James Bizzaro and Paul Bizzaro

James (left) and Paul (right) Bizzaro, both in their 80s, grew up in a house behind the Statue of Liberty. Their family moved there in 1937 after their father got a job as a guard.

At the time, James was 6 and Paul was 8, and they had run of the island—even occasionally going up to the torch and shaking Lady Liberty’s whole arm.

Their father soon began working maintenance on the island and eventually became a supervisor before retiring in 1971 after 36 years there.

At StoryCorps, the brothers remember their childhood on what is now called Liberty Island.

Originally aired July 5, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.