My name is Carmela Pollio. I was born on 35th street and 10th avenue and now I live on 43rd street and 10th Avenue. I’m in the same neighborhood all my life, for 85 years. My mother didn’t even read or write, but she had such common sense, she was just a wonderful woman. My father went to work in a chocolate factory. 30th street right off of 10th avenue.
L: What did he do in the chocolate factory?
C: Ahh he mixed cocoa and chocolate. When he came home his hair was all full of chocolate, his pillows were all brown. (laughs)
L: And what was it like when you were growing up?
C: We had nothing. And there was all relatives who lived there. My mother and her sister next door. We had one bathroom. There was 19 people between the two of us.
L: For the one bathroom.
C: For the one bathroom. We couldn’t take a bath in the house we had no bathtub. On 41st street, right off of ninth avenue was the public baths so on the Saturday my mother would give us a towel and a bar of soap and the kids go to 41st street and there was a matron there and she’d see the kids come on, hurry up, take your shower, and run out. The grown ups would go in the bathtub. we couldn’t. We had to take a shower, fast and that’s how we got washed.
L: So how old were you when you first took a bath?
C: When I first took a bath? I guess when oh I was about 18. And we moved to ninth avenue and there was a bathroom in the kitchen then.