was in School at Notre Dame de la Defense Litio was also there. Demetria was in school at the same parish the school name was Santa Juliana Falconieri. Elsie started school while still at this house. Anna soon went into the work force, because financial assistance was needed. Dad was not working full time nor very often. At the time the mayor of Montreal Camillien Houde instituted a program called "Secour Direct", direct help, which consisted of giving families where the parents were not working a subsistence allowance of about ten dollars a week, more or less, depending on the family size, when the parents were not working. When dad eventually got back to working, he went to get his last cheque and reported that he had started working. The clerk told him that his would be his last cheque and dad said that he did not want it because he had started to work. The clerk was surprised and said to him "It is still yours but if you really don't want it just sign it on the back." Dad endorsed it and the clerk put it in is pocket.
At this house Litio wanted to quit school in the sixth grade, and he did not want to go back for the seventh. He wanted to find some work but work was not readily available. One day dad said I will take him to work for one week so he will know what work is like. So he said to him "You want to come down to the docks where I work so you can see what work his like." And he answered "Sure I will go with you." So on a Monday morning he was set to go. Mom prepared a lunch for him with five sandwiches and they went to work very early in the morning as dad used to do. Dad had arranged with someone to let Litio do some light work but likewise not clean. His job consisted checking for gas formation in the coal yard, with another man who told him what to do. When the coal was removed from the ships it was dumped in a large coal yard and the height of the pile would reach twenty or thirty feet. What happens with coal is that methane gas is generated within the pile because of the heat that develops in the center of the pile. This has to be checked otherwise spontaneous combustion his created and fire will develop easily. What they had to do is to go on top of the piles and drive a heavy steel pipes about two inches in diameter to reach the center of the pile and then lower in a thermometer and read the internal temperature of the pile. The pipes were in pieces that would screw into each other. So all day long they had to carry the pipes, drive them in with sledge hammers, take the temperatures and report them to the office who would take the proper precautions needed to vent the piles. The first day dad went to the lunch room and found Litio eating a regular meal, not his lunch that he had brought with him. Dad said, what about the lunch you took with you, and replied he that at ten o'clock in the morning he was so hungry that he ate it. He lasted the whole week but Dad told him that was enough, he wanted to see what working was like with the hard labor, the dirty conditions and the effort that it took to keep a job. Litio wanted to go back but dad would not let him, he had not brought his children to Canada to do this kind of work. In September Litio returned to school to complete his seventh grade.
Many of the immigrants landed in exterior jobs because they were not trained to do any specialized nor had knowledge of a trade, and if they had they did not know the language to even apply for skilled work. At that time our parents always said that we had to find jobs that were in interior of buildings and not on the exterior such as digging to build roads or foundations, but some work that would lead to a trade.
There was a man on our street who was a boss in a factory that made ladies shoes. This man's name was Mr. D'Amico and mother approached him to ask him to engage Litio in his shop, to do anything, just start him in a trade that at least involved inside work. Mr. D'Amico said he would, but not right away, as soon as an opening became available he would give him work, but the starting salary would be seven dollars a week, he could not pay more than that. Mother agreed that this was satisfactory, at least he would start to learn a trade. Within a few weeks Mr. D'Amico notified us that Litio could go to work, gave him the address talked to him about the work he would do, that is general stuff wherever he was needed and reminded him again that the salary would be seven dollars a week. To this Litio agreed and said that the important thing to him was to start doing something to earn a little money for the family and to start learning a trade. The name of the factory was La Gioconda, just like the famous Da Vinci painting. At the end of the first week after doing many different jobs he was called to the office to receive his pay. He was presented with a cheque he was asked to endorse and after doing so he was given seven dollars. He never saw the amount on the face on the cheque. This went on for a few months. After a while the boss called him and gave him the complete cheque and told him that from then on this was the way he would be paid. The amount was more, I don't know how much, and Litio thanked him first for giving him a job and for all he had done for him. At that time it was very common to use this practice to got a job because there were very few jobs available and you had no choice in the conditions of work. Mr. D'Amico was good to us in other ways, he would give us a gallon of wine at Christmas and on other occasions. He remained a family friend while we lived there. Litio worked there until the beginning of the war.
During the summer months Anna would go with other ladies to work at canning factory where they would prepare vegetables for canning. The place was just south of Cremazie street and they would walk to and from work. The place was called Habitant and the trade name is still used to day for good quality canned products. At an early age Anna managed to get a job in a men's clothing factory, It was a steady job with a weekly pay based on piece work, that is the more pieces you produced the more pay you received. The fact that she worked helped the family immensely because for many years her salary was the biggest part of the family income until the economic recovery a short time before the start of the war in 1939.
Elsie also had started school while we were at that house. Elsie was a lively little child, she started walking at nine months, earlier than any other one us. She was always full of life while playing outside with dolls or a baby carriage. Toys were rare but somehow they lasted a long time. She was very friendly with anyone that came home or any one who spoke to her even strangers she saw for the first time, she would sit on their lap and talk to them. She was a happy young child and that is still her character today.
To back track a little, Elsie had her own way to prepare for school. One evening as we sat around the table to do our home work and we were using ink from an inkwell. There were no ball-point pens in those days, at one point we found ourselves with no ink in the inkwell. We looked on the table and it had not been spilled but the inkwell was dry. After some bewilderment and unsuccessful search as to what happened to the ink one of us noticed that Elsie had blue lips. That was the answer Elsie drank the ink from the inkwell without anyone noticing the event. Our parents were concerned as to whether ink was toxic or not. We had no phone to inquire so dad went to the drugstore, Pharmacie Lafrance in front of the Ste Cecile church and told Mr. Lafrance what had happened and his apprehension if this was dangerous. Mr. Lafrance assured him the ink was not toxic but only mildly acetic and suggested only to drink one or two glasses of milk. When Elsie went to school she already had blue ink in her veins, so she is never lost for words.
During the summer because our house was not to far from the Italian church the processions for many of the saints that were being honored often passed in our street and this offered dad the opportunity to invite friends and their families to come over and spend the day with us and see the procession. One memorable person was Mr. Amato Merola his wife and daughter. I mention him because he was a happy person and always made mother laugh with his many anecdotes. They would come for lunch time to see the procession and would stay on way passed the evening dinner. He spoke very little French but his wife who was French-Canadian had learned to speak Italian in the dialect that was common to us. Their Sunday visits were well appreciated by the whole family. The atmosphere was always very good. At that time the people were all poor because of lack of work but there was the greatest harmony within the entire district. People were always ready to help each other. There was no shame if somebody needed help if you heard that help was required people went out of their way to give whatever assistance they could.
As children we would play in the streets or the back lanes. There was no traffic, automobiles were scarce. Playing baseball in the street was a common thing, or riding a scooter homemade from a two by four, and an orange crate, The wheels had to come from one roller skate using one half for the front wheels and the other half for the rear wheels. There was little crime and policemen had a regular run and you would see them every day passing your street with children all around them to exchange a greeting. As in A Tale of Two Cities "It was the best of times (good harmony) and it was the worst of times (poor living conditions)", but nobody lacked the necessities of life.
During the winter months we also played mostly in the streets. When snow started falling the sidewalks were cleaned by snow plows pulled by horses and the snow was piled on the curb of the sidewalk. In the middle of the streets snow was cleared by plows attached to the front of trucks. This snow was also piled on the curbs so that the snow banks would reach heights of five and six feet. The children would play on the snow banks by sliding down with sleighs, or tunneling through the snowbanks or playing King of the Mountain as to who could stay on top the longest while the others would pull or push him off the highest spot. When the sidewalks or streets were icy the city would spread sand, abrasives, coal clinkers or salt to prevent people from slipping. With the icy conditions the children would put on their skates and skate where ever there was a patch of ice or play hockey. Frozen horse droppings made the best pucks or we would improvise with a piece of coal or a chunk of ice. There were many skating rinks usually in school yards or parks. The large rinks were at the Shamrock and Jarry parks. Shamrock is the place were the Jean Talon market is now located and I shall explain later what Shamrock used to be. There were rinks for public skating and rinks for hockey games. The snow was never carted away, except some main streets, and we waited for the spring to melt it away.
Christmas time was a jolly good time. The horses pulling carts were covered with artificial flowers and many bells on their harnesses. The ging-a-ling was a beautiful sound. Around that time of the year all stores gave calendars with beautiful reproductions of outdoor scenes, or famous paintings, or saints, or lightly clad females. These were put on all walls of the house as otherwise the walls were bare. Decorated trees were used both inside and outside and were lit every evening as it got dark. On Christmas eve we would go to midnight mass and the churches were filled to capacity and many parishioners had to stand at the rear or the sides during the entire mass. Litio and I were in the church choir and would sing at the midnight mass as well as the Christmas day masses. A return to these activities and mental attitudes would be wonderful to-day.
Another family moved near to us on the same street. The Bramucci family moved in at 7235 Drolet. I knew the young boy Mario because we were in the same class at school and also we used to sing in the church choir. They were a family of eleven children. The father, Vasto, was a painter by trade but more than that he was also an artist painter. Among other things he assisted Mr. Nincheri in painting the interior ceilings of our church. At that time many people liked to have a scene painted on one or more walls in their homes. This was one of Mr. Bramucci's specialties. To earn enough for his big family he had to revert to painting interior of houses, convents, or other big buildings. He was well known in his trade and never lacked work. He would hire other painters when the projects were big enough. His oldest son Guido was an understudy who learned much in artistic painting from his father. Vasto developed stomach cancer and eventually died in April 1937. Another large family left without income and harder times set in for them. the older children had to leave school and go to work, but the family stayed together. There will be more to say about this family later.
In September 1936 I decided to change school. I was 14 then, and the decision came completely of my own volition. What I observed around me was that people with some knowledge of English were able to find work whereas the French only speakers were all out of work. Even my dad who spoke very little English and no French at all managed to converse with strangers and still managed to work enough to support our family. After graduation at the present school all the students were going to Le Plateau normal school to become teachers. The choice appeared to be very limited for further education. The fact that the Italian school was a bilingual school at that time had given me enough knowledge of the English language to be acceptable in an English school. My marks at school were always very good, if not first every month it was never more than third or fourth. As a student I was better than average. The other things that maybe influenced me was probably listening to English radio, that we had bought a year before, going to the movies which were always in English, reading comic books also in English, and whatever magazines that came my way also in English. I told my parents that I wanted to change school and they agreed not knowing if for better or worse. They said they did not know how to help and it would be up to me to try to gain entrance. I knew the location of Thomas D'Arcy McGee High School on Pine Avenue because we could see the building whenever we went for a walk on the mountain and to me it seemed that it would be an accomplishment just to get-in in a place so nicely located. So, as we approached September I went to the school which was run by the Christian Brothers and spoke to the first brother I saw and asked him that I wanted to apply for admission. I was told that the school was full but to go back the first day of school with my report card and if there was place I might be accepted. So on the first day of school maybe the third or fourth of September, I managed to talk to the principal, Brother Pius, and again he said he could not give me and answer yet because the classes were no yet set to know if there were vacancies, and to return to-morrow for a final answer. It looked as though the school was full and there were also other applicants waiting for an answer but he would do the best he could. I returned home and told mother that I had no yet been accepted but I not been fully refused either. She asked how did the school start in the morning. I said we all go in the hall down stairs and the boys would line up for the classes that were assigned such as second, third or fourth grade who would proceed to their classes. The remaining boys were all first year an those who had been assigned classes would also line up and the unassigned would wait to be told if they were accepted. Well she said, if the others line up in classes try lining-up with one of the groups and see what happens. The next morning I went to school and when it came to the last group to form ranks I joined them and we walked up to one of the classrooms I sat down at one of the desks and there were three or four boys standing at the back because there were no desks left. The teacher, also a Brother, took out his list and started making a roll-call and when he had finished he asked if there were any who had not been called. I put up my hand, I was the only one that was not on his list. He did not know what to do but just then the principal came into the class, saying "So is this class complete?" and looking around he saw the students standing up at the back "Oh, he said , there is not enough space, we will have to look at the other classes." and he asked the teacher if there was anyone that was not listed. He said yes and pointed to me and called me by name Aurelio Verdone. I stood up and Brother Pius said "I didn't tell I would take you, it depended if we had space, there are some standing in the back I won't be able to take you." So I sat down and he kept on talking about the school, the way things go on in the school to familiarize everyone with the activities. I stayed there all the time and he turned around and saw me still sitting there. He looked at me and said "You are still here?" I got up and said "Yes Brother " and then he asked "Why do you want to come to this school" and I replied "Because I want to learn English, I was in a French school up to now, and now I want to learn English". He returned to the instructions he was giving before, then looked at me and said "Well if you want it that badly we will keep you." I WAS IN.
The first semester (three months) was difficult for me I had not had enough English grammar. Literature and composition were the most difficult because my English vocabulary was limited but as time went on this improved enough to keep up with the others. Other subjects such as mathematics, history, geography, physics presented no problem, and in fact I was better than the average because these subjects had been taken in English. This helped me for the overall average. The report card for the first semester that we received around Christmas time placed me at the tail end group. When showed to mom and dad their were shocked to see such a low rank which they were not used to. I explained that everything there was all new to me and while I was doing evening study regularly I still had comprehension problems. They commented that maybe it was not a good idea to change school and I could still go back to the previous school. My reply was "NO" I wanted stay in this school because I felt secure enough that my grading would improve as time went on. And so it happened that at the end of the second semester I had improved and ranked at about the mid point. At the end of the year I was in the top ten. My ranks from then on were always very high and by the time I graduated in May 1940, I was at the top of the class.
Let's go back for a while to our neighbors the Bramucci family. When I changed school in l936 Mario did the same but he went to the Luke Calahan School in the St Michael Parish (also English) located on St Viateur street near St. Laurent. In going to school I would take the St Laurent street car number 55 as far as Pine Avenue and then walk westward up to the school, or I would transfer at the corner of Bernard street and transfer to a number 29 street car which went by way of Park Avenue and made my walk to the school much shorter. One morning in early April 1937 I transferred at Bernard and while waiting for the 29 I saw Mario going by and asked him if he was going to school and he said he was going to St. Joseph's Oratory to see Brother Andre. I asked why, and he replied "You know my father is sick and he will die very soon unless Brother Andre and God can help him. If he dies I will have to go to work and I won't be able to go to school any more." Before the month was over Mr. Vasto Bramucci died and school was over for Mario who was to be 15 years old in May 14, 1937, and with his sisters Maria (17) and Yolanda (14) they had to find work to support the family. The family remained united until the time came and one by one they were married.
During the summer the church had a Tombola on an open field at the corner of St. Laurent and Jean Talon streets. A Tombola consisted of stalls containing bingo games. games of chance and many other attractions to generate some funds to pay for the church mortgage or other needs. On Saturday night usually a band would provide music and attract more people. It was a common activity for people to meet and chat and make new acquaintances.
One warm Saturday night a young man properly dressed, as we always did on Saturday nights and Sundays saw a young maiden, in a group with other ladies, that really attracted him, but he could not just walk up and speak to her without being introduced. He asked his friends who the young lady was and he eventually found her name. The young man did not know what to do to meet her and expressed his wishes to his parents. The parents knew her family because in Italy they lived in neighboring towns.
So one afternoon his mother went to the girls home and spoke to her mother saying that her son had seen her daughter and he would very much like to meet her with all the decorum and proper attitude and accepted practices of the time. The girls mother said that she would talk to her husband and her daughter and would let her know in the next few days if all were in agreement with her inquiry. The mother, father and daughter met and reached agreement that this young man could come to court the daughter and a date was set for the encounter of all concerned.
SO, on a certain Saturday night Mrs. Aquilina, Mister Antonio Albanese and their eldest son Salvino came to the house of Maria and Roberto Verdone a and their eligible daughter Anna for formal introduction. This started the courtship of Anna and Salvino. Salvino was a tall young man six feet tall, about one-hundred-and-seventy pounds. He had a handsome face, typically Roman-Italian. dressed impeccably well and shoes highly shined. A practice he followed all his life was to have his shoes shined in a Shoe-Shine Shop every Saturday morning. He had a steady job, something rare at the time, he was a champion bowler and he loved music by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.
This story will continue at the appropriate time.
It was at this house that Litio turned 18, on the 8 of March 1936, and this is the first time that we had a party in the house. Inviting his friends and Anna's friends of more or less the same age living in the neighborhood. It was a very festive occasion and having the same date of birth I turned 14 on the same day. Two cakes were baked. A bigger one for Litio and a smaller one for me. The radio we had bought recently supplied good dancing music and many friends brought gifts. When it turned out that it was also my birthday I was the recipient of many dimes from the boys and many hugs from the young ladies.
(The radio was a Deforest-Crosley five tube superetherodyne, for long and short wave reception with a ten-inch speaker and a magic eye to indicate the proper setting for station frequency and a vernier knob for more accurate short wave selection.)
In the evenings we used to take a walk around the block, mom dad and all the children who wanted to follow the whole family together. We would meet other families doing the same thing and we would stop for a short chat. Litio and I sang in the church choir and we had evening practices. There were two quires one for the adults for Litio and one for the adolescents for me. Some of the friendships made at that time have lasted all the way to our present senior age. In my age group I had five or six friends that lived in the immediate neighborhood, such as Richard Parent (when his father died and was put in a college at Terrebonne, he ran away and returned home on the second day.), Mario, with whom I would walk to school in the morning and after school in the afternoon as well as go to choir practice together, De Grandmaisons (who lived across the street on the third floor, it seemed to me his name suited the location of his house, Pti-can ( his actual name was Etienne, I don't remember the family name) and many more that don't come to mind.) In the evenings in summer the big attraction was the front of the grocery store right across the street from our house. Mr. Lafond, the grocery store owner, had six checker boards and the men in the area would come and play checkers, and about a dozen more men would stand around, smoke their smelly pipes, and watch the games with some comments made only after the games were over.
I mentioned before home made scooters. Somehow I got one roller skate. For a while I would skate on one foot and push with the other. Then I decided to make a scooter. I took a two by four about three foot long, put one half of the skate at one end and the other half at the other end. I nailed a three-quarter by four inch wooden board at the front end and nailed two braces on the sides of the front board and the foot board. It work very well. I would run up and down in the street between Decastelneau and Jean Talon, back and forth. It felt as though the street was all mine.
One day I was on Jean Talon street with dad and as we walked a funeral procession went by. As was the custom of the day the hearse was always followed by people walking behind for a few blocks. People on the sidewalks would stop, men would remove their hats, and start walking again after the cortege had passed. So dad stopped removed his hat and waited until the hearse and cortege went by and then we resumed walking. I looked up to dad and said to him "Dad, they are black." Somehow I had never noticed before that there were black people, maybe because I had never seen so many together. Dad looked at me and said "God also created them and they also deserve a prayer." I guess these are the small things that eventually shape your character.
Dad was a person who liked to read any time he got a chance. Italian books or papers were not readily available. On Sundays when he went to church he we would buy Il Progresso a paper printed in New York but brought by train and always available on Sunday morning. He would also buy a Marca Gallo cigar, that was a cigar about eight inches long fat at the center and smaller at the tips. He would cut it in the center and would last him two weeks. The cigar was very tightly wound and looked like a piece of wooden stick dark in colour. He would light up his cigar take his paper and sit at the kitchen table after the noon day meal and he would read all he could in that afternoon and if anything was not read he would continue the rest of the week. The thing he read the most was the Bible, he must have read it a dozen times proving that it was a timeless book which you referred to for comprehension all your life and eventually found a satisfactory answer, maybe. His Bible was the Italian version by Giovanni Diodati (the Catholic version) printed in l927. I still have it in my book collection. Both he and mom would read it from end to end and go back for particular chapter and verse. Another of his favorite book was an Italian dictionary which contained word definition in the first half and the second part covered historical events, geography, biographies and scientific knowledge. This book, Elsie has it now, the pages in the second half of the book are frayed up to the written part. He must have referred to those pages hundreds of times. Some times he would state some event or other information we had never heard about and he would take his book and there it was has he had said it. What fascinated him most was astronomy, he certainly would have enjoyed to know about the development of studies of the universe with all the space probes, the descent on the moon, the Hubble telescope. He knew who Hubble was , I din't. Some of the books he used to borrow from the library on the Sons of Italy, big hard cover books very well illustrated in color and possibly contained what was known up to about 1930. He would read everything that came to his attention that was written in Italian. While his formal schooling education may have been very moderate his general knowledge was well advanced and superior to most people he new.
I have not mentioned Zia and Zio Antonio. During this time they also had money problems because of lack of work. They visited us from time to time and Zia was still subject to recurring illnesses and therefore did no go out much. They had to give up the rented house they lived in and had to board with other people to reduce expenses. This was common practice for single families or families of only two adults. They would move in with another family and rent only one room as a bedroom with kitchen privileges to prepare their own meals. We would not visit them often but mom and dad kept a very close liaison with them. Much later during war time they were able to rent and return to live in their own apartment. More will be said later as they were the only real and close relatives we had in Montreal.
This house of four rooms was now too small to accommodate the family as the children grew in age and another house was found, very much in the same district, on Belanger street. So in may 1937 we moved.
SHAMROCK; Shamrock at one time had a stadium by that name located where the Jean talon Market is now located. The stadium was a wooden structure with bleachers (seats) and a playing field in the center. It was used mostly for playing La Crosse and other games by the Irish community who lived in the area. Eventually the Italians started living in this area and the Irish moved to what is now called Park Extension. After the second world war the Greeks started moving in the Park Extension area and the Irish moved out. There is still a short street named Shamrock in this area.
The stadium was removed around the early 1930's thereby leaving a large open field and was used to let children play in the summer and in the winter two big skating rinks were provided by the city.
JEAN TALON STREET; This is the name of the first Governor (Intendent) appointed by France to oversee the French possessions in the new world. The years were 1660-1680. Prior to 1930 this street was named ISABEAU.
ISABEAU; This was the name of the wife of Charles VI of France. Her complete name was Isabelle of Bavaria, a princess. When the King became sick with senile dementia (Alzheimer) she ruled France and was a good Queen. (Circa 600 AD)
JEAN TALON MARKET; This was built in the early 1930's with four canopies for the venders and enlarged later to accommodate more venders. The present parking lot was left open for many years with the skating rinks in winter.
ST. DENIS; He was the patron saint of France. The legend says that after being tortured he was beheaded (by the Roman soldiers) and he immediately picked up his head and walked to the town in which he wanted to be buried. (Circa 250 AD)
DECASTELNEAU; He was a great French general during the first world war.
DROLET AND LAJEUNESSE; I know nothing about them.
In 1933 dad obtained a Canadian Citizenship paper which included the names of the children born in Italy. Mother as an adult had to obtain a separate paper and that came at a later date. This paper actually made us all British subjects because Canada was still a Dominion of the British Empire. Later I obtained other citizenship papers and I will clarify that further on. The first paper issued to dad with the name of the children is reproduced in this text and note the many mistakes especially with the different dates. Mothers' paper is also included.