During the summer of 1938, Paul (R) and James Bizzaro (L) moved with their family to Liberty Island, in the middle of New York Harbor. Their family’s new home was right behind the Statue of Liberty.
At StoryCorps, the brothers sat down to talk about how they ended up spending their childhood in the shadow of Lady Liberty.
Click here for the transcript.
James Bizzaro (JB): Half of the island was for the visitors. The half that we lived in--we had that whole half to us.
PB: But we were allowed to do whatever we wanted. So, we used to go up to the torch.
JB: And if you shook enough, the whole arm would shake.
PB: You could shake the whole arm.
JB: Once my mother walked up, and we shook it.
PB: She never went up again.
JB: We used to go on the ferry to go to school. And I remember Sister Alphonsus Marie--she was tough, like a truck driver.
PB: She gave me a bloody nose one day because I was talking. The only bloody nose I ever had in my life.
JB: She was mean. But she was always talking about the island, so I invited her to come to the Statue, and we climbed the head. And she says, "Oh!" She says, "This is the closest I'm going to get to heaven." But she never treated me any better or any different.
PB: We moved off the island in 1944, but my dad still commuted.
JB: And the way a person knows every corner of his house, he knew every corner of that Statue of Liberty.
PB: When he retired, it took 11 men to replace him. He was the man that kept the Statue lit. The lights, they never went out when he worked.