Josie’s photo album contains two photos of an outing her brother Peter Muro and husband Sam took to Bergen Beach in Brooklyn during June 1936. At first we thought Peter was in Brooklyn for a short visit. We got in touch with Claudia Muro in Pennsylvania for some help with questions we have about Peter’s life during the 1930s and 1940s. Claudia is married to Peter’s youngest son Robert. The information she provided expands the story behind the photos. It also provides a possible link to other paesani in the Serrapede family’s network who may have helped Peter while he was in Brooklyn. We also learned quite a bit of local history as we pieced together a short history of Bergen Beach. What started out as a posting about two photos turned into a pleasant journey back in time based on the memories Uncle Sammy and Robert shared. It also validated family stories Mom passed on to me about my Grandpa Sam’s attitudes towards visits from relatives. The shorter they were the better to his liking.
Josie Muro Serrapede (1909-1995) was the wife of Sam Serrapede (1900-2002). They were the parents of Emily, Gerry and Sammy.
Peter Muro (1913-1992) was Josie’s younger brother. Their parents were Nick and Letizia Muro.
Emily Leatrice Serrapede (1931-2011) was EmilyAnn’s Mom and Sammy’s sister.
Bergen Beach, Brooklyn-June 1936
There are two photos from Peter Muro’s vacation in Brooklyn during June of 1936. One is of Sam in a rowboat looking very unhappy as he sits hunched over some rope in the boat. On this photo Josie wrote “Bergen Beach, June 1936.” The other photo shows her brother Peter enjoying himself during the little excursion on the water.
The family knew that Sam did not encourage prolonged stays when the relatives from Pennsylvania came to visit. The Serrapede family was living in a very small apartment so the addition of one or two guests meant the living room would be crowded. Sam would not be able to relax and read his newspapers or listen to the radio when he came home from work. Sam never declined a request from his in-laws or own relatives when they needed a place to stay for a short time. He let Josie take care of the meal planning, sleeping arrangements and sightseeing activities. He felt that the little apartment was first and foremost a refuge for him, his wife and their children. Given the size of Josie’s family (11 siblings altogether) he thought it was the reasonable and right thing to make it clear what the guidelines were as far as staying over. He was very upfront, in a polite way, about that point.
Uncle Sammy and I saw this trait at work in Sam throughout his life. He was passionate about his privacy and having the full attention of his wife, children and grandchildren. Sam was dubbed “The Codge” by Uncle Sammy, a nickname we use with great affection whenever he comes to mind. Although “The Codge” would complain about all the work a visit from the relatives made, he was the first one to pour a glass of wine for the visitors and then engage them in a conversation.
The photographs used in this posting were digitized in 2014. The service we used eliminated the decorative borders around the photos as well as Josie’s handwritten comments.
Peter Muro in Brooklyn, NY 1936
In her email reply of April 16, 2016 Claudia Muro informed us that Peter came up to Brooklyn at the recommendation of his sisters. We think these were his oldest sister Josie and his second sister Filomena, both who were living in Brooklyn. His third sister, Rosie, was just 15 years old at the time. We do not think she came to Brooklyn until a few years later.