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.
Sam could make light of events in the news, especially the ups and downs of Hollywood stars or members of high society. He was passionate about issues that affected blue collar workers and supported efforts to improve working conditions, salaries and ensure people the opportunity to compete fairly for good paying jobs. The letter to the editor which appeared in the June 10th, 1935 edition of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle would have found Sam nodding his head and saying, “I agree with you!” Cronyism between government and big business was something he disapproved of. He could go off on a rant that was a times comical but also capable of generating prolonged discussion of the matter since he always posed questions to the listener. Sam would ask them how they felt and how they thought this issue affected their lives.
Josie had many worries about Sam’s tendency to speak too freely with others, especially when it came to prolonged and passionate discussions about current events, especially when it was happening outside the confines of home. Her biggest concern was to stay on the good side of everyone in the neighborhood and in the family. People needed each other during the difficult times of The Great Depression. The network of paesanos and relatives was very extensive. It spanned Brooklyn, New York and Wilmerding, Pennsylvania. A slight or offense to just one person would soon travel along the rest of the network. Despite not having telephones, there was the U.S. mail and the relatives who travelled back and forth to convey the news. Josie would not want a disagreement about something written in the newspaper to upset the intricate relationships the Serrapede family had within the Italian-American community.
She’d tell Sam, “That’s wonderful you have an opinion on this. Just remember to be careful with how much you talk about it outside.” She’d then tell him about the day’s events and advise him to discuss only what was pleasant with the people he met, especially when at work.
Josie frequently told Sam, “Keep what we talked about between us. I’m here to listen to you.”
Discussion with Uncle Sammy, Sunday, February 21, 2016 11-11:50 A.M.
It’s said that a child develops good reading habits based on the type and quantity of reading materials available in the home. Comprehension receives a boost when the reading material is discussed and new words are explained. When a child can write about what they have read critical thinking skills are also created. Uncle Sammy and I considered reading material Josie and Sam made available that influenced us. We also developed a few preferences of our own as all children do.
Uncle Sammy (1940s through 1950s)
“Mad Magazine” (known for its satirical humor)
Uncle Sammy remembers that Sam enjoyed reading “The New York Daily News” and the Italian language newspaper “Il Progresso.” Josie loved “The Saturday Evening Post” especially when the featured the artwork of Norman Rockwell. He depicted scenes from everyday American life that resonated with Americans in the mid-20th century. Many portray life in small towns or in the countryside.
Superman was known as Clark Kent during his daytime job as a reporter in the city of Metropolis. He was born on the planet Kryptonite and sent to earth just before the planet was destroyed. He was raised as an earth child and used his powers to help those who were victimized unfairly. His only vulnerability was that he lost all strength when exposed to a piece of Kryptonite, a rare element found only in fragments of his native planet that fell to earth.
EmilyAnn (1950s through early 1970s)
I liked the “Saturday Evening Post” since Josie always kept the ones with the Norman Rockwell covers. I learned about his art this way. Josie encouraged conversation about anything I was reading. I enjoyed sharing my favorite comic strip heroines with her. She was the only Grandparent interested in my ongoing fascination with Brenda Starr’s romance with Basil St. John. Brenda Starr was the leading character in a comic strip of the same name. She was a beautiful red headed reporter who fell passionately in love with the mysterious Basil St. John.
Cover of Katy Keene, issue no. 8. Public Domain.
Grandma Josie also enjoyed seeing the outfits readers designed for Katy Keane. Katy was another comic book character I enjoyed, especially because readers could submit sketches of outfits Katy could wear in her roles as a model/actress. Another romantic situation Grandma Josie never tired of hearing about was the love triangle between the characters in the Archie comic books. Archie Andrews and the two girls he was caught between, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, were high school students living in a small town called Riverdale.
The articles and screen shots used in this posting come from the June 10th, 1935 edition of “The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.” The URLS are:
Today’s Radio Programs
Letters of Interest by Eagle Readers
“Doctrine of Rugged Individualism Preached, but Not Practiced He Says”
by F. White
Little Orphan Annie
The Comics Journal
“The Orphan’s Epic”
by Ric Harvey
May 20, 2013
Additional Reading if you want to know more about our favorite childhood comics
Comic book images in public domain
Cover of issue no. 8
Public domain publication as confirmed by
Digital Comic Museum
Entire comic can be downloaded for free at: