Oral History Cover Sheet
Narrator: Marcello Lorenzo
Interviewer: Robert Steck
Tape: 40A (first 9 pages)
Place of Interview: Mr. Lorenzo’s home in Lime Rock
Summary of talk: Birth date & place, father’s work as a miner, little schooling, lots of hard work, caretaker for Mr. Milmine, worked for State Highway Department, lived on Lime Rock Station Road, his wife Wanda Marchello worked for George Richardson and operated a package store later, moved down to Lime Rock, ice cutting, invented a saw to cut ice, bought house his house from Abe Martin, Rudman hall (or Redman Hall), social activities, nationalities, foundry fire, realtors, Mr. Stone and Mrs. Fish (see tape 12A), company houses.
Property of the Oral History Project, the Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library
Salisbury, Ct. 06068
INTERVIEW OF MARCHELLO LORENZO BY ROBERT STECKJANUARY 10, 1986
RS: Now, let’s start with how old are you again?
ML: I’m 76.
RS: You were born when?
ML: 1909. July 30
RS; JULY 30, 1909. You were born here.
RS: Which was the first area you lived in, Marchello?
ML: Ore Hill.
RS: Ore Hill.
ML: Yes, there used to be mines down there.
RS: What kind of mines?
ML: We used to take the ore out to make those car wheels down here in Lime Rock.
RS: Now, how big was your family?
ML: Well, I guess we weren’t too big of a family until my father
and I bought this place where my brother lives now. We bought three acres of land there. He got a job down there
RS: That’s on Route 112, just about a mile from here, from Wells Hill Road.
ML: My father took a job down at the ore mines as a dynamite man. He made more money.
RS: Well, what did he do before he was a dynamiter? What did he do?
ML: Common laborer, you know.
RS: Ah huh.
ML: But he was a kind of handy mason too. He did mason work.
RS: What brought him to Lime Rock? What brought him here?
ML: Oh, he wasn’t here in Lime Rock. He came from Ore Hill.
RS: Oh, he came from Ore Hill which is right next to Millerton.
RS: And what brought him there?
ML: Well, the work, the mines. We used to have quite a lot of machines going on over there. Railroad tracks go across the state road there.
They tore all that down, you know.
RS: Where did he come from before here? He came directly from Italy? What part of Italy did they live?
ML: Muchenzo, I think.
RS: Muchenzo. Did your mother come with him or did he meet her here?
ML: He came over first; then my mother came afterwards.
RS: Were any of the children born in Italy?
RS: No, everybody born here. What did you do when you were growing up, when you were a little fellow?
ML: Well, my mother used to keep us all busy all the time, keeping us doing something all the while.
RS: Like doing what?
ML: Like taking care of the chores, do this and do that. Each one had their job to do.
RS: Now what was your job? What kind of chores….
ML: Oh, I used to bring in the wood, get the grain, milk the cows, and bring in the Milk and do all that kind of chores, you know.
RS: How old were you then? When you were doing the chores?
ML: Oh, I was probably around fifteen or sixteen years old.
RS: Well, when you were a small kid, just a baby, then, past that, did you play with other kids: What did you do?
ML: Well, we didn’t have too much time foolin’ around playing around I can tell you That. We always worked.
RS: Even then; four or five years old?
ML: Well, I don’t know about when I was four or five years old what I did.
RS: You don’t remember?
RS: When did you start school?
ML: I went to school in the first grade. That was the only school I had.
RS: You just went to one grade—the first grade.
ML: That’s all. That’s all I ever went.
RS: Where was the school?
ML: Right here in Lime Rock. At first it was in Lakeville. There used to be a Sister Convent School, Catholic. They never read out the Catechism there. So my father took us out and started here in Lime Rock. I went to school for about a year and that’s all.
RS: That was a public school?
RS: What did you learn, do you remember?
ML: not in them days.
RS: So you never went back to school.
RS: That must have been you were about six or seven years old or something like that.
ML: When I went to school?
ML: Oh, hell, I was older than that. Must have been 8, 12,13 years old.
RS: When you went to the first grade you were about 12 or 13?
RS: So, what did you do if you weren’t going to school? What were you doing with your time?
ML: Oh, working.
RS: Cutting wood?
ML: Cutting wood and stuff like that.
RS: Your father; did you have a farm also?
ML: Well, we had a small farm. We only had three cows, just enough to milk for the Family. We used to raise about four pigs. Two he’d butcher himself and two he’d sell.
RS: Did you help with that?
ML: Oh sure. Everybody learned. I learned how to cook too.
RS: When did you get your first job?
ML: Oh, I got that down to Milmines. I have been there for fifteen years. I didn’t
get too many jobs.
RS: You worked in the mines fifteen years?
ML: No, I didn’t work in no mines. I worked for the Milmines. They were a private estate up by Hotchkiss School. They are all dead now.
RS: What did they do?
ML: He used to be a big railroad man, old man Milmine.
RS: Milmine. He was a railroad man.
ML: Yes. He used to own a railroad track; something. He was quite a big man in the railroad business.
RS: What did you do for him?
ML: I mowed the lawns; had quite an estate there. He used to have a big garden and everything else there.
RS: You took care of the lawns?
ML: Took care of the lawns; took care of the horses, plow the garden, harrow it, everything else.
RS: How old were you then?
ML: Oh, probably around twenty, twenty-one.
RS: What did you do before that?
ML: Oh, I worked there; that was the only place.
RS: That was the first place you worked?
RS: And you stayed with them how long?
ML: About fifteen years I guess.
RS: Then where did you go?
ML: Then I went on the State highway.
RS: And that’s where you worked until you retired.
ML: Yes. I had to retire then. They didn’t want me anymore. I was taken sick. I kind of
Had a nervous breakdown and they told me I couldn’t go sand anymore.
RS: When was that?
ML: Oh, around ten years ago. So I had to quit. So they gave me a pension, small pension. Don’t amount to a row of pins.
RS: When did you move from Ore Hill to this house in Lime Rock?
ML: Oh, hell, I used to live down at Lime Rock Station first.
RS: That’s the Lime Rock Station? Where is that?
ML: That used to be a big house down there.
RS: Is it still there?
ML: Yes. Nobody was living there. Mr. Storm owned it so I asked Mr. Storm for a couple of rooms.Sure, why not. You’re welcome to it. We fixed us up a couple of
rooms to keep warm. So we went up to the woods up to George Richardson’s, drag it down there; made my own saw, cut the wood up. We used to keep warm that way. My wife worked for George Richardson and that’s why we kept a-going.
RS: When did you get married? How old were you when you got married?
ML: Oh, I was twenty, I don’t know, about 23 or 24.
RS: How did you meet Wanda? How did you meet your wife?
ML: Met her here in Lime Rock at your house.
RS: At Lime Rock where we live?
RS: Whose house? That was Sandri’s house.
ML: That was where we played hockey down there at the time in the winter time. And he used to make home-made brew. So we used to go down, met Wanda there.
RS: What was his name, Sandri or…
ML: Santo Sandri.
RS: Santo Sandri.
RS: Oh, so you met Wanda through them, huh?
ML: Well, I had to go to Torrington. We forgot something. She said she had pair she had to pick up there. Course she come from Torrington, worked there, you know, for a doctor. I said, “Hell, I’m going up next Saturday, want to ride up there and that’s how we got going.”
RS: And then you got married.
ML: Then we got married, yes.
RS: Do you remember what year that was?
ML: God, I can’t tell you, I don’t remember.
RS: But you were in your twenties?
RS: And then you moved here?
ML: Then we moved down here in Lime Rock across from ah…
RS: Oh, that’s when you lived at that station?
ML: Yes, that’s when that station was here in Lime Rock.
ML: Now, ah, forget who lives there now. Oh, I can’t think of their name. Right Across from the school store. The old school store building there.
RS: Right above the inn?
ML: Yes. I hauled a whole lot of hay. I worked like a jackass, got it
all cleaned up, turned around and sold it and I had to move.
ML: move in this house.
RS: Now at that house that you lived in, now, Sheldon Glass? Was it near Sheldon Glass?
ML: No, no, way up further.
RS: Oh, way up further, near the church? Across from the church?
ML: Just before you get to the church, this way.
RS: On the same side of the street as the church?
ML: No, on the opposite side, on the right…
RS: And where was that station house you lived in before that?
ML: Down in Lime Rock.
RS: Yes. Which house is that? Which one is the station?
M: Lime Rock station used to be there. Hard to tell you. Nothing is
there now. It was torn down.
RS: Is it right on 112?
ML: No, no, it’s on the go right down front across from the Lakeville
High School: where the high school is.
RS: Which one?
ML: The regional high school.
ML: Do you know where the Regional High School is? The big high school here in Lime Rock?
RS: Where it is now? You mean Housatonic?
ML: Yes. I call it Regional High School.
RS: Yes, ok.
ML: And, right at the light, you turn right.
ML: Right down that road.
RS: Up that road where the railroad tracks and then a gravel pit.
ML: Lime Rock Station used to be there.
RS: And then you moved here.i
ML: And then there used to be a Lime Rock creamery down there too, and | they tore that down.i
RS: Lime Rock creamery?I
ML: Yes. (I got a sore throat). And we used to work there in the winter time.
We got a couple of weeks work filling a big ice house. We used to cut ice in the river and they used to pull it up with mules, up to the ice house and pack it in there. Then we used to cut ice too, you know. We made a machine that cut ice. Oh, in the winter time we had quite a business cutting ice.
RS: Your family?
ML: Yes, my father, my brother. My brother and I went on a motorcycle. He and I made the machine to cut ice with.
RS: You had a brother killed on a motorcycle?
RS: Older or younger?
ML: Younger, his name was Marino.
RS: And so you moved here with Wanda. Did you build this house or was it here?
ML: This is the last house the company built in Lime Rock.
RS: The last one that the company; you are talking about the ore company?
RS: Yes. How did you get it?
ML: Through Abe Martin, town selectman He owned it.
RS: Who did?
ML: Town selectman, Abe Martin.
RS: Abe Martin.
ML: Used to be down here in Lakeville.
RS: And he owned it. And you bought it from him.
ML: And I didn’t have no money of course. I was working at Milmines and one morning when I see the chauffeur there, I says, “God I need to vote. He says, “Why?” I said, “Abe Martin has somebody wants my house.” Told me I had to have $200 down to put to buy the house. This colored guy or nothin’ went to Lakeville no beautiful house and he came
back and handed me 200 bucks.
RS: Who did?
ML: Colored guy.
RS: What’s his name?
ML: Hosey Miffern. Poor guy’s dead and gone now.
RS: Hosey Miffer
ML: Hosey Miffern.
RS: M-i-f-f-e-r-n. Miffern
ML: Yes. He gave me money without a word. Here’s the money, just give it back. He was quite a gambler anyway. He always had money. Going, comin’, and goin’ all the while with him. He was a hellava good fellow though.
RS: How did you know him?
ML: Well, he used to work there. He was chauffeur at Milmines you know.
RS: Oh, oh. Right, I see. Well, that’s nice. Is any of his family still around here?
ML: No, they’re all gone now. They are all dead and gone. Wife’s gone, the Milmines Are all gone. Everybody’s all gone. Place gone to the dogs.
RS: Now, when you were a young man, living here in Lime Rock, what kind of social Activities did you…
ML: Well, we used to have… we used to have a movie hall, dance hall and everything Down here.
RS: Right in the town here.
ML: Yes. You know that big building right at the top of the hill: You go on 112 and you Go up a little hill. There’s a big building on the left-hand side. Well, that used to be Rudman’s Hall.
RS: Rudman’s Hall?
ML: Yes, that used to be a hall.
RS: That’s the one… is that the one with all those rooms, a big house on the left-hand Side.
ML: Yes, it’s right on top of the hill.
RS: On the left-hand side.
ML: Red building, I don’t think it’s red now.
RS: Yes, I think it’s still red.
ML: Yes, they used to have pool hall, dance and everything there. Just before you get there, on the right hand side, on top of the hill. Lime Rock had their own band, you know.
RS: Is that so? Who played in it?
ML: Everybody around here belonged to Lime Rock played in it. They had a good band. We used to have a good ball team here too.
RS: Is that so?
ML: Lime Rock was quite a… quite a town years ago. Now you only see nothing down here. Every year when summertime in July you could eat off the street.
Everything all cleaned right up. Everything came out of the shop, cleaned up the street, paper and everything.
We used to have ball teams, ball games and everything else going on down here.
RS: And was the ore business going then?
ML: Oh, we used to get ore from Ore Hill, hauled it over here in teams. There were no state roads through here.
RS: This was just a dirt road, 112?
ML: I guess it was a dirt road. Only thing that could get through was horse and wagon come around. We used to make quite a little money on business.
RS: What did downtown, so to speak, Lime Rock look like? What was there? There was a dance hall and movie house, right? What else did they have there?
ML: Well, they had a bandstand up there.
RS: The band stand?
ML: That’s about it, I guess. They had everything onto that…
RS: They had a post office, didn’t they?
ML: Yes, well down here in Lime Rock used to be Lime Rock Store.
RS: Used to be the Lime Rock what?
ML: Lime Rock Store, general store.
RS: Was that inn here then? Who stayed there?
ML: Damned if I remember.
RS: What kind of people lived here at that time?
ML: Well, they most all were Italians, Italian and Polish. There weren’t many Irish, just Italian and Polish. Got along very good together. Everyone would go down and ore mine down here in Lime Rock and they used to build it across here a bit stone square thing. That’s when land used to be Milmines.
RS: Where the blocks are. Where you forge?
ML: Used to be quite a business there. There used to be a bridge go across there too.
RS: There was a what?
ML: A walking bridge across the river there. They used to make their own power here years ago.
RS: Oh yes.
ML: You see the big tunnels every once in a while up through there. I remember them.
I remember seeing men go to work down there in the afternoon after lunch. They
go across the river on that bridge. When they come out of there, they just as black as niggers. They used to come up that damn slope down there, you know.
RS: Were there many blacks here too, or just…
ML: Oh no, no blacks at all.
RS: No blacks, just Polish and Italian.
ML: Mostly Polish. There was some, few Americans, not too many.
RS: The Polish and Italians got along alright?
ML: Seem to be; no fights.
RS: Get married, one with the other and all that kind of thing?
ML: Oh yes.
RS: What did you do on a Saturday night? What happened on a Saturday night?
ML: Oh boy, Saturday night it used to be quite a town.
RS: What did they do?
ML: They danced and sing and had a hellava time. Nobody fights. Nobody stole anything. They had all a good time down there. I can say that much. Lime Rock was quite a town years ago.
RS: What happened to all those Polish and Italian people?
ML: Oh, they went to Torrington and went to the big factories and this chump? burnt down and the firm died. The watchman got drunk and he let the damn building burn down and he never looked after anything and everything went to hell.
RS: How did the fire start?
ML: Nobody knows.
RS: Did they suspect arson? Did they?
ML: Well I don’t know. Checking up on him.
RS: Think it was an accident?
RS: So who moved in here when those people left? Who came in then?
ML: Well,…you know your house was sold for $500?
RS: To whom?
ML: To my wife’s brother. He bought quite a few houses out here.
RS: Was that before Sandri or after?
ML: Sandri got it through him.
RS: Got it through your brother?
ML: No, my brother in law, not my brother.
RS: So your brother-in-law bought it for $500.
RS: Who did he buy it from?
ML: Mr. Stile or Mr. Stone or somebody. No, it was Star. They gave it up for auction and he bid on it. That’s how he got it. He got the big store, your house, Mrs. Perotti’s house: he bought quite a few houses around here. He had no money either! He bought it and he sold it.
RS: And then he sold it to Sandri?
RS: Then Sandri lived there; who did Sandri sell it to, do you know?
|ML:||I think it was you who bought it.|
|RS:||Not from Sandri. We bought it from Mrs. Fish. Were all these houses here company houses?|
|Have they changed much?
Well this house changed quite a bit so I changed it around. Johnson’s house has been changed. Your house has been changed around a little bit. Quite a few.
|RS:||Is there any house that’s the same as it was?|
|Not that I know of. Might be some. Who lived in the houses here?|
|RS:||No, in all the houses here. Were they the workers?|
|ML:||Yes, a few workmen’s’. They got so much on the rent for working
down here too you know.
|RS:||The houses belonged to the company?|
|ML:||Oh, yeah, they owned the houses.|
|RS:||How about the house where the Stabers are; that big brick house.|
|ML:||That used to be the scale house, weighing house.|
|RS:||You mean they weighed the ore?|
|ML:||Yeah. And there was a weighing scale down here in Lime Rock too. Right across from the Lime Rock Lodge over there. That used to be a scale house too.|
|RS:||So most of the people, the Polish and Italians moved out of here after the fire and they were stuck with no jobs.|
|ML:||I don’t know what town; they weren’t working so they couldn’t stay here. Some went to Torrington, some went to Bridgeport, and some went to New Haven. They got scattered all around. It’s too bad; God, I wish we were back in those days again.|
|You liked those days? Oh yes.|
|RS:||What’s the difference?|
|ML:||More friendly like; these people come up from New York, they’re here for a few days and they want to run the town. They think they know it all.|
|RS:||So there’s been a little bad feeling when people come up from New York.|
|ML:||Oh sure, These New Yorkers, they think they own the town.|
|RS:||What did they do? What difference did you feel?|
|ML:||Who, the New Yorkers? We used to call them ”city slickers.”|
Oral History’ Cover Sheet
Narrator: Marcello Lorenzo
Interviewee: Robert Steck
Tape #: 40A
Place of Interview: Lime Rock, CT
Summary of Talk: Early careers, Lime Rock Race Track, House and apartment buildings, Great Depression, Cutting ice, Proposal of water sources, Parties with Angelo (accordion player), Work for the state and unions, World War II, Mussolini, Trips to Italy, Lack of formal education, Siblings, Industry workers, Father’s Mining
Property of the Oral History Project
The Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library
Salisbury, Conn. 06068
RS: How about where Grace lives? Her Uncle lived there, right?
Marcelo Lorenzo: Oh well, that’s not too long ago. There was a little blacksmith shop there, I guess.
RS: A little what?
ML: A blacksmith shop.
RS: Oh, there was a blacksmith shop?
ML: Little shop there, not….by none. The undertaker thought, what town do they know to wait for? And he could set pretty nice. And then they sort of wanted to know who bought it out. They went through…house, that little house there.
RS: And when did Grace’s uncle get it?
ML: Oh, not too long ago.
RS: And that’s Grace Worthington, right? Was her uncle’s name Worthington?
RS: No, definitely?
ML: Her uncle was named Sean.
RS: Oh, Sean.
RS: He was an artist.
ML: Yep. Couldn’t have told it. He painted a lot of things I don’t quite know about.
RS: Alright, yes. That picture that you have hanging was painted by Sean. And were there any other artists that came in here or people like him?
ML: Oh this town was full of artists for a while. They didn’t stay here too long. They weren’t making enough money out here I guess.
RS: When you worked for the state, you did road work and stuff like that?
ML: Well when I worked, first I went and worked in labor. And they put me on Main Street work, I didn’t make…an hour on Main Street work. I got 20 cents an hour more than the rest of you. That was a big deal. And then I got a truck driver. I drove trucks for 16 years….
RS: What would you say is the difference between living here now and, let’s say, when you were a young fellow? What differences are there?
ML: Well I can’t explain it to you. How the hell I’m going to explain it to you, I don’t know. I really don’t see no…We ain’t going to die anymore anyhow. We all got enough work: we actually got a lot, a ton of work.
RS: Now there are no jobs for young men?
ML: No, no, no, not for young men.. ..Now there are less of them.
RS: How about for you now? Do you find living here good now or was it better when you were younger?
ML: Of course it was better when I was younger, of course.
ML: Well, you had more excitement, more movement, more going out, you know. When I was younger we’d go out fishing, go out hunting. We don’t do that anymore.
RS: Now you worked for the racetrack for a while, huh?
ML: 26 years.
RS: Uh huh.
ML: I was a guard down there.
RS: So you did that besides your other job, huh?
ML: Yeah. We worked there Saturdays, and Sundays—not Sundays. Fridays and Saturdays we used to work. Got pretty good money. But I probably quit. That last year, couldn’t stand it anymore. Just don’t want that hot summer all day on your feet with charts. You don’t….those charts you got.
RS: You were here when the racetrack was put in?
ML: Oh yes. We were like a goddamn 41.42.
RS: You built it for them?
RS: You’re sorry?
ML: Now, yeah. It was great.
RS: What made you sorry?
ML: Well, it’s what I say when they don’t get it done, from the dead prices.
ML: Now I sign my name…You got a…You can’t sell ‘em.
RS: So the property went down?
ML: Oh, sure.
RS: But why did people like you and others here let it come in? Why did you vote for it?
ML: Well we thought it was going to…our local people. But we get nothing. They come in. Say they couldn’t start nothing down there now, don’t move. Try it. First thing we know they got stuff in there, they got the booth in there, they got center, and we went to hell.
RS: What kind of store did your wife have?
ML: A package store here.
RS: A package store, right next door.
RS: So that race track knocked you out of business.
ML: Sure they did…
RS: That little house next to Grace’s that one at the end of the road which the Blocks own?
ML: Oh, that used to be my little building.
RS: Yeah, that was your little building?
ML: Oh God, oh yeah, I got it for twelve dollars on…And I moved down here, right on this driveway.
RS: Right on the driveway of your property here?
ML: Yeah, and the property on the other side. I stayed here quite a while. I had to cut two pieces. So Mrs. Fitch comes along one day and says, “What are you going to do with that building?” I said, “You want it?” She says, “Yeah. What you going to get for it? Give me a part of it and I’ll even have it. I’ll take it.” So she took part of it, she didn’t…! couldn’t make a house out of it. She moved it over there. And that’s why I broke my finger on that damn building…
ML: Doing work underneath it.
RS: When did you buy this house? What year did you buy this?
ML: Oh, I can’t remember that well.
RS: Flow long have you lived here?
ML: Oh God I’ve lived here at least 25, 28 years.
RS: Uh huh. What’d you pay for it when you first came in?
ML: I paid… 1800 dollars.
RS: Good buy.
ML: I paid so much that year, though.
ML: That money was scarce. We could buy…fix it up, this fix, I could do that myself, you know. Pretty heavy. Yeah, but I paid money, I paid money…make you enjoy that house if they let you have it for 1800 dollars. We had to pay 200 dollars a month—200 dollars a year. I was paid 200 dollars a year them days.
RS: Do you remember the Depression?
ML: Oh yeah. Don’t tell me about the Depression.
RS: What did you do during the Depression?
ML:1 worked. 1 dug a field three hours and a half a day.
RS: What’d you do?
ML: 1 worked up on this road up across the mountain there.
ML: I helped build the road going up towards that mountain there, going across the hill.
RS: You mean Briton Hill Road?
ML: Yeah, yeah, that. Cold and wet… We worked about 3 days a week, two hours and a half a day. What a miserable—you try…you try work well with that master…
RS: How long did you work on WPA?
ML: Oh, 1 worked—I worked for a state forester too, you know cutting wood. 1 would sell my word for 4 dollars a cord, beautiful hard wood, perfect wood. But some cords were…
RS: Yeah, so it was hard during the depression?
RS: For everybody around here?
ML: Well yeah, yeah, I used to go up to the Canaan airport to work, there was an airport up there, there was some…summer picking…you had to get a thick heart to get ahold of it, there were those trucks up there, too…you know, and we used to work there about 2 days a week…and 1 wasn’t going home anytime…
RS: You never did go back to school though, huh?
ML: I had no chance to go back to school.
RS: Always working?
ML: Working, at home.
RS: Any children, Marcello?
ML: No. I might have some I don’t know.
ML: Yeah I ‘m having a rough time in my life now, which stinks. I don’t want to go to the end.
The most enjoyment we used to have, we used to cut ice.
RS: That was the most enjoyable thing though? Why was that?
ML: Well, you try it. Guys make pretty good money those days. They were hiring 50-200 dollars a day. That’s good pay, you know.
RS: A day?
RS: Very good.
ML: First you started out with one horse and then…cut the ice, and my brother and I said…’’can we make a saw to cut that ice, it’s silly.” So we got an old saw, saw mill saw, you know, and we went to this farm that was up here in Pittsfield. Not Pittsfield, uh, Sheffield… I didn’t need to make us a saw, I just cut the ice for him. I said “Sure, I’ll cut you anything you want.” So we got
a Model T Ford motor, my brother and I, he was going to help with this loo, you know. He wasn’t much of an engineer. He was a really good stonemason, but he wasn’t much of an engineer for machinery, my brother. But 1 was pretty good at it so we made this machine to cut ice with. So we got a whole Model T Ford motor, we got another stick, and we cut the little really sharp edge and put the saw on the side, in the rear end, the whole rear end of lumber and set it on the front…cause they served wood, 1 cut out ice with that machine. Cut it right out about 2 inches and a half…the machine off. Gotta take a morning, because now you cut enough ice for that day.
RS: Who’d you sell it to?
ML: …I sold the goddamn thing…
RS: Who sold it?
ML: Fabio. He’s a goddamn hungry man for money. You have to understand, you have to keep your props, you know.
RS: Who did you say?
ML: My brother Fabio, sold it.
RS: Oh your brother?
ML: Sold it to an auction, for nothing.
ML: I was trying to work with him, and he had to work like we had. But he and I put our machine together, and he probably wanted to give it away.
RS: Oh you mean he sold the machine?
ML: Yeah, after no more ice, you know.
RS: But who did you sell the ice to when you cut it up?
ML: Oh, these guys had ice houses around the hill.
RS: Oh, you took it to the ice houses?
RS: And you did a variety of things in your life?
ML: Uh huh. 1 don’t know how to do it though. That ice breaker was good things. Then somebody else tried to make a machine too, you know, they tried a cutting ice machine too. They had a lot more parts than our…
RS: Were you ever part of the town hall meetings and things like that? Did you ever participate in some of those things?
ML: I did one time, when they had this Lime Rock meeting for fire protection. Mr. Bergdahl, he owned the inn right there. And he wanted me in it and everybody there to pay so much money to dig a hole for the firemen to get water to. Well, everybody heard that everybody had to pay a little something, and they didn’t want to do nothing. They said “To hell with you, I’m building my own pond,” and they didn’t want to hear it. Oh, they wouldn’t hear that. Oh no.
ML: Yeah, wells, they’re telling me. 1 think it was for a motel.
RS: Oh, a motel.
ML: They wanted to build a little pond too. We had all this “My father’s building a little pond.” Sold the houses. Never want to make one here, my town with a lake right near your house, we’re going to dig a big hole there. We’re going to make a… pretty handy. Everybody’ll want to pay for the…going to be ours. Everybody’s going to want to…
RS: That’s the way it is. Are there any people around here that lived here as long as you have? ML: I think I’m about the only one here now. They’re all gone.
RS: None of these people here, none of us were here when you got here?
RS: How about old man Johnson?
ML: Oh, he’s been here not too long.
RS: Oh, not too long?
ML: What’s her name here, Andrea Frankfurt, ain’t been here too long either. Old man Johnson, he used to work for the…carpenter work.
RS: Oh, Gilligan, yeah.
ML: I don’t much….my throat, and I’ve been talking too much in your…
RS: Well everybody did. So how about some of the fellows that you knew when you were a boy?
Are any of them still around?
ML: Not a one.
RS: You’re the only one left?
ML: 1 guess I am. I don’t know anybody else. Some got killed in the war, and they’re all gone again. They’re all scattered and gone. Everybody’s gone. Kind of miss them.
RS: Sure. What do you think of life around here today? What do you think about it?
ML: Town now?
RS: Well what do you got against it? Let’s put it that way.
ML: Well, nobody’s having any fun anymore. We’re trying to have fun: they stop them from doing what they want to do.
RS: Like what?
ML: Like trying to have a fun place to dance or something like that, making too much noise. They don’t want that. So where are you going to have any fun around here?
RS: Uh huh. Yeah.
ML: I used to come out here on Saturday night. Always something going on around down here in Lime Rock….little house next to the river there and there’s a couple of ponds. And Angelo, he was quite an accordion player, he used to play the accordion, and Saturday nights we would just sing and dance and have a hell of a time there.
RS: What was his name?
ML: Yeah, I don’t know what his last name was. He used to make a good stew of whiskey though. He’d make himself that big old, goddamn raw whiskey. He killed himself.
RS: Oh, he killed himself there?
ML: Sure. But that man could play accordion.
RS: But he made his own hooch and his own house?
ML: Oh yeah, yeah. Whiskey and Grappa, he used to call it. And that’s quite cocky. He was quite well; he used to bring it up to about a hundred proof. He used to put it up for a hundred and I’d call him one and bring him one and a half, which I know you buy. Of course, we didn’t buy it. Uh-huh and then there…
RS: How was it working for the state? Was it any good?
ML: Well, you know. You always have a little friction, and a little more so out of the…and this and that. I got along pretty good with everybody though. I minded my own business and tended my work, and I never bothered nobody.
RS: Now do they have unions and state and everything?
RS: What union were you in?
ML: I was over here someplace. I was a state employee associate.
RS: Oh, state employee?
ML: But you can’t go on strike.
RS: You can’t go on strike? Did it do you any good?
ML: Yeah, I think so. We used to volunteer on…once a month. It helped with the final debt, you know.
RS: You think you get higher wages by having a union?
ML: Oh yes.
ML: But not too much, though. Not too much.
RS: What advice would you give a young man in town growing up today?
ML: Here? I’d say drag your ass out of here and look for a better place.
RS: Oh, is that so?
ML: You won’t…living here. Where you wanna work here? Tell me. There’s nothing fun to do.
RS: Now there were, in other words, when you grew up, there were some industry here? Like the ore business?
ML: Oh yeah, yeah, definitely yes.
RS: Yeah. But nothing of that is left?
ML: Oh no, not today. You got to go to Torrington: you got to go to Hartford or something like that…today.
RS: Remember anything else from growing up when you were growing?
ML: My head’s big enough now…I don’t know…what the hell is coming to me…I take the impulse, but you got no chance here at all.
RS: And how do you mean that? Because of jobs, you’re saying?
ML: That’s right, my work.
RS: You mean throughout the country?
ML: Yeah, same thing. They’re all the same thing
RS: What would it take to make it better?
ML: Really, I guess a boy’s got a brain and a great head, and so he starts something. He’ll go on and make an attempt to get something moving. But who’s going to do it?
RS: Yeah. Now you lived through at least World War I, World War 11, some of these other wars, how do you feel about those wars?
ML: Oh, terrible. Took some of my friends.
RS: A lot of them got killed?
ML: Yeah. I killed…myself
RS: World War II?
RS: What happened?
ML: They needed drivers. They needed some drivers on the state highway so they got me the permit. Course I’m ten years old. They never let me go. But they didn’t even run out of room. The kids are older people.
RS: Ah, yep.
ML: So then the next time come around, they give me the permit again. But that time I m too old to get in there.
RS: That was World War II, huh?
ML: Both of my buddies went, and they never came back.
RS: Uh huh. Now there were a lot of Italian people here, How’d they feel about Mussolini?
ML: Well. I’d say a lot of them had to…but a lot of them heard that he was good. He was good to the Italian people, and the only mistake he made was when he went in with Hitler. And they had no choice, they’d either go Hitler or they bombed the hell out of.. .They had to go with Hitler. That’s all. That’s why a lot of people got against Mussolini. But he was good for the Italian people, though.
RS: Well how’s that, what did he do for them?
ML: Well because the Italians, he got Ethiopia for them, got that straightened out, you know, our country’s Puerto Rico. I almost…no damn clue.
RS: What do you think of Italy today?
ML: Well 1 don’t know too much about Italy myself, personally. I mean, they’re a poor country anyway. They get on the best way they can now, you see. I’d like to go take a trip over there though, once, if I could.
RS: Ever been there?
RS: Your father ever go back?
ML: Oh yes he went back: my wife and all went back. They even had a good time, by going there, but 1 was getting kind of scared of going on an airplane. I got a chance to go to California, before it took February
ML: Well…who’s gonna take care of Rose? Who’s gonna take care of my pond and sunflower here?
ML: What am 1 gonna do?
RS: Let the snow stay until you come back?
ML: Oh, but…tell you that it’s quite hard.
ML: It’s a pain in the ass sometimes anyway. But she’s been pretty good though. She won’t come back too much.
RS: Mhm If you had to do it all over again, what would you change?
ML: If I had to do it over again?
ML: Well one thing, I’d go to school all over again.
RS: You do miss the fact that you weren’t in school?
ML: I do miss.
ML: And not because we didn’t have any chance. But we kind of had to work hard and keep us kids working. That’s why we didn’t go to school much…we were snowed in all the way around, you couldn’t go through here at all…so if I could do it all again I’d go to school. That’s what I keep telling my nephew, my brother Peter’s kid…go to school. I said, “You gotta finish high school.” And then he quit. My sister quit, and everything went to hell…gotta work now. I didn’t have a chance on a GED.
RS: Mhm, Mhm.
ML: Could’ve gotten one. if I’d went to school.
RS: What do you do with your time now? You watch television?
ML: That’s why 1 read the paper. It’s what a man’s got to do.
RS: Where’d you learn to read?
ML: By myself.
RS: Just by yourself?
ML: Yeah. 1 read the paper and some of those. Just not a horrible… at home I keep falling down, and 1 can’t straighten out the way I want to.
RS: Oh. Do you speak Italian?
ML: Oh yes.
RS: Oh yeah? You learned it when you were growing up at home?
ML: Yeah, and my sister and myself. My brother Peter, he understands, but never speaks…understands, he never speaks it either. I guess I’m the only one. My sister speaks Italian.
RS: Uh huh. How many brothers and sisters you still got?
ML: I got two sisters and two brothers.
RS: All live here?
RS: How many died?
RS: One. One brother uh huh, right.
ML: fie was my buddy…
ML: He was a… Crazy about that fishing. .. .He’d get you up five o’clock in the morning to go fishing, and if he didn’t catch fish, he wouldn’t come home…once, came to town at four o’clock in the afternoon. We had to find the boat covered with fish. Filled with fish, a lot of fish…now, he didn’t want to quit, because.. .as he got home…
RS: How did the workers get along with these ore people when that was still running? When they, you know, the ore business, the forge, the factories here, and they had a lot of people working for them, right?
ML: Oh, sure
RS: How did the people like working for them? Was it good?
ML: Yeah, they were good company.
RS: Good company, huh?
ML: So they say. I don’t know, I was never in the company. Richardson, Barnum and Richardson.
RS: What’s your name?
ML: Barnum and Richardson.
RS: Barnum and Richardson?
RS: Uh huh. Did the workers have unions in those days?
ML: I don’t think so. I don’t remember that well I think—I think so
RS: Did your father work pretty hard when he was home?
ML: Yes he did, of course.
RS: How many hours a day did they work?
ML: 4 hours a day, they worked from night until dark.
RS: Uh huh.
ML: Well, not night, night until morning. They’d when it was dark in the morning, we’d come out at night in the dark. Never see daylight. And I almost got killed on a night…
RS: You almost got killed?
ML: Oh yes.
RS: How’s that?
ML: They got a…and it was packed with ink. They were digging the shaft, put the shaft though it out under the mountain, and some kid came behind them and he got locked in there overnight.
He had to dig himself out by hand, bare hands, and when he finally got out… was there booking a funeral.. .out of that dang hole.
RS: What’d he do?
ML: Oh, he worked at Hotchkiss School…
RS: Oh, he worked at Hotchkiss?
ML: He worked on the grounds, yeah.
RS: When he was mining, he worked how many days a week?
ML: 7 days a week.
RS: 7 days a week?
ML: Yeah, he worked hard doing it.
RS: No time off?
RS: Hard days.
ML: Uh huh. Yes, they were hard days.
RS: Yeah, yeah, that sucks. Did we skip any part of your life?
ML: Oh, I can’t remember now. Maybe I’ll think of something later on, I can’t do it. I’m bad.
RS: Yeah. Did you know Mrs. Fowlkes? She knew Wanda. She wants to go with you one day to see Wanda. She says Wanda used to visit her.
ML: Oh yeah. I’ll take her up someday.
ML: I got to go see Wanda next week…couple of months….How does Mrs. Fowlkes feel?
RS: She’s at the Torrington…[Tape becomes unintelligible]