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Chapter VII - Lee, Richard, Marie

I bore three children while I lived in Florham Park. One was born in the place we rented, a girl named Lee. She was born in 1927. My eighth child, a boy, was born in 1931. We named him Richard. My husband was overjoyed because we had five girls and two boys.

Also, two years before, I had suffered a miscarriage due to an accident while riding on a bus. Being ignorant of the laws, I didn't tell the bus driver about my pregnancy, mostly because of modesty. Reaching home I found out there were signs of a possible miscarriage, but I thought it would pass. I had symptoms for two weeks and then I lost my child - a boy. My recovery lasted for 60 days.

The doctor told me that I should contact the bus company. I did so and the company directed me to have an examination by their company doctor. After the examination the company asked me to see their lawyer. I stated my case truthfully but when the bus driver was questioned he said he could not remember the incident. I was too naive and inexperienced to hire my own lawyer.

Nicola was overjoyed when Richard was born because the doctor told me after the miscarriage that I could not carry another child.

My ninth child came in 1932, a year and a half after Richard. She was a girl we named Marie. In those days children were the hope of the future and they still are.

We had not hit the economic bottom yet. We had kept some chickens for our own use and we had plenty of eggs. Also, Nicola was working three days a week. However, we had to make every penny count.

School was to open the week after Marie's birth and due to my condition I was unable to go out and buy the necessities that the children needed for school's opening. My oldest daughter Carmela offered to do the shopping but I had my misgivings. She was too young at sixteen and inexperienced, but out of necessity we allowed her to do it. She left by bus. My husband was to meet her in Newark after she had finished shopping and they would come back in an old car that we owned. Somehow Carmela and her father ended up on different street corners. My husband started scouting the streets because, after business hours, Market Street was deserted except for a few questionable characters. Meanwhile, my daughter had the good sense to call a relative and remain in their home until her father arrived.

Unable to find her, my husband came home hoping that she had taken the bus. When he arrived and told me what had happened I was completely distressed and suggested to him that we call the police. He thought we should wait awhile but I didn't want to. Then we could see, in semidarkness, a figure coming toward the house. A neighbor had received a call from Carmela (we had no phone) and she had sent the message that she was safe at our relative's home and she would come home the next day. I was so relieved that I embraced and kissed my neighbor and thanked her for bringing the good news. That was on Saturday.

Monday was Labor Day and I was expecting a lot of company because it was the custom to come with a gift and wish good luck to the new baby.

Anticipating a big crowd, I confided to my good friend and godmother to my baby, Susie De Angeles, that I was worried because I was unable to honor the occasion because of my condition and the financial situation I was in. She offered to help me. She had an oven in her back yard where she baked a week's supply of bread for her family. She offered to bake a double batch of bread - 24 loaves of Italian home-baked bread. Susie also reassured me that with all the eggplants, tomatoes, corn and other vegetables there would be plenty of food for the company. And so it was! The freshly baked bread was a real feast for the company!

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Readers Comments:
Peter D. B. Monday, October 17 2011, 08:27 pm
Suzie De Angelis is actually my great-grandmother, and this book is fascinating. The way my mother and grandfather spell De Angelis though is different, and is probably because of Ellis Island, but oh well. Great story!

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