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Hofstra University Library Special Collections

Diverse Suburbs Oral History Collection

Theme: Family

Clips from the Patricia Moore Interview


IM: Wow. That's very impressive. Urn, but back to your childhood. So, before your father passed away, what was, what was your life like?

PM: Well, it was pretty much the same as everybody else's. Nobody had any money, urn-

IM: What did your parents do?

PM: My father was an engineer. My mother didn't work. I mean, she worked at home. And, urn, as kids we didn't have cash. Nobody had money.

IM: Hmchmm.

PM: And we all bought sneakers at Grant's. Nobody had any kind of different clothes or-

IM: Okay.

PM: And a lot of things were rationed during the war, and for quite a long time afterwards.

IM: Like what?

PM: Like meat, shoes, butter.

IM: How did that affect your lives?

PM: Well, the same as everybody else.

IM: Yeah.

PM: You know, nobody had it, so-

IM: So you didn't really feel like [unintelligible]-

PM: No, it was a nuisance. I found my mother's diary for 1946, and one of the pages, she was very excited that she was able to get a whole chicken at the, at the meat market. And that was a big triumph.

IM: Yeah.

PM: Because-!guess ga oline was short from the war-

IM: Hm-hmm.

PM: -and so things that trucked supplies around-

IM: [unintelligible] travel.

PM: Yeah, weren't available. So, but everybody was kind of in the same boat. Television wasn't around.

IM: Radio?

PM: We had radio, yeah. And we'd sit around and listen to the top 10 songs that, and be all excited about which was number one, you know, that kind of stuff. And soap operas and kid programs. Dick Tracy.

IM: On the radio?

PM: On the radio.

IM: What, which one was your favorite show?

PM: Urn, I'm not sure. Terry and the Pirates was-Hop Harrigan, Ace of the Airways. That was my favorite.

IM: Wow.

PM: And, uh, it started out with somebody talking to the control tower. And we thought that was pretty cool.

IM: Where did you guys listen to it?

PM: In the living room.

IM: In, of your-

PM: That's, yeah, that's what you did, you know.

IM: Yeah.

PM: People sat around-

IM: Just your family.

PM: Yeah. They, during the war Mitchell Field was the center of the Eastern Seaboard defense, and across the street from Hofstra.

IM: Okay.

PM: And they were propeller-driven things. And they took off over our house. We could see the bombardiers in the back of the plane. They would wave at us-

IM: Hm-hmm.

PM: -they were that low. So all the ceilings cracked in the house, and things, you couldn't leave things on the mantelpiece because the planes-

IM: Yes.

PM: -would vibrate the house and stuff would fall off. And, uh, it was, uh, an interesting time. I remember we had blackout curtains and stuff because we thought we were going to get bombed. '
IM: Yeah.

PM: You know, England was going under, so we were going to be next. And so we had air raid wardens and stuff. And we had sand in the attic so that if got hit by a fire bomb we would put, I guess, put sand on the fire.

IM: Oh.

PM: And in the basement we had water and food and blankets and stuff. And one day when we were in school the air raid alarm went off.

IM: Hm-hmm.

PM: So the school, with a complete absence of sense, sent us all home. So of course the streets were bl--dark with small children. And we got, what we had to do was, we got under the dining room table-

IM: Hm-hmm.

PM: -I suppose, in case anything fell-and with the radio. And there were unidentified planes approaching Mitchell Field.

IM: Hm-hmm.

PM: So-

IM: So that was close to home.

PM: Yeah, and so the, the base was saying to them, "Who are you?" and they were not answering. So of course what they should have done, I guess, is shoot them down.

IM: Yeah.

PM: Fortunately, they didn't, because they turned out to be Dutch and they didn't understand what anybody was saying to them.

IM: Oh. Wow.

PM: So that was the closest we got to having a-

IM: [unintelligible] misunderstanding.

PM: -an air raid. Yeah. But, uh, so there was rationing and there were air raid shelters and all kinds of excitement.