Minnie Lincoln

Minnie Zank (1921-2015) was born at home in Philadelphia and moved with her parents to 216 Stamper Street when she was about four. Her mother had emigrated from Poland and her father from Russia; they met at a boarding house in Society Hill. Minnie met her husband, Howard Lincoln, at a USO at Ninth and Clinton Streets. Minnie describes the house at 216 Stamper Street (and the utilities it had and did not have) – where she lived with her parents, her aunt, and her five siblings – as “a little two-story house with the shutters and a nice big yard.” She talks about the many businesses and other establishments in the neighborhood and the interactions she had with them: the farmers market at the Headhouse; the “chicken coops” at Front and Pine and on Fourth Street, where you could buy fresh chickens; the places where she, her parents, and her siblings worked; the firehouse and a paper factory across the street; Abbotts Dairies ice cream factory; the neighborhood bakeries; the movie houses and clothing stores on South Street. The latter part of the interview demonstrates the pros and cons of having two narrators participating. Minnie is joined by her niece, Patsy Stevenson, providing the opportunity for Patsy to jog Minnie’s memory, but also raising topics of disagreement. They discuss the neighborhood doctors, Sunday school, summer camp, the Salvation Army, and the locations of Horn and Hardart’s on Market and Chestnut Streets. Minnie describes her experiences working at Cherrydale Farms and Whitman’s Chocolates. She and Patsy discuss what an excellent cook Minnie’s mother was; the Jewish undertakers on Pine Street; the woman who ran an employment agency and got jobs for women to clean offices; the women who got the jobs; and the ferries to New Jersey. Then they start naming all the people who lived on Pine Street between Second and Sixth Streets, and also those who lived on Stamper Street. Minnie deeply resented the neighborhood being called a slum. She says they may have been poor; but they had jobs, and they kept their houses, streets, and sidewalks clean. She observes, “But at that time, neighbors were neighbors. Like on Stamper Street, if somebody got laid off or was sick or something, all the neighbors got together. They paid your rent. Who made a pot of soup? Who brought a loaf of bread? Who brought this? Who brought that? And you were taken care of. Neighbors were neighbors then.”


DS:      This is an interview with someone who I call Aunt Min, but I think her real name is Minnie Lincoln, and the date is August 29, 2005.

[Tape is turned off, then on again]

DS:      Min, give me your full name.

ML:     Minnie Estelle Lincoln.

DS:      M-i-n-n-i-e?

ML:     Right.

DS:      Estelle?

ML:     E-s-t-e-l-l-e. I lived at 216 Stamper Street.

DS:      Lincoln?

ML:     L-i-n-c-o-l-n.

DS:      You were born there?

ML:     No, I had moved there when I was about four years old. I lived next door to Dorothy.

DS:      Dorothy Bunting? [The Dorothy referred to throughout the interview; not Dorothy Stevens, the interviewer.]

ML:     Yes.

DS:      Were you born in –?

ML:     Philadelphia.

DS:      In a hospital or at home? (1:00)

ML:     At home.

DS:      You went to Old Pine Church?

ML:     Right. I went to Wharton School, which is now St. Peter’s parking lot.

DS:      Right.

ML:     Which is still there.

DS:      Let’s do your schooling then. You went to Wharton first. For how many years?

ML:     I went to the sixth grade.

DS:      First to sixth?

ML:     Yes.

DS:      Right.

ML:     I went to Bartlett Junior High to ninth grade. Then I went to South Philadelphia High to the twelfth grade.

DS:      Right.

ML:     That’s the furthest I went, because at that time they didn’t think you needed to go to college. I’m going way back when, and college wasn’t an option at that time. You went to work.

DS:      When were you born?

ML:     May 6, 1921.

DS:      1921. Your parents? Your mom? (2:00)

ML:     My mom was raised in Galicia, which is like a little border town – it’s in Poland; it’s right next to Germany. I think we had a little bit of Germany in us.

DS:      Spell it?

ML:     G-a-l-i-c-i-a, and her name – her maiden name was Vruble, which was very funny for a Polish name. Her first name was Petrinella.

DS:      Vruble?

ML:     V-r-u-b-l-e. That’s not a Polish name.

DS:      Is it German?

ML:     I think there must be some German in it, because usually it’s “s-k-i” or, you know, a Polish name. This is a little short name, so something must have happened there. My father came from Russia.

DS:      She was born there?

ML:     She was born in Galicia, Poland. My father was born in – I can’t think. I’ll have to remember Russia. I gave Patsy his paper; the ship that he came over on and everything. I just gave her the papers. He was born in Russia and he came over here. At that time, they had boarding houses. [His first name was Eucannaous.]

DS:      In this neighborhood?

ML:     Of course, in this neighborhood. He went to a boarding house; somebody would tell you where to go. When he got off the boat, he couldn’t speak any English. (3:00) Whatever name you pronounced, they would put anything down. What would happen [is] they would give you directions, tell you where to go, so you’d go to a boarding house, and you found a job. That’s how my mother met my father, in the boarding house. People would come in to eat, at night, at the supper table, and that’s how my mother met my father.

DS:      Your mother came over from Poland? How did she get here?

ML:     With her sister.

DS:      Over on a boat with her sister?

ML:     Right, right.

DS:      Not her parents?

ML:     No, no, her and her sister came over.

DS:      How old would she have been?

ML:     Oh, she had to be young.

DS:      A teenager?

ML:     No, I think a little older.

DS:      A little older?

ML:     My father was older than her [he died at age 89]. I think my father was like 20 years older than her. She died when she turned sixty-five. She never got to get her Social Security check; died before it came. [Laughs]

DS:      Her brother had already come over, before her and her sister came over?

ML:     No, just my mother and her sister came over. (4:00)

DS:      They ended up in this neighborhood, too.

ML:     They ended up in this neighborhood.

DS:      In a boarding house?

ML:     In a boarding house, somewhere around Pine Street, Lombard Street or what have you.

DS:      They would go to a boarding house for a meal?

ML:     Yes; you’d pay room and board. You got a breakfast and a supper; lunch was on your own.

DS:      They were in the same house?

ML:     Yes, yes, and then they ended up – I think they lived on Carpenter Street, but I don’t remember. The only thing I remember is Stamper Street.

DS:      Tell me the story about how your mother met Dorothy’s mother, Dorothy Bunting’s mother.

ML:     Marie Troyano was being operated on in the hospital, and my sister had burned herself. She was playing with matches and burned herself. They were both more or less next to one another, because Marie, I think, she had something [an obstruction] with her bowels, or something. They were both pretty sick, although Marie was much younger. Marie was, I think, a baby. (5:00)

DS:      This is Marie Troyano?

ML:     Marie Troyano.

DS:      Dorothy Bunting’s sister?

ML:     Naturally, they were both concerned mothers, and they would talk to one another. “How’s your little girl?” and “How’s your girl?” Next thing you know we lived next door!

DS:      What hospital was this?

ML:     I don’t remember.

DS:      Pennsylvania, you think?

ML:     I don’t know. Could it have been Children’s Hospital?

DS:      Could have been.

ML:     You know at that time we had a lot of hospitals, little private hospitals. In fact, there used to be a clinic between Third and Fourth on Bainbridge [318]. I think the building’s still there. It’s across from the veterinary. It’s got high steps going up and two doors. That was a clinic when I was a little girl.

DS:      A medical clinic?

ML:     A medical clinic that you would go to. Doctors and nurses there. Then there was Baby’s Hospital near McCall’s School.

DS:      Near McCall’s?

ML:     Um hum. Used to be a Baby’s Hospital.

DS:      Do you remember where?

ML:     Right near McCall’s School. McCall’s School’s here and up that little street [Seventh and Delancey Streets] was a hospital. It’s called Baby’s Hospital. What else can I tell you? (6:00)

DS:      Well, let’s see. After the two mothers met in the hospital with their children, then your family moved –

ML:     Next door –

DS:      To Stamper Street, next door to the Troyanos?

ML:     Yes.

DS:      Yes, yes.

ML:     We’ve been friends ever since.

DS:      You were younger than Dorothy?

ML:     Ethel and I are the same age.

DS:      Ethel, who is Dorothy Bunting’s younger sister?

ML:     Younger sister. That’s Ethel. She’s seven months older than I am. My sister and Dorothy were the same age. When we used to go to camp, Ethel and I would be in one camp and they would be in another camp. Ethel actually was my girlfriend. I mean, (7:00) we went around together, you know, it was like four of us. They used to think I was a Troyano, but I wasn’t.

DS:      Describe the houses to me. Did they have –

ML:     The houses were very nice. I don’t know why they tore them down, because today somebody would have taken them. They actually had, down in the basement, the ovens where the people used to – when we first moved in it was a dirt floor. It had an oven where the people used to do their cooking.

DS:      In the basement?

ML:     In the basement. They were two-story little houses with the shutters and a nice big yard. My aunt lived with us, and she used to have ivy growing all over the fence and all. She used to make home-made pickles. In fact, Dorothy’s nephew, Bobby, just asked me yesterday, Sunday, what the recipe for the pickles was, because they was the best pickles he ever had. [Laughs]

DS:      [Laughs] Do you have the recipe?

ML:     No, I don’t. Then, between Dorothy and me, it was like a little hole in the (8:00) wall, and I’d say to Dorothy, “Give me a sandwich with white bread, and Ethel and I’ll give you a pickle.” At that time my father used to get rye bread. We had five bakers around us, and my father used to eat day-old bread. My father had his teeth, his hair and everything else at eighty-nine, when he died. He didn’t like the white bread. He would not eat no white bread. It had to be good, hard bread, the harder the better, because that way when we had the stews and you had meals –

DS:      Soak up?

ML:     Yes, yes. So anyhow, I used to say, “Give me a sandwich with white bread, and I’ll give you a pickle and a tomato.” [Laughs]

DS:      Are you talking about – this would actually be a hole between the two houses?

ML:     No, between the fence. You know how you’d make a little hole?

DS:      In the back yard?

ML:     Yes. We used to go to the playground which was located at Front and Lombard. It’s a house there now.

DS:      Stanfield?

ML:     Stanfield Playground. It was a hill that went down.

DS:      From that to the river? (9:00)

ML:     To the railroad tracks, and that would stop you. It used to be the Distribution Center. We used to get little brown bags, and we would go down there, and as they would unload the trucks if anything fell, if a potato fell or an onion or a cucumber or a head of lettuce, you could pick it up, put it in your bag, bring it home. Then, you’d go over to the butcher shop and ask for a bone for the dog. We had no dog. Then we had a nice bowl of soup with noodles; my aunt made her own noodles.

DS:      How many children in your family?

ML:     Five. I’m the last one.

DS:      You’re the youngest?

ML:     I’m the baby.

DS:      What was the order?

ML:     It was boy, girl, boy, girl and then me. They’re all gone, and the same thing with Dorothy’s five: Anita, Dorothy, Ethel, Marie and Bobby. (10:00)

DS:      Wasn’t Marie older than Dorothy?

ML:     No, no, no. Marie was the younger. Bobby was the youngest.

DS:      I thought Ethel was the youngest.

ML:     No, no, no, no, no. Ethel’s in the middle. It was Bobby, Marie, Ethel, Dorothy and Anita.

[At the request of the narrator, a section of the narrative has been omitted from this transcript]

ML:     We used to go to the USO. There used to be a woman – I can’t think of her name – at St. Peter’s. It’ll come to me eventually. She belonged to the USO; it was at Ninth and Clinton Streets. (12:00)

DS:      Cadwalader?

ML:     No, I think it was somebody else.

DS:      Biddle?

ML:     It was one of those. They approached Dorothy, if we would be – you know – think to go over there and maybe serve coffee and doughnuts, which we did. They put the records on and somebody’d play the piano and all, so that’s how we went to the USO.

DS:      That’s how Dorothy met Horace?

ML:     That’s right.

DS:      How did you meet your husband?

ML:     Well, Horace and I –

DS:      Excuse me, what was your maiden name?

ML:     Z-a-n-k. Zank.

DS:      Z-a-n-k.

ML:     Well, the person that I met was killed just before the war ended. His ship was sunk in May. I think the war was over May something, 1945. I think two weeks before the war ended his ship was sunk. Then, I’ll tell you how we got to meet the Englishman. His ship was – (13:00)

DS:      And you never remarried? [Minnie had never married the man who was killed.]

ML:     Yes, that’s how I married Howard Lincoln, then. I met Howard. He was in the Army.

DS:      Howard?

ML:     Howard Lincoln.

DS:      Right.

[At the request of the narrator, a section of the narrative has been omitted from this transcript]

DS:      How did you meet Howard Lincoln?

ML:     I met him at the USO. [Laughs]

DS:      Same way?

ML:     Same way.

DS:      Tell me about – you said that the house that you lived in on Stamper Street that was knocked down for the parking garage –

ML:     Oh, they were lovely little houses.

DS:      Did they have indoor plumbing?

ML:     No, but some did.

DS:      Did they have heat?

ML:     No.

DS:      Did they have a fireplace or a stove?

ML:     We had an old, black stove.

DS:      Wood-burning? Coal?

ML:     Wood or coal.

DS:      Fine.

ML:     The best food you could imagine came out of that stove. [If] Dorothy was here, (16:00) she could tell you that my mother and my aunt made the best Polish food, the kielbasa, pierogis, whatever. Everybody said, “Yay.” I’m not bragging; they did. Everybody that ever tasted the food said that was the best they ever had.

DS:      The house was heated by the stove?

ML:     A big black stove.

DS:      Big black stove. In the basement of the house?

ML:     Well, I used to take a bath on the first floor, in the corner. The stove would be here, and there’s a corner here, when I was little. Later on, they had the big tub down the cellar [the kitchen was then on the first floor]. I used to go next door and take a bath. It was warmer down there. [Laughs] (17:00)

DS:      [Laughs] You had an outdoor toilet?

ML:     Right.

DS:      You had hot water?

ML:     You had to boil your water.

DS:      You had to boil your water, so it’s just cold running water? And electricity?

ML:     Yes, we had like a light bulb. We had a string – when I was little you had to pull a string; we had no switch. At that time, there was an A & P at the corner of Third and Delancey Streets, and I would come from Stamper Street, [to] go get a loaf of bread. The bread was a white bread, unsliced, and wrapped in white paper. Another time, I would go – I think it was Philip Street – there was a store, a candy and tobacco store. I used to go buy Copenhaven snuff and tobacco. My father smoked a pipe. That [gesturing] clothes tree comes from that store; that’s an old clothes tree that comes from that store. (18:00)

DS:      Where was the store? It was on Philip?

ML:     It had to be on Philip Street. See, I kind of get balled up, because everything is so changed. It’s gone. Pine Street – Front and Pine was chicken coops. They used to have chickens in coops. At that time, the chickens used to have little bands on them: red, yellow, green, blue. Fourth Street used to be push carts. Then at Fourth and South, on this corner, was another place to buy chickens. You went in there; you picked out: “I’ll take this one, I’ll take that one.” They went in the back and got killed and stripped and everything; that was it, you had fresh chicken. Headhouse was a farmers’ market. (19:00) We had two. That one, and the other one would go from Lombard to South. There was two of them. They sold eggs, cookies, meat, all kinds of stuff. On Saturday the farmers would come from Jersey in their trucks, and they brought all kinds of vegetables, sliced rabbits over a barrel. All kinds of stuff.

DS:      They would bring this over on the ferry? The farmers would bring it from New Jersey?

ML:     They would come in their trucks.

DS:      In their trucks, so it was from Pennsylvania—

ML:     Oh, you just reminded me. We used to have the ferry. Five cents you used to go from Philadelphia to, uh, –

DS:      Five cents?

ML:     Five cents. Sunday used to be blue laws, and we didn’t know what to do, so we walked across the bridge. You know where the pedestrian is? We walked across there, got (20:00) an ice cream cone or a soda and then walked all the way back. Then we walked on Market Street and looked at all the different stores.

DS:      Are you talking about the Benjamin Franklin Bridge?

ML:     The Benjamin Franklin. We used to walk across it.

DS:      To get an ice cream cone and walk back?

ML:     Yes.

DS:      That’s a long walk.

ML:     No, nothing to it. I was a great walker. I could walk from here – In fact, one time I walked – I meant to visit somebody at Third and Mifflin. I walked to Sixteenth and Market. Walked around. Went to Strawbridge’s and all and walked all the way back. Thought nothing of it.

DS:      You would walk more than take a bus or – you didn’t have a car?

ML:     I would save my dime. In fact, when I was going to South Philadelphia High School, instead of riding, I went down Passyunk Avenue.

DS:      You walked?   (21:00 )

ML:     I walked. I cut through there. I met somebody at Fifth and South, and the two of us would criss cross, criss cross, and get to school. Same thing coming back. I sat all day. Then I walked home, and I saved my ten cents.

DS:      The ten cents was for a bus?

ML:     Yes, so then I had fifty cents; I could go to a Five and Dime.

DS:      And buy something?

ML:     [Whispers] And buy a bra.

DS:      Is that what you bought?

ML:     Socks. Stockings. I saved that. And, what else did I want to tell you?

DS:      What did your father do for a living?

ML:     He was a laborer. He worked at sugar.

DS:      The sugar refineries?

ML:     Yes.

DS:      He worked north?

ML:     No, no, no. It was right here, right down on Delaware Avenue somewhere [at Reed Street]. When he retired, he worked at Shupack’s Pickle Place that was at Third and South. He used to take Patsy. [Patricia Stevenson, Minnie’s niece. See also her interview of August 15, 2005.] [Laughs] He used to take her in the wagon. They used to take newspapers, tied-up newspapers. They got, I don’t know, two cents a pound, five cents (22:00) a pound, I don’t know. Rags and all. Whatever they got, Patsy’d get an ice cream cone or something. When he worked for Shupack, not only did they pay him, they gave him pickles, they gave him cole slaw. When he came home everybody would get a pickle or what have you.

DS:      And cole slaw?

ML:     Yes. They were the good old days.

DS:      That was at South and Fourth Streets?

ML:     Yes, Third and South.

DS:      Third and South?

ML:     Shupack’s Pickle Place.

DS:      Shupack’s?

ML:     Shupack’s. They’re still in business. They make pickles. Shupack’s.

DS:      I’ll have to look. What did your mother do, other than –

ML:     My mother worked in Brown’s Frozen Foods.

DS:      She did have an outside job? She didn’t just take care of all the children?

ML:     Yes, and my aunt took care of the house. My aunt also did ironing. She used to (23:00) iron for people. I was fit to be tied, because when I went to school, my clothes would be ironed. I had puffed sleeves, and I had the big bow in the back and a big bow in my hair. I felt like I was a model child. [Laughs]

DS:      Your mother did what for the frozen food?

ML:     Packed them.

DS:      Packed them. That was down on Delaware?

ML:     That was down on Christian Street.

DS:      Christian and Delaware?

ML:     Christian Street. Third and Christian.

DS:      Third and Christian.

ML:     My brother worked in the meatpacking place. My sister worked in the nut place. I ended up at Whitman’s. What does that tell you?

DS:      You and Dorothy worked at Whitman’s?

ML:     Um hum.

DS:      Right.

ML:     I worked there for seven years, ‘till my sister – Patsy’s mother – took sick. I quit my job to take care of her, but it was too late. She was in the hospital for almost five years. Patsy to me is like my daughter. (24:00)

DS:      That’s what she told me. “Aunt Min’s my Mom.”

ML:     Right, right. When she had to go to the hospital or anything – I’ll tell you a funny story – we had to take her and leave her at the hospital.

DS:      She had tuberculosis, right?

ML:     Yes.

[At the request of the narrator, a section of the narrative has been omitted from this transcript]

DS:      Jobs, marriage, children. You had children, right? (27:00)

ML:     I have two.

DS:      Two children by your second marriage?

ML:     Yes. I didn’t get a chance to get married [to my first boyfriend]. He died [in the war]. He had to go and get killed. [Laughs]

DS:      We laugh now. It’s not so funny.

ML:     I don’t know if I have his picture here. I’d show it to you. Here’s a picture of me outside Old Pine; I was with David. This is my David. Now this is funny. This picture of David – that outfit is one that Dorothy bought him.

DS:      Yes, yes. Lovely.

ML:     I brought him over to see.

DS:      Is that David there? (28:00)

ML:     That’s David in high school.

DS:      David’s the son that lives with you?

ML:     Yes, he’s the older one. The younger one is married.

DS:      Yes.

ML:     Now, here’s a man from the neighborhood. I was talking about Henry? I was a bridesmaid for her. You can see how old that is; that was taken from Second and Pine Streets, I think.

DS:      Yes. Fifth. Oh, no. Second.

ML:     Second and Pine used to be a photographer there. Yes. Not too long ago I had shown this to Dorothy, because he lived on Front Street, and I asked Dorothy if she remembered him. Dorothy said no, she couldn’t remember him, but he was a neighborhood fellow. (29:00)

DS:      Now, this is skipping around a bit, but Patsy said to me that the Troyanos had an outdoor shower?

ML:     Yes. Her father put in the shower, and I used to go and take showers.

DS:      In their back yard?

ML:     Yes.

DS:      Because Patsy remembers doing that?

ML:     Yes, we used to go back there. I was like one of the family. When they went to Wildwood, I went with them. They took me all over. When Dorothy’s mother made knitted hats, I got one; mittens, I got one, too. [Laughs]

DS:      [Laughs] Good memories, right? (30:00)

ML:     Yes, yes. Dorothy’s mother was a wonderful cook. My mother would go in and show her how to make these different things and all. They got along good; we all got along fine. When they say “slums,” Dorothy used to get so angry. We had policemen, firemen; on Second Street was produce places. We had the fire house and the firemen rigged up the showers on this wall here.

DS:      Now, the firehouse was there –

ML:     At Second –

DS:      And Pine? Where Blackwell Court is now?

ML:     [Inaudible] You see, they went out the front, and the back would be our little street. (31:00)

DS:      Stamper Street.

ML:     Stamper Street. They rigged up the shower heads [on the outside wall]. To be able to get in there you had to have a bar of soap, wash rag and towel and you had to really wash yourself. [The children wore bathing suits when they used the showers.] When a fire would come, sometimes they have a dinner on the table, and they had to go out to a fire. They would tell us any time that it’s a fire and you see food on the table, come in and take it. We used to get a lot of nice food [Laughs], spaghetti and meatballs and what have you. I mean, we had it good. We had a factory, a paper factory next to the firehouse.

DS:      Going east or west?

ML:     I’m bad with directions.

DS:      Towards the river? (32:00)

ML:     No, away from the river. That would be – you’re right. That’s east, and this would be west. Then on this side was Abbotts.

DS:      Dairy?

ML:     Abbotts Dairies. Sometimes we would get ice cream. We had it made.

DS:      You did.

ML:     [Inaudible] We had good times.

DS:      How come you didn’t go to St. Peter’s?

ML:     I did for a couple of years, but my heart belongs to Old Pine.

DS:      That’s where you started?

ML:     I started from there, and my mother went there.

DS:      She was Presbyterian?

ML:     No, no; she went there because they had a Polish woman from Front Street. Her daughter would come and have Polish classes downstairs, while we would have church upstairs. (33:00) When my mother went there, that’s when I showed you that picture, that’s when I started to go there. For a time, I did stop and go to St. Peter’s. I went to St. Peter’s for a few years. Then I –

DS:      With Dorothy?

ML:     I had lived in Providence for a couple of years, so there was a few gaps. Then I went back to Old Pine, and I’m back there.

DS:      Tell me, jumping back again to when they tore down the place you grew up in on Stamper to put up the garage, do you remember any feeling in the neighborhood about the Redevelopment [Authority] coming in and doing this. I mean, did this not really hurt?

ML:     Oh, I was furious. (34:00)

DS:      Furious?

ML:     Furious, because they kept calling it slums, but yet we would come out there, scrub our steps, scrub constantly. The streets were clean. We had policemen, we had firemen, we had people that worked. On the corner on Third and Pine, we had the drug store; across the street was the undertaker. Then it was St. Peter’s. I mean, we had the dentist; we had one, two, three, four doctors. We had all these Jewish people with beautiful homes. I don’t know why they called it slums, because we were clean. I mean we were clean. Patsy will tell you, she’ll tell you, (35:00) “My ciocia [Polish for ‘aunt’] used to come out there with a scrubbing brush and scrub.” We had moved to 216, so we were next to the factory. My aunt not only had to do our pavement, but she had to do all the way to – let me see – half a block or more, she cleaned it.

DS:      To Second Street?

ML:     To Third Street.

DS:      Third Street. What factory?

ML:     It was Abbotts.

DS:      Oh, Abbotts.

ML:     She did all that; everybody came out and scrubbed and cleaned. The windows got cleaned. My people got on their hands and knees and scrubbed the floors. We were clean. Dorothy’s mother was super clean. I mean, when you say slums, it kind of – I don’t know how to tell you – it grates you.

DS:      Yes.

ML:     We might have been poor, but we had people that were working. (36:00)

DS:      When they came, they condemned these houses even though you were living in them? To put up a garage?

ML:     I was on Fourth Street. I was at Fourth and Pine at that time.

DS:      Oh.

ML:     My husband had gotten sick. I’ve forgotten what was the matter with him. He wasn’t working. They put us [into] the projects down at Fourth and Washington Avenue. That’s where they threw us, and we were fit to be tied. Fit to be tied. I lived at Fourth and Pine. I was a stone’s throw away from church. Now that’s all built up. [There] used to be a dry cleaner on one side; a little luncheonette on the other side. [Laughs] Oh, for goodness sake.

DS:      When the Redevelopment Authority came in, they wanted to put up this garage. Did they condemn the houses that were on Stamper Street? (37:00)

ML:     I don’t remember that. At that time, I was living at Fourth and Pine Streets.

[At the request of the narrator, a section of the narrative has been omitted from this transcript]

ML:     Do you think that would be enough for today? I’m really tired.

DS:      Yes, yes.

[Tape is turned off]

DS:      The date is September 12, 2005. The interview is with Minnie Lincoln and Patsy Stevenson. You can tell us about the ferry. (42:00)

ML:     They used to have a ferry that you go down to Chestnut Street and it would take you over to New Jersey. Five cents. Actually, they collected ten cents: five cents over, five cents back. They took cars, and the people would sit around. We used to go over there all the time, because we had what they called blue laws on Sunday. Everything [in Pennsylvania] was shut down tight. If you were going to do anything, you had to go to Jersey or go down to Atlantic City. There was nothing else to do. All the department stores were closed, grocery stores. Either you went to church and stayed all day or you just took yourself a walk. (43:00)

DS:      You told me that you would go to church pretty much all day, didn’t you?

ML:     We would go to Sunday school, maybe go upstairs to the regular service, come back at six o’clock, stay for about an hour or two. That would more or less take your whole day.

DS:      But now, South Street would have been open, right?

ML:     South Street. How can I say South Street? We had all kinds of stores. We had baby stores, we had dress stores, we had restaurants, we had – what else did we have? We had coat stores –

PS:      Flower shops, bridal shops.

ML:     Bridal shops. Men’s stores. We had three movies: we had the Palace at Third (44:00) and South; we had the Model at Fifth and South; we had the Rexy at Sixth and South. We also had another movie called the Three Threes at Third and Market, so we had four movies.

DS:      All this would be closed on Sunday?

ML:     Yes, yes.

DS:      Even though it was owned by Jewish people?

ML:     Talking about the Jewish people on South Street: if you walked out on South Street, say you wanted to buy a hat. At that time, you went in, (45:00) you sat down, they put the hat on your head. When you left you had a hat box and the hat; not today. You wanted a coat, they would more or less pull you in. “Oh, have we got a coat for you. We’ve just the right – Oh, you’ve gotta come in. Oh, it’s stunning. You look beautiful. Oh, come over here. Doesn’t she look lovely? Oh, that fits you to a T.” [Laughs] That’s how it was on South Street. Then you’d have to go in and, we used to say, “Jew them down.” They would say, “$50 for the coat.” “Oh, that’s too much. That’s (46:00) too much.” “Well, how about $45?” “Oh, I don’t know if I like the coat that much.” When they finally got it down to maybe $40, then you bought the coat. That’s what they used to do. They used to bring you in. [Inaudible] I remember this little store; it was a baby store. David was little at that time. I went in to buy him an outfit and I didn’t like the outfit. It was a jacket and pants and a yellow top. I said, “Do you have anything else?” She said, “Oh, this is nice. The price is right.” Later on, she called me, and she had empty boxes. She only had a couple things when they started out. Do you remember her? (47:00)

PS:      Yes, I remember her.

ML:     From that time on, any time I went into the store, she gave me a discount. She was a foreign lady, yes, she was foreign.

PS:      Where American Pie was before they moved up to Seventh and South Streets, it used to be her clothing store, a couple of stores from Araback.

ML:     Right. Araback used to be real expensive. What was happening at the shoe store? (48:00)

PS:      Between the grandmother and grandfather, when they had the antiques store at Third and –

ML:     They had the shoe store, then they had the baby store –

PS:      But what was the name of the store? Do you remember?

ML:     What store?

PS:      Their store. Was it called Happies?

ML:     They’d slide on the ladder [that] used to be on the top. You went in there for shoes, and the grandmother or grandfather would be up on the thing and slide the whole thing like a library. You know like those library slides? They would get the shoes down, one pair – one box of shoes. It might have two different shoes in it. Then he’d start hollering (49:00) at her; she’d start hollering at him. They’d try to find the mate to the shoe. But, they were very cheap. Now their granddaughter has the store at Fourth and South.

PS:      [Inaudible]

ML:     Yes.

PS:      Is she still there?

ML:     Yes. One of the sisters, I don’t know.

PS:      Right, right.

ML:     Then we used to have My Lady on the corner. We had a corset shop. We had a hat store. Oh, I already said about that.

PS:      Five and Dime.

ML:     And then we had –

PS:      [Inaudible] Pool Room.

ML:     Right. Then we had Woolworth’s.

PS:      Herby and Gertie’s. (50:00)

ML:     Oh, that’s right. That’s right. Then we had –

PS:      Stan’s. Stan’s. Kellem’s. [Inaudible] Kellem’s.

ML:     Oh, yes.

PS:      Kellem’s was a delicatessen; Third and South Streets.

ML:     [There] used to be an old man would be out there with the horseradish and he would grind it down for you. In fact, he just died a couple years ago. He also used to be outside of Famous [delicatessen]. He used to be out there to grind my horseradish. [Laughs]

PS:      But Kellem’s was the place to go.

ML:     Right.

PS:      People that went came from the Northeast – came down to Kellem’s before Famous. (51:00)

ML:     Right, right.

PS:      They came to Kellem’s.

ML:     Who else would we have? Five bakers. We had five bakers at one time. We had Teitelbaum’s that made the best birthday cakes.

PS:      That was at Second and South.

ML:     We had a bakery at Fourth and South. We had two bakeries on Fourth Street.

PS:      One on Fourth and [Inaudible].

ML:     We had, right on Fifth Street, Blelski. My father used to go for day-old bread. He’d buy fresh bread for us and day-old bread for him.

PS:      And pickles. (52:00)

ML:     My father used to work when he retired. He used to take your rags, the old papers, [Laughs] sell them and then she’d get ice cream and stuff on the way back, right?

PS:      He used to sing to me. What was that song he used to sing? Nickel in your pocket [inaudible].

ML:     [Inaudible] in the middle, between the rags and the paper. [Laughs]

PS:      Graver, at Third and Stamper, the cleaners. (53:00)

ML:     Graver. He was a tailor, and he rented rooms upstairs. At that time, we didn’t know it, but it was a house of ill repute. [Laughs]

DS:      Who is this?

PS:      Graver’s, the tailor shop, right at the corner of Third and Stamper Streets.

ML:     You could get your pants taken care of and anything else. [Laughs]

PS:      Well, I didn’t know about that.

ML:     We didn’t know about it.

DS:      Was that when you were growing up or [inaudible]?

ML:     When we were little. Well, I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t know anything. A lot (54:00) of people were going up and down, but what did I know? I thought it was a boarding house with visitors coming. [Laughs] And then my school used to be Wharton School where St. Peter’s is.

DS:      The parking lot?

ML:     Yes, that used to be my school. I used to go there. My kindergarten teacher was Miss Rutt.

DS:      Rutt?

ML:     R-u-t-t. Miss Rutt. She was the best.

PS:      I had her, too.

DS:      Did you?

ML:     Patsy had her. My son David had her. Bruce was supposed to have her, too, but he (55:00) had to go to – What was that school?

PS:      St. Mary’s.

ML:     He had to go to St. Mary’s.

PS:      Miss Rutt, every single child that went through her class got a pair of hand-made mittens.

ML:     Christmas time –

PS:      If there was twenty kids in the class, everyone got a pair of mittens.

ML:     You walked up and you picked what kind you liked – red ones, green ones, yellow ones. She was an old maid, but she was just wonderful, a wonderful teacher. All of the (56:00) children that she had were her children. When I took David the first day, she said, “Mothers, stay in the back. Don’t run out right away. Let them get used to being here.” David had a cowboy shirt on, the little thing, and he got cut on his chin, remember?

PS:      No, I don’t remember.

ML:     I had to run him to Dr. –

PS:      Jaffe?

ML:     No, no.

PS:      Zubrow?

ML:     Zubrow. They put a butterfly on his chin.

PS:      Right. (57:00)

ML:     At that time, when you went to the doctor, no appointment, no referrals, no papers. You just walked right in.

PS:      There were ten kids; it was one place. It was one kid or ten kids or five –

ML:     When we went in, they would move. Everybody said, “Let him go in. Let him go in.” We went in first. [Inaudible]

DS:      Where was he located?

PS:      523 Pine. Right? 521 Pine. (58:00)

ML:     Right. We had three doctors. We had Dr. Zubrow, Dr. Jaffe, and what was the other one? When most of the women got sick –

PS:      I don’t remember. I remember Dr. Jaffe and Dr. Zubrow.

DS:      Dr. Marvel?

ML:     Marvel was later.

PS:      Marvel was where Dr. Jaffe used to be.

ML:     What was the name of that other doctor? Because remember when we all got sick –

PS:      I don’t remember.

ML:     – And we sent for him to come over, and he wouldn’t come over?

PS:      Dr. Owens?

ML:     No. (59:00)

PS:      He lived in a wheel chair, right? Owens lived next door –

ML:     No, this was –

PS:      411 Pine.

ML:     Remember, we sent you. “Pats, go and get the doctor. You come back –“

DS:      Dr. Love?

ML:     No.

PS:      No, that was the minister from Old Pine.

ML:     The doctor would not come. Mr. and Mrs. Hires had moved to the neighborhood. That was the name. They always sat in the last pew. Mr. and Mrs. Hires.

PS:      Richardson? (60:00)

ML:     I don’t remember the name. They lived up on Spruce, about Sixth and Spruce, and when she came back and said the doctor wouldn’t come, they got so angry. They were a neighbor of the doctor’s; they went over and they brought him back.

PS:      Dr. Schwartz?

ML:     I can’t remember his name. Mr. Lutt took sick. At that time, I lived at Fourth and Pine Streets. We had Walton, and she ran over, and she says to me, “Dr. Schwartz got sick. (61:00) Do you have smelling salts?” That’s when I went over. He felt good enough to come upstairs, but you had to go all the way upstairs. By the time he walked upstairs, that was it. He collapsed. That’s when we sent you for the doctor. I can’t remember how old you were. You were little. I’m trying to think how old you could have been.

DS:      So, did he die? (62:00)

ML:     Yes, yes. He did die.

PS:      He was a magician.

ML:     Oh, he was [inaudible]

Male voice:     I’m going.

DS:      Fine.

[Side two of the tape]

ML:     I was telling her about vacation Bible school and what we had to do before we could get in. We had to recite a Bible verse. It couldn’t be, “He wept” or –

PS:      It couldn’t be the smallest one.

ML:     Right. We’d be out there in the street, and you had to recite a verse before you could get in.

PS:      Yes, and he would say, “You can’t say, ‘Jesus wept.’” (1:00)

ML:     You couldn’t say, “For God –“

PS:      “ … so loved the world.”

ML:     That gave you – the door opened. Then you went in there and you had to do different things and you’d get prizes and you would get stars. So many stars, you got to camp. At that time, we had people upstairs that would sponsor you. Say, “I’ll send five.” “I’ll send two.” We didn’t have to pay. When David had to go, I found out I had to pay. [Laughs] You had to pay, too, right, Pats?

PS:      No, I went for free from church. You mean, when my kids went?

ML:     Well, you paid for yours.

PS:      Oh, yeah, I paid for my kids.

ML:     I paid for David.

PS:      When I was from church –

ML:     In fact, I even sent Bruce and David to the Salvation Army for a week. I had to pay. I thought it was a lot of money: $50 for the two, $25 apiece, plus spending money. (2:00) When I told somebody I paid, they says, “You didn’t pay. Salvation Army takes people for free.” I says, “Well, not for me. Not for me.”

PS:      All right, Salvation Army. Do you remember that Salvation Army used to have the people at Second and South?

ML:     Yes, that’s what I’m getting to now.

PS:      They would play music, and they had a tambourine and they would be singing—

ML:     That’s what I’m going to tell her. The Salvation Army – I can’t remember. It was Friday night or Saturday night. They’d play the drums, dum dum dum dum dum dum. That way everybody would run to Second and South. They would come and they’d beat the drum and play the songs. We’d get little song books. We’d sing and they’d say a little prayer, a little sermon and all. Black, white, Italian, Jewish.

PS:      They’d have their full uniforms [on].

ML:     Right.

PS:      Salvation Army uniforms.

ML:     With the bonnets on and all. And everybody went. Remember, Pats? It made no difference, because that was really something. (3:00)

DS:      They would collect money? Was this a fund raiser?

PS:      This was every week. It was just like – a donation.

ML:     We would run! We would run down there to the Salvation Army. [They] used to have different little classes.

PS:      What at Fourth and Lombard? Was that the Salvation Army next to the, like, – you know – Jack’s had the –

ML:     No, Salvation Army –

PS:      The aquarium thing on Fourth and Lombard, on the corner. There was something where they used to have a tambourine, and they had music and –

ML:     I don’t remember that, Patsy.

PS:      A couple of doors from the corner.

ML:     They used to have that one big place where you went up the steps –

PS:      Remember where the Sawyers lived?

ML:     Yes.

PS:      The Sawyers lived next to where St. Peter’s wall is.

ML:     Right.

DS:      St. Peter’s wall?

PS:      On Fourth Street, the wall comes all the way over, like to the end of the cemetery. There used to be a couple houses; there was a storefront. They used to have some kind of revival thing, where people used to come and sing and hallelujah. Remember that? (4:00)

ML:     Not really.

PS:      Marion Bank was on the corner of Fourth and Lombard.

ML:     Yes.

PS:      It was all marble front, the bank.

ML:     Yes. At Second and Pine, that bank was beautiful until they renovated it. Do you remember it, Pats? Second and Pine?

PS:      I do. Yes, I do.

ML:     It was gorgeous.

DS:      Was it?

ML:     Oh, beautiful, ‘till they renovated it.

PS:      Well, they said the reason they did that was because they were afraid if somebody came in to rob them they could just jump over the – because it was round, all round marble, and the tellers were on the inside. Now, where the wall is behind them, people can jump over, but they can’t get out.

ML:     Remember, we used to go to camp?

DS:      Where was the camp? (5:00)

ML:     Downingtown. Paradise Farm. I went, Patsy’s mother went, my two boys went, Pat went, her children went. One of these days I’m hoping somebody’ll take me back there, because – what was his name, now, the director of the camp? He said he would like to have some old people from way back tell how it was. When I went we had no swimming pool. We had these big, long cabins. It was –

PS:      The cabins are still there.

ML:     Big long ones.

PS:      Yes. Tom Clover, Valley View.

ML:     On the porch was a little chipped brown basin, and that was your wash basin. Then you had like little holes in the wall, and that was your closet. Whatever number you were that was your bed, your basin, and your closet. Remember? We used to go swimming. We used to have to get sticks and went down a hill to the creek. We had to chase the cows out to go into the water.

PS:      When I went – (6:00)

ML:     I used to walk like this. I used to say, “Oh, Ethel, Ethel, they frighten me.” [Laughs]

PS:      When I went, we had the pool, but we didn’t have a place for church. We used to have to push the cows out of the pasture and go to the church in the woods. We used to sit on the old trees. They were cut down, and we would sit on the trees. We had to push the cows away – you know, we’re giving our age away. [Laughs]

ML:     There were three camps. The girls’ was on one hill. The boys’ – what was the name of the boys?

PS:      Weitzel?

ML:     Weitzel. Then the mothers’ camp; we never got near the mothers. We would go over to the boys’ camp, and they would put a play on or something. [The boys] would come over; we would have a play. Not too long ago I asked Ethel. She was a tomato. I can remember. She had this little red outfit on. And I said to her, “What was I, Ethel? (7:00) What was Dorothy?” Dorothy couldn’t remember, and I couldn’t remember. To this day I can’t remember. All I can remember [is] that Ethel was a tomato.

PS:      You and her got in trouble all the time, and Dorothy used to sneak your food 

ML:     Yes.

PS:      What about Stanfield Playground?

ML:     Oh, that was at Front and Lombard, and it used to be a hill that went down.

DS:      To the river. (8:00)

ML:     It was a hill. Yeah. And it was a railroad tracks. Then you went a little further to Front Street, it was the produce places…. And the playground, we used to go there all the time.

PS:      What was Rose from the Towers? What was her name, the butcher lady? [Rose Beck]

ML:     She had had a butcher shop and Second and South.

PS:      Yes. She was in the market first. Then she moved across the street, where Bridget Foy’s is. Then a guy, a Jewish guy, had a grocery store, but then she did the butchering in the back.

ML:     In the back. That’s right.

PS:      What was her name, do you remember?

ML:     All I know is Rose.

PS:      Her husband was a fireman. [Frank Beck]

ML:     Right. What was the other butcher, up the street?

PS:      Sam.

ML:     Sam. We had plenty of butcher shops.

PS:      After the market closed.

ML:     Right, right.

PS:      Then it became an Acme.

ML:     I did tell her the Headhouse used to be like Reading Terminal. We used to have two of them. They used to go from Pine to Lombard, Lombard to South. And you’d go in there, you could buy one egg, two eggs, right?

PS:      Um hum. [9:00]

ML:     And then on Fourth Street it used to be all pushcarts. We used to have – not right on the corner, I think two doors down, was live chickens in the crates. And you’d go in there and pick one out, take it to the back, and the rabbi would kill it and clean it and all. Then you had all these pushcarts with all the vegetables and everything.

DS:      What part of Fourth is this?

ML:     This is from Third—

PS:      No, from South Street –

ML:     From South Street.

PS:      On Fourth Street from South—

ML:     To about Fifth Street, maybe, both sides.

PS:      It was on Fourth Street.

ML:     Yes.

PS:      It was on Fourth Street. It wasn’t on South Street, the carts. Well, maybe when you were little. But when I was little it was from Fourth and South to maybe Bainbridge –

ML:     It was on both sides of the street –

PS:      – And then it was from Bainbridge to Monroe [on Fourth Street], from Monroe. Then they had clothes outside.

ML:     Right.

PS:      They had a guy with shoes outside. Where the material stores are.

DS:      Today. (10:00)

PS:      Maybe people rented – they might have rented a little stall and have it outside or something.

ML:     Tell her about Fifth Street, Oh, it used to be all linen places.

PS:      I did tell her about that.

ML:     Linen places and all. Princess Grace used to come down and buy her linens. The nuns used to come down and buy linens.

PS:      Well, anybody could go and buy –

ML:     Anybody could come.

PS:      Bowlins at Third and Market.

ML:     That’s right. We used to go there all the time.

PS:      That was a wholesale place.

DS:      For what?

PS:      They had dresses. They had linens. You know, you could buy a dozen sheets if you wanted, a dozen towels, pillow cases. Then later on, he went to high-class dresses. You could go and buy dresses there; maybe $300 in New York, $35 here. [Laughs]

ML:     Front and Market had – what was it – Shane’s was down there. At one time, they had a couple of apes. The guy took David and Bruce there.

PS:      Third and Market; used to be a pet shop.

ML:     I took them down there. By the time we started to go home to get to Fourth Street (11:00) [one day] it started to pour, so we stopped near Novelty Store. [A toy store on the east side of Third Street, just south of Market Street.]  

PS:      Do you remember?

DS:      I remember Novelty

ML:     We were huddled there, waiting, and the man came out, and said, “What’s the matter?” I said, “Oh, we’re trying to get to Fourth Street, to get the Fourth Street [trolley] car, because I live at Fourth and Pine.” He said, “I’ll take you home. Get in the car.” [Laughs] [We] jumped in the car and [he] took us home. I got upstairs, and Howard says to me, “What are you crazy or what?”

PS:      How many Horn and Hardart’s were there on Market Street?

ML:     We used to have one at Second and Market, Fifth and Market, Eighth and Market, Thirteenth and Market.

PS:      We had Second and Market.

ML:     Chestnut.

PS:      We had one between Second and Third and Market, right where Newburgers was. Eventually it became a –

ML:     That’s where I used to go to eat when I worked in –

PS:      It became a hardware store. It still has the sign, Horn and Hardart’s, up top. (12:00)

ML:     Right.

PS:      And then a Horn and Hardart’s automat at Fourth and Market.

ML:     That’s where – we used to go to the one on Second Street.

PS:      Then there was one at Fifth and Market, on the south side of the street.

ML:     Then there was one at Eighth and Market, across from Lit Brothers. Then at Thirteenth and Chestnut.

PS:      Juniper and Market. There was a Horn and Hardart’s. You went downstairs next to the movie theater, right? Horn and Hardart’s was the best.

ML:     Oh, I’m telling you.

PS:      Then there was an outlet store at Tenth and Locust.

ML:     Oh, yes.

PS:      And their bakery.

ML:     I used to go to the hospital every Friday and get my allergy shots. I would go Friday, I had, what was it? – a four o’clock appointment. I would wait for the two boys to get out of school, and we would go get my shot, and we would go to Horn and Hardart’s and load up. We (13:00) used to buy all kinds of stuff, pork and beans, macaroni and cheese, and, oh – what was it I used to love?—Hungarian goulash.

PS:      Salisbury steak, creamed spinach.

ML:     We used to load up. Get a couple of pies.

PS:      Crab cakes.

ML:     Oh, yes, oh, yes, that’s good times. You’re bringing back a lot of good times, Pats.

PS:      When you worked in Cherrydale –

ML:     Oh, I was pregnant. I worked at Cherrydale.

PS:      Cherrydale Farms, the candy store, at Fourth and Market.

ML:     Well, there was a lot of Italian people there. They would bring their lunch and they had a little table where you would sit. I would walk by and look. Oh, my goodness. “Sit down here.” (14:00) You looked at the food. You have to eat something. I didn’t have to bring no lunch, because all I had to do was look at somebody’s lunch, [Inaudible] because I might give them the bad eye, or some kind of omen. Very superstitious.

DS:      Because you were pregnant?

ML:     Yes. All I had to do was look at somebody – you know, when you walked past? “Come here, come here. Eat this. Eat this.” Oh, my God. It’s a wonder I didn’t blow up.

[At the request of the narrator, a section of the narrative has been omitted from this transcript]

PS:      Third floor. On the second floor was the big guy used to sit there with the big candy thing dipping the chocolates.

PS:      Did you tell her about Whitman’s? You were standing in line on your lunch hour and coming home selling a five-pounds of candy for fifty cents? (17:00)

ML:     Oh. I worked at Whitman’s for a while. And all the neighbors would say – and they used to sell five pounds –

PS:      You and Dorothy?

ML:     Right. Five pounds for fifty cents. You had to fill out a paper how many pounds you wanted and they would take it out of your pay. You didn’t have to pay for it then. After you got done working, you had to stand in line to get the candy. Sometimes you’d get fifteen pounds, sometimes twenty pounds. We walked home from Third and Race to Stamper Street, sweating, tired. Whoever you gave the candy to, they gave you fifty cents (18:00) and that was it. At that time my mother and my aunt was living with us. My aunt sat me down. She said, “Listen to me. This is not good. You work all day, stand in line, carry the candy. They only give you fifty cents. Not good. Not good at all. I’ll take over. You bring the candy home, and I will sell it.” She was selling it for, what, a dollar?

PS:      I forget, but I remember –

ML:     A dollar and a quarter?

PS:      – you were giving up your whole lunch hour.

ML:     She said to me, “This is not right. They don’t even offer –.” She said, “Don’t forget, you gotta stand in line. You gotta carry it, after working all day. And then you carry it, all sweated up.” And everything else. It was cold in the place. You’d have a sweater on and a little hat on and everything. I’d come out and it would be hot. I’d come back red as can be. My aunt said, “No, no, no, no, no. This will not do. This will not do.” Then there used to be Zipkin’s on Fourth Street. (19:00) They used to go to New York and buy clothes. Dorothy, Ethel and I used to go over there, and he would show us what he brought from New York and all.

PS:      That was between South and Bainbridge.

ML:     Right. We would pick something out and instead of paying the whole thing, we would pay each week so much. When you’d paid for the dress, you took it out. He had lovely stuff. Back when Marie was getting married, we went over there, and he brought us, I think, three different kind of dresses [that] we wore to Marie’s wedding. We went to Washington when she got married.

PS:      It was at Fourth and Kater, across from that bakery. Wasn’t that where his store was?

ML:     No, a little further up. You’re talking about the two brothers.

PS:      I’m not talking about the two brothers. I’m talking about – (20:00)

ML:     The two brothers was at Fourth and Kater with the clothes.

PS:      Where was the place you’re talking about?

ML:     He had a regular store, a little further up. Fourth and Kater is where Dorothy used to go a lot to buy her cotton dresses.

PS:      No, that was the two brothers next door.

ML:     That was the two brothers?

PS:      And next door was –

ML:     I used to get stuff from Zipkin, because they would go to New York and buy stuff and all.

PS:      What Phillies player used to work in Foremost? Do you remember? There used to be a couple of Phillie players that lived up in the Northeast that worked at Foremost because you didn’t make that much money as a player in the fifties.

ML:     Right, right. But at that time, neighbors were neighbors. Like on Stamper Street, if somebody got laid off or was sick or something, all the neighbors got together. They paid your rent. They went out. Who made a pot of soup? Who brought a loaf of bread? Who brought this? (21:00) Who brought that? And you were taken care of. Neighbors were neighbors then.

DS:      What was your address on Stamper?

ML:     We were 214. No, no, 216. We were two different houses, Pats. You don’t remember. We were 214 –

PS:      Dorothy lived at 214.

ML:     All right, then we was 212, Dorothy was 214. Then we moved to 216, because then we had the alley.

PS:      Right, the alley was next to us.

ML:     We had the alley. I was telling her how we used to pass sandwiches and pickles between the fence. It used to be a little opening. [Laughs]

PS:      A little hole.

ML:     Even Bobby to this day – he said to me the last time I saw him, he said, (22:00) “I wish you could tell me the recipe for the pickles, because I’m dying for your mother’s pickles.” My mother used to have little wooden buckets; they would put pickles in there and tomatoes. And my mother went next door to Dorothy’s mother and showed her how to make stuffed cabbage and pierogis and all.

PS:      Nobody had a recipe, because you weren’t allowed in the kitchen.

ML:     No, I got chased out all the time.

PS:      That’s what I’m saying.

ML:     That’s why I can’t cook today. [Laughs]

DS:      So, you don’t know what she put in the little round – [pieces of dough to stuff].    

ML:     A nurse in the hospital was telling me that her (23:00) parents would put prunes, they put cheese, they put anything you want, she said. I told her, “My mother used to do a lot with the cheese.” Potatoes.

PS:      She would take farmer’s cheese. She used to get it from the market and hang it in a sheepskin. What do you call it? Cheesecloth. She’d hang it in cheesecloth overnight, and all the water would come out of it, then she would squeeze it and mix it with egg and salt and pepper and something—

ML:     They [pierogies] were delicious.

PS:      Cabbage. Sauerkraut.

ML:     … Any time we had them Dorothy and Ethel would say, “Can you give me a pierogi? Can you give me a holubtsi?”

DS:      A what?

ML:     Easter time. A holubtsi.

PS:      Holubtsi.

ML:     Yes. That’s the cabbage.

PS:      Stuffed cabbage roll.

PS:      … Do you remember Mr. Block?

ML:     Yes, the paperhanger.

DS:      Do you want to tell us about that?

ML:     He was a paperhanger. He lived on Third Street, past – Third and Pine, about two doors away from the Kosciuszko House. Right? (25:00)

PS:      I kind of thought he lived closer to Delancey Street, like where Gail Trimble is. [326 South Third Street.]

ML:     It was Gronik’s – [a grocery store on South Third Street, between Pine and Delancey]

PS:      One of those little houses.

ML:     It was Gronik’s Grocery, Chinese laundry, where you lived, Mr. Block –

PS:      I thought Mr. Block lived next door to Helen Reed.

ML:     On the other side, it could have been.

PS:      OK, that’s what I’m saying, closer I think to Delancey.

ML:     Because across the street was the funeral – what was the name?

ML:     Ebbett’s.

PS:      Ebberts, which is now on Fourth Street.

ML:     Right. And I – who was it – it was Catherine and her mother – I can’t remember their names.

PS:      When she was married she was Catherine Fusco, but I don’t know what her name was –

ML:     And when they would have – they used to have to do the hair and all. She would (26:00) call me if I was over with Patsy with her mother across the street. She’d say, “Oh, Min, come on over. We’ve got another body. Wanna come over? I’m gonna do the hair and all.” I used to go over. Remember? [laughs] I said, “Oh, Lordy.”

PS:      Well, there was a lot of Jewish undertakers, too, on Pine Street.

ML:     We had, yes, yes.DS:  How about a Mrs. Cohen who had an office in her basement? She lived on Third Street right south of Pine? And she used to get jobs for women to go clean offices and so forth? Mrs. Cohen?

PS:      My mother used to clean offices –

ML:     I don’t remember that. But it used to be one, two, three – I think four of them. Mrs. Begotzky, who was the other two?

PS:      Baskin? Baskin’s mother. (27:00)

ML:     And there was another one, Maggie Somebody. I can’t remember her name. It was four of them. And they would meet, and they would go to work, and coming home they would all come home together. They would be done at like midnight. They would go after the offices were closed and clean and all. Used to be four of them.

PS:      What was the name of the insurance company, do you remember, at Fourth and Walnut? Where the park is now used to be insurance companies.

ML:     That’s where Jerry used to work.

PS:      Where you would wait for the 50 trolley. There was no park there. That used to be a big building there, an insurance company.

ML:     That’s where Jerry worked, at Fourth.

PS:      Really?

ML:     Jerry.

PS:      I’ll have to ask him what the name of the place was.

ML:     He could tell you the name.

DS:      Now, you were talking about the ferry during your time, from Chestnut – (28:00) …

PS:      But I thought there was a ferry on South Street.

ML:     No, no. Chestnut Street. And I think they were discontinued about 1963, I think. If I remember correctly.

DS:      The ferries start.

ML:     It was 1963.

PS:      I thought Dorothy said there was a ferry on South Street, used to come over.

DS:      Right. Bring the farmers and their stuff from New Jersey?

ML:     Might be, but I don’t remember. I just remember Chestnut Street.

PS:      I just remember, when I was little, going to Riverview Beach. 

ML:     Oh, we used to have – it used to be called Lizzie? The Lizzie boat? It was free. You went on there, and they took you over to – was it Red Bank?

PS:      I don’t remember.

ML:     You got milk. You got crackers.

DS:      Soup?  (29:00)

ML:     Soup. A little bit of soup. You played for a while. You come back. It was all free. Later on they had the Wilson Line, but you had to pay. And they took you to –

PS:      Riverview Beach.

ML:     Riverview Beach. That’s right.

PS:      An amusement park; a place where you swam.

ML:     Right, right, right.

DS:      That was at Riverview Beach?

PS:      Yes.

ML:     Right.

DS:      What was at Red Bank that you did there? You said you’d play? Was there a pool?

ML:     I don’t remember. I don’t think it was a pool. I think it was swings and stuff like that. And then you got a little bit of soup, you got –

PS:      I remember going someplace that once you got there, you went on like little boats and –

ML:     That had to be Riverview Beach.

PS:      No, not them kind of boats. I’m saying in like some kind of a lake or something, where you had like canoes or a rowboat or something. There was a lily pond and that kind of stuff. (30:00) Do you remember that, where the frogs would be jumping on the lily pond?

ML:     No, that would be – what do you call the place? – Longwood Gardens.

PS:      No.

ML:     You don’t remember going there?

PS:      That was later, though. We’re talking about the old days. We’re not talking about new days.

DS:      So, what period are you talking about? You’re talking about –

PS:      Like the ‘50s. Early ‘50s.

DS:      Early ‘50s? You’d be a teenager or a young child?

PS:      I was like ten or eleven.

DS:      Ten or eleven?

ML:     She’s got a good memory.

DS:      Yes.

PS:      I was going to name all the people from Second and Pine all the way up to Sixth Street.

ML:     She could tell you their names and –

DS:      Second and Pine?

PS:      From Second and Pine, I can name different people that lived along the way.

DS:      Go ahead. Starting at Second and Pine. (31:00)

PS:      Second and Pine, there was Mary Cieslak and her daughter Janie and her son Joe.

DS:      Now we’re going up Pine?

PS:      Yes, 227 was Bobby Burton with his sister Madge, and his mother was Helen. Father’s name was David. His grandmother was Pauline. Then we had the Wizmers, which was Barbara, Ann and Allen Wizmer. Then it was the Singers, which was – I don’t know the names of all of the Singers – there was Harry and Bertha and Dorothy and who else of the Singers?

DS:      Vicky?

PS:      Vicky. Vicky was, I think, the last one to die in the family.

ML:     Right, right.

PS:      Then it was –

ML:     They used to take in the seamen.

PS:      Camaratas. Then it was Bolche and his wife Pat. Then it was Ericsons: his son’s name was Raymond and Martin was the father. And what was the mother’s name? (32:00)

ML:     [Inaudible] he used to be the bartender?

PS:      Yes, at Mary’s Bar. That was his wife’s bar.

ML:     That was down on Second.

PS:      Then it was Joseph Cambarata. Then it was Barbara William [Inaudible]. Then it was Johnny Ranieri. Then the 300 block: Libby Levin’s grandmother. Then it was Stephen Berger. Then it was Sonny [Inaudible]. Then, I think, it was Joan – what was the name – Yaworski. Then after Jaworski, it was Carole Abercauph.

ML:     Yes.

PS:      Then it was the Ottavianos, Joe and Mary and then sons, Bobby and Joe. Then it (33:00) was Sophie and Fred and Freddy and Phyllis and Susan [Ottaviano].

ML:     Sophie’s still with us.

PS:      The 400 block: Astorias on the corner; what do you call it, the Spanish record place, music and all that. Near Fifth and Pine it was –

ML:     Astorias.

PS:      I said Astorias. Then 423 Pine it was a Jewish undertaker, where it was Tina Stanlow and her mother. The father worked for the older Jewish woman. They had the undertaker. She had a brother. I can’t think of the name. I lived at 505 Pine. Then Dr. Gantsby, a dentist. Then there was a club downstairs. It was a cab lot at Fifth and Pine, between Fifth and Sixth. Then it was Dr. Zubrow at 521. Libby Levin’s family (34:00) lived at 523. The Rollings lived at 525; it was Maxine, Ann and Marilyn. Father, I think, had a chicken place here at Second and Pine. Then it was Dr. Binder, a dentist.

ML:     No, Binder was a baby doctor.

PS:      I mean Brenner, Dr. Brenner. Dr. Brenner was the dentist at about 531. Then the Maypows, an ear, nose and throat specialist; they had a son, Gary, and a daughter, Cheryl Maypow. Then Sandy Platt. Phyllis Goldberg lived on the opposite side. Then it was Levis’s Hot Dogs, where the brother had a – a big, heavyset brother, I think his name was maybe Ben, I’m not even sure. Levis. Had a dispute with the brother. Then Stan’s on the (35:00) corner [of] Sixth and Pine; Manny’s on the west side of the street. Then Anita lived, Michael Rubin lived, the Pollises lived. At Seventh and Pine was Orkin’s Drugstore, Lance and Neil Orkin; and the grandmother. I can’t remember exactly what their names were.

DS:      Starr Garden wasn’t there?

PS:      Starr Garden was on Lombard Street. This is on Pine Street.

DS:      That’s right.

PS:      At Fifth and Pine, there was another Jewish undertaker. Then the Jewish synagogue, where I used to turn the lights out for the cantor on a Friday night. There was the cab lot. There was the Jewish newspaper, I think on Fifth Street.

ML:     You’re right, Pats.

PS:      On Fifth Street, there was a Jewish newspaper. (36:00)…. Then there was Leon and Harry’s Bar, where they had a Businessman Lunch; different people, business offices, banks, whatever, came for a hot roast beef sandwich and potato salad, and a Jewish pickle on the side.

ML:     Don’t forget the pickle. [Laughs]

PS:      What else was there?

ML:     If you go to a delicatessen, you always have to have a pickle on the side. If you don’t have that pickle it’s not – the plate is not complete. Sandwich has to have a pickle.

PS:      I swear, [Richardson] Dilworth lived on Third and Pine for a while.

ML:     Could have been, because he had that house. They built that house.

PS:      Yes, but I think he lived at Third and Pine when I was little; unless he visited somebody frequently. [Laughs] (37:00)

DS:      It’s possible.

ML:     Isn’t she good?

DS:      She’s good.

PS:      It was the TB Hospital at Third and Pine, but then it became the Priory.

DS:      Third and Pine?

ML:     Third and Pine.

PS:      236. What was her name? Mrs. –

DS:      Lemmer?

PS:      Lemmer. Yes, where Lemmer lived. [On Front Street at Pine Street; the back of the property was on Stamper Street.]

ML:     I lived on that street [Stamper Street]. When we would go out on the street, there used to be all these young people up on the roof there, very sick. When they died, they used to bring them out, instead of Pine Street they used to –

PS:      Out by Dorothy’s front door [on Stamper Street].

ML:     – They would be wrapped in this like brown paper. I used to get so scared and say, “Oh, Lord.”

PS:      You said I used to get puzzles from Cardon’s Box Factory?  (38:00)

ML:     Yes. There used to be a colored man by the name of George Washington; my aunt used to sell him ca—[Laughs]

DS:      Sell him what?

PS:      Candy from Whitman’s. The five-pound job lots.

ML:     She would sell them to the firemen and to the people that worked there. They would knock at the door [knocks on the table] and say, “Oh, Mom, put an order in for a five-pound box of chocolates. How much, Mom?” “A dollar and a quarter.” “That’s good.” You figure, five whole pounds. It was all good candy.

PS:      Yes.

ML:     It was a great big box.

PS:      A brown box.

ML:     I remember Zitkin, when I used to go with these things. They [Whitman’s] used to [give] me a sampler; I forget how much it was. I remember to this day, he only gave me the exact amount; like it was four and a quarter.

PS:      Well, that’s what you charged him, probably. Your ciocia should have (39:00) went with you.

ML:     My aunt would holler at me. She would say, “No, no, no, no, no. That’s not the way you do business.” I’ll tell you another thing she used to say to me. “When you go somewhere, and you’re doing money, you just talk about the money. You do business first, then about something. The insurance man, Joe, used to come in and you’d start to talk. My aunt would say to me, “No, no, no, no, no. You’ll get it mixed up, and he won’t know what will be the right change.”

PS:      What was the name of our milkman? [There were other delivery men who delivered Givella water, sharpened knives, or fixed umbrellas.]

ML:     Harry, I think.

PS:      Jake.

ML:     Jake? I lived at Fourth and Pine –

PS:      Do you remember Jake the milkman used to come? Do you remember the horse and wagon used to come with the ice?

ML:     Yes, I used to live on the second floor; on the bottom was a printing shop. The door never really locked, so when the milkman would come, (40:00) I told him you could open the   door this way without the key. He put the milk on the bottom step. There used to be a     little ledge, [so] I would leave the money there so when he would come to bring the             paper, he would pick up the money. Then we used to have Bond Bread man come. David was a baby at that time, and everybody would just come right up [Laughs] instead of me         running down the steps. He had this little chair that would go up and down, up and down.    So I left the door open. And he would have fell right down [the stairs]. (41:00) Now, the       milkman – this was (41:00) a young fellow –

PS:      No, I’m thinking about Jake. Jake, when I was little, when they used to put the bottles on the step, and the cream would be on the top of the milk. You have that yellow cream on the top of the bottle.

ML:     Because when he found out I had just had the baby, he brought the milk up all the way to the second floor.

PS:      What was the name of the guy used to have the ice cream place on Fourth Street? Slim? Where the carts were? They used to take them to the zoo; they used to take them to the Bourse Building?

ML:     That was on Fourth Street.

PS:      I said, what was the name of the guy that had that, next to Zabers?

ML:     It’s right – Zabers right there –

PS:      Zabers was on the corner of Fourth and Addison.

ML:     Addison Street [between Pine and Lombard Streets, Fourth and Fifth Streets, behind Old Pine Church].

PS:      Addison Street went through to Fifth Street. The Sables lived there; the Belinskys lived there.

ML:     Right. I was telling the people from church that that used to      (42:00) be a street.

PS:      Do you remember where you could go, when you could rent a cart, and they would push ice cream in it. They would sell ice cream out of this pushcart thing?

ML:     Yes.

PS:      What was the name of that store, right there? He had that little – was it Slim?

ML:     I don’t remember.

PS:      The guy that had the bar at Fourth and Gaskill?

ML:     I’m not good with names, Pats. They used to bring ice cream. These little pushcarts –

PS:      Dixie cups. Ice cream.

ML:     You have to buy ice cream for a penny. You got a little tiny cone –

PS:      That was probably before Mister Softee.

ML:     We used to have the guy come with ice and shave the ice and give you different flavors. Remember that?

PS:      Yes. The Italian guy on Third and Gaskill made the best water ice.

ML:     Yes.

PS:      Remember him? With lemon and cherry, you had the big pieces of cherry and big pieces of lemon in there.

ML:     Yes. I’ll tell you who else we had. What was his name? When we were in the school yard, he had a little store. He would come with pretzels and everything.

PS:      What, when David was little? From Bob’s and Mabel’s? (43:00)

ML:     I would say.

PS:      I don’t remember [inaudible]. You’re a little older, hon.

ML:     Dorothy’s mother and my mother would take the baskets and go to Fourth Street to do shopping. They would come back and they would give us an apple or a banana or maybe a little bit of grapes. Then – I can’t think of what his name was – he would come with a basket. He’d have candy, he’d have pretzels.

PS:      What about the guy with the monkey?

ML:     The monkey grinder used to come on South Street.

PS:      The monkey grinder used to come on South Street?

ML:     Right. We used to have that. You know, when you think of it, we had it nice.

PS:      That’s right.

ML:     We had it nice.

PS:      Al Berman’s men’s store. You had – what was the name of that other store on South Street, Sixth and South?

ML:     When you think back, things were so different, Dorothy. I don’t know if I told you. We could go down to the waterfront. Kids used to climb up and dive in and all. Remember?

DS:      Into the river? (44:00)

ML:     Yes. They used to go bless themselves and dive right in. There used to be all kinds of stuff; they might get hit with something.

PS:      Me and Charlotte used to work in the diner on Delaware Avenue.

ML:     Yes.

PS:      What was the name of that place, off of Dock Street, like?

ML:     Then she [Charlotte] came and she worked for Dorothy’s cousin.

PS:      I told her that. He beat her up, and they almost crucified the guy.

ML:     They almost killed him. She was living on Pine Street, on the second floor and I used to go over there. Remember? Butch’s mother used to holler at me, say to me, “You’re walking up and down the steps too many times. You’re making the steps dirty. Blah, blah, blah.”

PS:      She would holler at me, because I used to put my roller skates on in the house, and I would go out on my toes so I wouldn’t scratch up the floor. I would think she wasn’t listening; I’d forget what I was doing and I would roller skate, and she would come out. I almost fell out the front marble steps.

ML:     She used to yell, remember?

PS:      “Patsy, get over here! Put your skates on outside. No more. You can’t take (45:00) them upstairs.” Butch would say, “Mom, that’s a kid; leave her alone.” “No, she’s gonna scratch up the hall.”

ML:     Right.

PS:      “And she’s gonna scratch up my marble steps.”

ML:     Says to me, “How many times you go up and down those steps? Up and down the steps.” When I had to go to the store. “Too many times. Too many times. I don’t want you walking up and down, up and down.” [Laughs]

PS:      Butch would stand with his carnation.

ML:     Right.

PS:      He would stand there with his carnation, and he said, “Oh, Mom, leave them alone.”

ML:     Right. My aunt used to come out and scrub the steps. She would sweep from 216 [Stamper Street] all the way to Dorothy’s and Mrs. Reed’s.

PS:      Um hum. 232 [Stamper Street].

ML:     [She’d] clean all that stuff up. If the kids came and sat on the steps –

PS:      It would be 228.

ML:     Yes. My aunt would come out with a boom and [makes a noise].

PS:      Name the people on Stamper Street, Aunt Min. Name different people on Stamper Street.

ML:     Okay.

PS:      From Second Street on.

ML:     From Second Street?

PS:      Yes.

DS:      Is that where the cardboard place was? (46:00)

PS:      Yes, that was the back of it. Yeah, the back of ________________.

ML:     Start me off. Start me off.

PS:      Luskys.

ML:     Luskys was on that side.

PS:      All right, well start with them. That would –

DS:      On Third Street?

PS:      No, on Second. Second and Stamper, on the same side as Carters would be on Pine. But it would be – in other words, the north side of Stamper Street.

ML:     You start, and I’ll finish.

PS:      All right. Johnny Lusky.

ML:     Okay.

PS:      Red Lusky. It was Red’s.

ML:     Then who was next door? Used to beat the wife up? [Laughs] Would get drunk on Saturday.

PS:      Wait a minute. Misustak.

ML:     Then was the Jewish people.

PS:      Then the fire house. And then it was –

ML:     No, no, no. Dorothy’s aunt was on that side.

PS:      Well, then you –

ML:     She moved up to 228. She was there.

PS:      Okay.

ML:     Then on the other side it was – oh, what was their name? I can see them but I can’t think –

PS:      Toots and Twatty Caracer.

ML:     No, before that.

PS:      Three sons.

ML:     No, before that.

PS:      I don’t remember them.

ML:     Before that; it was Polish people.

PS:      It was Sophie’s family, wasn’t it, that lived there? (47:00)

ML:     Yes, Sophie Ottaviano’s family.

PS:      What was her last name? Sophie’s family?

ML:     I can’t think of it. I’m not good with names. Then it was –

PS:      Twatty –

ML:     That double house. No, before you come to Twatty and Toots, it was another family. Then it was Twatty and Toots –

PS:      Three boys, Tom, Joseph and John.

ML:     Right. Then it was the old couple –

PS:      Then it was Mike, the cop.

ML:     The Rogers.

PS:      Right.

ML:     Then it was –

PS:      Mike, the cop, and Stella.

ML:     Stella. Then after that was – oh, what was her name? Julie Lusky.

PS:      She had the twins, Barbara and –

ML:     Then it was Dorothy –

PS:      Barbara and Patricia, I think. And Joanie was the oldest daughter.

ML:     Then it was Dorothy. Then it was me. Then it was the Abbotts. Then 228 was the Greaves. Then it was the Nolls. Then it was the –

PS:      The Mortons.

ML:     The Mortons. The Nolls. The Neimans. Your mother used to babysit

PS:      OK. Then the Tattoos. (48:00)

ML:     The Tattoos.

PS:      Then the O’Neills.

ML:     The O’Neills. Then –

PS:      It was the Sulligans.

ML:     The Sulligans. Then it was Gravers.

PS:      Gravers.

ML:     House of ill repute.

PS:      OK. The Gravers.

ML:     That was the end of the street then.

DS:      Which side of Stamper was Gravers?

PS:      On the south side.

DS:      The south side.

PS:      Third and Stamper [415 S. Third Street].

ML:     Where that big, beautiful home is now.

PS:      Where – yeah.

DS:      Tell me about the fire station and the men in the fire station.

ML:     Oh, the fire station.

DS:      They used to come in and go out by Pine Street, right?

ML:     Yes.

DS:      It went the whole way through to Stamper Street?

ML:     They used to let us come in and play. In fact, they even put [outside] showers up on the one wall. [The children would wear bathing suits when they used the shower.] I think I told you.

DS:      Yes, you did.

PS:      Now, wasn’t there a firehouse on Third and Delancey, between Third and Fourth?

ML:     I don’t remember that, Patsy. (49:00)

PS:      I kind of think there was.

ML:     No, we had the firehouse there –

DS:      There was a police station.

PS:      There was the police station, and I think there was a firehouse, but I can’t swear by it. You know the Hill Physick House?

DS:      At the fire station, did you interact with the firemen in any other way? I mean, you would have been children playing around?

ML:     We were children. We didn’t bother them. They would come out to do the hoses and all.

PS:      They would hose everything down.

ML:     Right, but that was the only contact we had with them.

DS:      OK. Dorothy Bunting talked about some pool.

[End of Interview]


© 2005 Project Philadelphia 19106™. All rights reserved.

About the Interview

Dorothy Stevens
Cynthia J. Eiseman
Interview Location
341 Garret Street
Interview Date
August 29, 2005 and September 12, 2005
Lincoln, Minnie
Narrator Type
Lifelong Resident
Oral History Sources