Emily L. Serrapede was 10 years old when WWII started. As the constrictions and concerns of wartime life set in she began to enter that stage between childhood and adolescence which we call the ‘tween or pre-teen years. It is a time that sees children exhibit the first spurts of growth towards adulthood. Emily shared many glimpses of her life as a ‘tween from 1941 through 1943. In this posting we’ll look at some of the fads, trends and fun that were part of Emily’s life.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede was the daughter of Sam and Josie Serrapede. She was the older sister of Junior (Sammy) and mother of EmilyAnn.
The world of her pre-teen and early teenage years was centered around Dyker Heights, Brooklyn New York. In the summer Coney Island was the place she loved to be the most. Emily did not discover the appeal of the upscale restaurants and the many ethnic neighborhoods in Manhattan until her later teens when she was engaged and went out with her fiancee’s family.
Frank, Lillian, Martha and Emilia D’Agosto were Emily’s first cousins along the paternal line. They were the children of Giuseppe and Philomena (nee Serrapede) D’Agosto. Philomena was the older sister of Sam Serrapede, Emily’s Dad.
Rita Errico was Emily’s first cousin along her maternal line. Rita’s mother, Elisa Scotti Errico, was the youngest sister of Emily’s maternal grandmother Letizia Scotti Muro.
Alma Rodgriguez was Emily’s best friend from elementary through high school. We’re hoping to find some background information about her family through the census records. If and when we do there will be a short posting about Alma since she played an important part in my Emily’s life. Alma was quick with a joke and enjoyed word games.
The world of a Brooklyn pre-teen during WWII: Emily Leatrice Serrapede’s anecdotes and memories
Emily lived in a multi-family dwelling on 66th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. The apartment was located in the back of the first floor, down a long hallway. As you entered the apartment you passed by a very old fashioned bathroom that had a raised bathtub with clawed feet. Josie assigned Emily more demanding housecleaning chores as she grew older. Once she was a pre-teen cleaning the bathroom was the biggest job she had. Emily loved cleaning her own small bedroom which was off of the bigger bedroom Sam and Josie shared with Junior. But cleaning the bathroom was tedious and very boring. Emily began to dislike the small tiles on the floor and the narrow space under the bath tub.
Josie always found Emily’s cleaning lacked what she considered a diligent approach, especially when reaching into the corners of the narrow bathroom. This was the very first subject mother and daughter had major disagreements over. Josie expected the tub and the tiny tiles on the floor to be perfectly clean down to the corners where the tiles met the wall. Emily passed a rag that had been soaked in hot water and soap all along the tiles and the corners of the floor. The only place she used the scrub brush Josie gave her was inside the bath tub and the small sink. Josie termed Emily’s approach to cleaning the bathroom as “top cleaning”. Whenever Emily was asked to clean up the small living room, Josie would yell at her because all Emily had done was what Josie called “tidying up” and “cleaning on the go”. Emily dusted around whatever was on the end tables and the rest of the furniture. If anything was left out of place like a pair of socks, keys or toys Emily threw whatever she could into a draw. Other times she would put things into a box or into the closet. Emily’s mind wandered to other things that she thought were much more interesting and loads of fun.Continue reading “74-The Serrapede Family in Brooklyn-Life during WWII, Part 5a”