OTHER MEMORIES OF OSWEGO
Other memories of the war efforts that we were all involved in were............collecting and crushing tin cans (boy did some of those cans hurt your feet if you didn't stomp on them just right!) and scrap metal which we sold to the "junk man" (he retired early and rich!!), bringing coffee cans of fat renderings to the butcher, collecting "tin foil" and raising our own "Victory Garden"; all to help end the war which my parents figured would be well over by the time my older brother reached "draft age". But it didn't, he went away with the US Artillery to eventually fight the Battle of the Bulge and being awarded a Bronze Star. I remember the cloth flag my mom hung in the window till he came home safe and sound a year after we moved from that location to another house closer to downtown in Oswego. I remember bringing a dime to school every Friday to buy War Stamps, and the rationing books that contained little stamps needed in order to purchase coffee, sugar and other staples. And then of course there were the scary air raid drills when all lights had to be switched off and shades drawn until the all clear. I remember the "V-Air Mail stamps, onion paper for writing on and the censored answers from my brother; and my mother sitting and crying endlessly through the early evenings after reading them. Being Catholic there was the practice of "lighting candles" at church for loved one's safe return and special prayers at Sunday Mass. ( We attended St. Joseph's Catholic Church, one of seven Catholic churches in the cities, mostly attended by those of the ethnic group they belonged.) My Aunt was a "Rosie the Riveter" in the local boiler factory (Fitzgibbons or Ames, can't remember which) which had to be converted in order to produce war tanks. This plant was also close by our modest frame house on the "lake shore (where mostly families of Italian descent lived). I remember the annual parades of WWI vets marching proudly down Bridge Street, the "main drag", ending up at the East Park where there were speeches and gun salutes ( I wish I had kept the spent cartridges we boys scurried to collect after the ceremony was over). These parades continued after the end of the war, when the men who came home safely marched in the parades and the ceremony included homage to those who had fallen and whose names were on a commemorative plaque permanently posted at the park. My Uncle participated in the "D Day" invasion and came home "shell shocked" and finally my brother returned in 1946 a my mom had received a telegram that he was on his way and she was so scared in receiving the news fearing the worse of course, that I had to go to the Western Union office to pick up the paper copy to confirm the news was indeed good.! Wish we still had that telegram too, but the important thing was the war was ended and everyone was happy again, except for families like the Crisafulli's and Quatrini's who lost sons "over here" and whose names became household words and whose local VFW posts bore their names in their titles.
If anyone from Oswego, NY reads this and wishes to E-mail me, it would be fun hearing from you. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Tony Gianetto
Biography of Tony Gianetto, Oswego, NY
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