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Our visit to the Serrapede family at home continues where 54b-Serrapede Family in America, 1930s-In the news and on the radio (Part 1) left off. In this posting we continue our visit to the family at their apartment on a weeknight. Sam has returned from work, ready for dinner and some conversation about current events, radio programs for the evening and happenings in the neighborhood with Josie.
At the conclusion of our visit Uncle Sammy and I share some fun-filled memories of our favorite comics and magazines from our childhood.
All resources used for Part 1 and Part 2 are listed at the end of this posting.
Josie’s Advice to Sam: “Talk to me about what you read in the news.”
Letter to the editor written June 2nd and published on June 10, 1935.
Josie and Sam subscribed to many magazines and newspapers. As a child I remember the sofa, end tables and coffee table full of such magazines as “Life”, “Time”, “The Saturday Evening Post”, “Cue”, and “The New Yorker”. Among newspapers the “Daily News” and “The New York Post” were the ones I remember most. Sometimes I found copies of “Mad Magazine” that belonged to Uncle Sammy in the drawers or on the nightables up in the attic.
I got to know my Grandparent’s favorite topics in the newspapers since I spent many weekends at their house as a child and a teenager. I also lived with them for 8 months during 1978-79. I thought it would be an enjoyable trip back in time to June 10, 1935 to select short articles or features in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that would have caught their interest. The reason why I picked this date is because it appears on a photo of Emily taken at the Weise Photo Studio. I thought a good way for readers to get to know Josie and Sam would be through a visit to their apartment on the evening of June 10, 1935 after Emily had her photo taken that morning.
Sam and Josie Serrapede were parents to Emily Leatrice, Gerald and Sammy. They were EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandparents.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle Monday, June 10, 1935
When her children were young, Josie prepared dinner early and ate with them sometime between 5 and 6 p.m. before Sam came home. She’d let the dishes soak before washing them and take some time to relax after dinner. Josie loved to read so she started with the newspaper. First she checked the radio programs that Emily would enjoy listening to before going to bed.
Listings for radio programs broadcasted on Monday evening, June 10th and Tuesday morning, June 11th, 1935.
This posting is a continuation of 54a-Station Break-In the News 1934: The Dionne Quintuplets, Part 1 . After the material on the Dionne Quintuplets is completed, Uncle Sammy and I share our childhood memories of products, toys and famous people in the news who were an important part of our childhoods. This is followed by the Resources section where you will find links to all sources used for this posting.
Dionne Quintuplets: Return to home and then out on their own
In 1943 the Mr. and Mrs. Dionne won custody of their daughters. The move back home was not the joyous occasion one might think. The Quintuplets were treated badly as their siblings showed signs of jealousy and their parents were constantly berating them. Yet Mr. and Mrs. Dionne thought enough of the money their daughters had made to live off of it without any qualms. When the quintuplets turned 18 they all left home and cut off ties with their family. As of 2014 only Cecilie and Annette remained alive.
Discussion with Uncle Sammy on Sunday, February 21, 2016 11-11:50 a.m.
Uncle Sammy and I discussed the cartoon characters and pop stars of our childhood that captured our imaginations. We attribute the fascination the public had with the Dionne Quintuplets part of the great desire people had for escape during the Great Depression. The fascination Uncle Sammy and I had for our favorites developed during different decades. In many ways they show the growing influence of radio, movies and then television marketing to children.
I thought it would be good to do a short posting about the Dionne Quintuplets since they were a big part of the popular culture of the mid-late 1930s. The world was fascinated by the five identical sisters. As with the Hollywood child star Shirley Temple, it seems like the keen interest the fans of the Quintuplets had provided a needed escape from the harsh realities of life during the Great Depression. The Quintuplets were very important to Emily as the following family story relates. From there Uncle Sammy and I present the research results on the Quints, as the press and public often referred to the Dionne Quintuplets.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede was born on April 18, 1931. She was the daughter of Josie and Sam; older sister of Jerry and Sammy; and EmilyAnn’s Mom.
Family Story: My name in French is Emilie!
Emily was 3 years old when the Dionne Quintuplets were born in 1934. One of them was named Emilie. A few years later Josie and Sam bought her a Dionne Quintuplet spoon with the name “Emelie” engraved on it. The handle of the spoon was shaped to represent a little girl that looked like one of the Quints. The figure on the spoon had clearly defined ringlets and wore a smock type dress. Emily was very possessive of that spoon. Another object she considered very precious was her blue Shirley Temple drinking glass. The spoon and the drinking glass were brought out only when the immediate family had a meal together. If cousins or friends were visiting Emily asked Josie not to take them out to show anyone. She also asked Josie not to tell anyone about them.
It’s not that she thought the spoon and drinking glass had any power to make her somebody special. It was the idea that they connected her to two well known children she followed with great interest through listening to the news on the radio or heard her parents mention if an article appeared in the newspapers. Sometimes Emily wondered what Shirley Temple was having for breakfast or what it was like when Emilie Dionne met news reporters and had her photo taken for the papers.
–as told by Emily L. Serrapede to her daughter EmilyAnn Frances May
There are no public domain images of the Dionne Quintuplet spoons or the blue cobalt Shirley Temple drinking glasses. I located good examples at some websites for which I provided links to in the Recommended Reading with photos section at the end of Part 2 this posting.
This posting is a continuation of 53c-Serrapede Family in America: Emily Leatrice’s first studio portrait, 1932 Part 1.
Albert Della Monica, the photographer and owner of the studio where Emily’s first portrait photo was taken, achieved the American Dream twice. He not only achieved home ownership, he also owned his own business. We thought his story was worth telling so we have presented the highlights of the Della Monica family’s history after arriving in America.
Albert Della Monica: Artist, businessman and homeowner
We don’t know why Albert used the name Dell Monic on the label which he put on the picture frame for Emily Leatrice’s photo. Uncle Sammy thought the decorative elements to the left and right of the name on the label represented the letter “A”. So we began our search using Della Monica. A quick look-up in the 1933 Brooklyn City Directory proved Uncle Sammy was on target with the right name.
Close-up of the label on the frame of Emily Leatrice’s 1932 studio portrait.
Josie left an extensive photo collection to her daughter when she passed away in 1995. There are almost 300 photos of all sizes and types. Josie had a box camera which she used extensively throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In the photos she took we have many scenes of the neighborhood around 66th Street where the family lived. There are also many studio photos taken as part of special occasions such as weddings and Holy Communion. Studio portraits of family members are also part of the collection. This posting is about the earliest photo we have of Emily Leatrice. She always said that she was born with blonde hair. Judging from this studio portratir her hair may have been a golden brown, perhaps a shade darker than popular 1930s child star Shirley Temple’s.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede, June 1932.
Close-up of the photo taken at the Studio of A. Della Monica, Gravesend, Brooklyn, NY.
Josie treasured her photo collection. We do not know how she did it but the photos have remained in good condition despite being stored in nothing but brown paper bags and then carefully stacked in brown cardboard boxes. Many of the original cardboard frames complete with the studio labels are still intact as well. Because of this we know the name of the photographer and the location of the studio for Emily Leatrice’s 1932 photo.