Emily L. Serrapede first saw her future fiancé, Frank, while out for a walk on 13th Avenue with one of her best friends, Alma Rodriguez. Emily was in her Junior year at Bay Ridge High School and working on weekdays after classes were over. Emily and Frank enjoyed going on dates to the kinds of places teen s favored in the 1940s such as the roller skating rink, the movies, the ice cream parlor and the bowling alley. In the summer there were day trips to Coney Island as well as picnics. On Sunday afternoons during, Spring, Summer and Autumn, Frank and Emily enjoyed strolls in the public parks such as Owls’s Head Park, Leif Erickson Park and McKinley Park. Sometimes they also went biking along Shore Road.
Emily and Frank were also loved to listen to the Big Bands and popular artists of the day such as Benny Goodman and his orchestra, The Andrew Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billy Holliday.
Emily and Frank always conversed with EmilyAnn like she was a little adult so she became very familiar with the popular culture of her parent’s youth from the time she was almost 5 years old. But a funny thing happened: EmilyAnn mixed up the glamour of 1940s movies with the simple pleasures her parents took in the dates they went on each Saturday afternoon or evening right in the neighborhood where they grew up. As a child EmilyAnn envisioned her parents dining at elegant supper clubs one hour and then dancing a crazy Jitterbug the next hour. Emily let this go on until EmilyAnn was about 7 years old and then she helped her sort out the fantasy from the fact about where her parents went on dates before they were married.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede was born in 1931 and grew up in the Italian-American community of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY. She lived with her parents, Josie and Sam, and little brother Junior (Sammy) in an apartment house on 65th Street. Emily met Frank sometime between late 1946 and early 1947. Emily enjoyed going out on their dates especially to the special places they went to in Manhattan like Chinatown and Central Park. She also enjoyed introducing her new boyfriend to all her friends and cousins and so dates in the neighborhood were just as enjoyable as ones in Manhattan. Emily was not overly interested in sports but since Frank liked to go bowling and roller skating she engaged in those activities more often and achieved competency at them. Those dates which centered around outdoor activities like biking gave Emily a chance to socialize with Frank’s younger sister Maureen and Frank’s brothers. She enjoyed getting to know each of them and found that the activities brought them all together in a good way.
Frank also lived in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY. He was born in 1927 to Blanche and Al Terry*. Frank left high school just 2 months before he was due to graduate because of a very strong desire to serve our country in WWII. He joined the Navy where he served stateside while stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas. Frank’s best friend Whitey was also a WWII vet who had served overseas in China. Al Terry worked for a leather importer in Manhattan and had a busy calendar filled with professional and social appointments. Blanche did all her own cooking and baking for the many tea parties and coffee hours the family hosted from their two family home on 14th Avenue. Frank enjoyed all the activity as much as he did his two brothers and kid sister.
–Emily L. Serrapede was—
—Sammy’s older sister
Family Story: Not every girl wanted to go to a supper club
As a child in the mid-late 1950s, EmilyAnn watched television with her mother every afternoon. From 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. there was a movie broadcast every afternoon called “The Early Show”. Every afternoon at 4:00 p.m. on the spot, Emily and EmilyAnn would stop everything to turn on the TV. As the opening song “The Syncopated Clock” began mother and daughter settled in for a trip back in time.
For Emily it was a journey back to the movie theaters of her childhood and adolescence when she saw films starring such great actresses of the 1930s and 1940s as Betty Davis, Joan Crawford, the Bennett Sisters, Veronica Lake, and dashing actors like Dana Andrews and Errol Flynn. EmilyAnn didn’t always follow the storylines all the way through for each movie was a journey into a world of fashion, glamour and the stuff dreams were made of. Besides, Emily had an excellent memory for every detail of the storyline so EmilyAnn let her imagination run where it wanted knowing she could ask her mother what happened after the movie was over.
The movies and movie stars created the impression for EmilyAnn that her own parents had dated at elegant supper clubs like The Rainbow Room or The Stork Club. Those were the ones mentioned in some movies. Latin music would play while men and women danced under glittering chandeliers. Then all the younger people would get into a sporty car and drive over to a juke joint to dance a wild jitterbug to the music of Benny Goodman. Emily had had enough when these ideas continued as EmilyAnn grew older. So she sat EmilyAnn down to let her know that the fanciest dance she ever went to before getting married was Senior Prom! And even though she and Frank danced the Lindy and other popular dances there were none of the extreme movements shown in the movies. No girl concerned with her reputation in the Italian-American community would dance that aggressively to the point she allowed a boy to pick her up and twirl her all around so that her skirts went flying and her full legs were on view..Continue reading “77b-Serrapede Family in Brooklyn: Emily and Frank’s Weekend dates-Late 1940s”