INTERVIEW WITH MR. F. FROM ALBANIA
During the 1930s, Great Depression era, many writers were employed to interview people and write stories about life in the United States. The program was named the U.S. Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers’ Project and it gave employment to historians, teachers, writers, librarians, and other white-collar workers. These important stories and interviews should not be forgotten and relegated to dusty shelves. They provide much information about our past American culture and history and we will include as many as possible on www.daysgoneby.me.
Warning: Please remember this story was written in the 1930s and some words used may be offensive by today’s standard.
CLINTON AVENUE SURVEY. FIRST BLOCK INTERVIEW WITH MR. F. P. K. [?]
Mr. F. is a first generation Albanian, who came to this country to Bridgeport from Constantinople in 1912.
He lives in a four room [?] [?] flat in a four family house, for which he pays $16. per month rent. He has lived there for four years. Mr. F. has six children, one of whom is married and not living at home; the other five are in school. There is no hot water or bath; the house is heated by a kitchen oil range.
When we came in , Mr. F. was bending over the range, stirring a huge pot in which noodles were cooking. During the interview Mr. F., a [quiet?] little [grey?] man, continued to look after the meal that he was preparing for the children. His efficiency and lack of selfconsciousness about it indicated that this was habitual.
Laid off at American Tube & Stamping Co.
Mr. F. spoke with a very pronounced accent, but was very willing to give us information. “Eight years ago I was laid off at the American Tube & Stamping Co. where I worked for a long time. Then I was on the city. Last year I got a job in the American Record shop but I only worked three weeks in the year. I was on the W.P.A., but I was put off because I am not a [citizen.?] I have sent five times for application for citizenship. Every time I have to pay $2.50. When I came here, no one could pronounce my name so I took this name. When I forgot what my real name was, and I couldn’t remember the [name?] of the ship on which I came. Everything was all mixed up. Now finally they got it straight. I’m going to be citizen now.”
“I can’t [get?] relief from city because my wife is working part time in [Kassick’s?], but she doesn’t make enough to feed this family. Four rooms is too small for this family, but I can’t afford more room. The landlord, he won’t do any cleaning.” (The house was immaculate – floor, curtains, etc.) Mr. F. leaned across the stove; tears came to his eyes, “Please, ladies, see if you can get some shoes for my children.” When we explained that our own jobs were relief jobs he apologized for having bothered us. Mr. F. told [us?] he had had his own/ butcher business in Constantinople, and that he spoke five [?]”
First Class Butcher
“You know I was a first class butcher,” he said. “Not a machine butcher like now, everything by hand. I like Constantinople better than any city. Maybe sometimes, when the kids grow up and maybe make some money, I’ll be able to go back. Even to go back there and die. Everything goes by hope.”
As we left he thanked us, and repeated in parting, “Take it easy, take it easy.”