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Another Crate of Oranges

Posted by on October 24, 2015

January 24 and 27, 1944: two letters from home. The month is winding down in on Orange Street in Albany.  The baby has just hit the fifteen month mark, and there is much to report on her growing up. Aside from that, life goes on with outings to the movies, gifts from one of Eddie’s customers, and pitching in with the war effort on the home front. Anna also brings her brothers up to date on the latest neighborhood comings and goings.

Anna writes that she went to the movies with mama. “…we got a seat right next to our Uncle Murawski from Second Street….There are very many Polish people who go to the Paramount. Since ma and I went and we didn’t feel like walking far we went there.” She reports that they saw Thank Your Lucky Stars with Eddie Cantor and “a cowboy picture with Gene Autry…mama likes his singing.”

The Paramount Theater, 378 Clinton Ave., Albany NY c1938. Photo Credit Pruyn Room, Albany Public Library

The Paramount Theater, 378 Clinton Ave., Albany NY c1938. Photo Credit Pruyn Room, Albany Public Library

As far as the gift from one of Eddie’s customers at the auto shop, “Today Eddie brought home another crate of oranges …from his fruit friend –free. Pretty good. He is probably doing that to get favors from Eddie as he fixes his car.” Baby Terry did what she could to help as they were sorting the oranges. “She kept on taking the oranges out and throwing them on the floor. …Eddie kept on talking and explaining to her that she shouldn’t do that and after a while he had her convinced so he was handing them to her and telling her where to put them so she would lay them down very carefully in the crate.”

A portion of the oranges went toward making jello. While mama is busy in the kitchen making the jello “baby has attacked the full basket of oranges and they are rolling all over the whole kitchen floor and she is sitting very pretty among them. If she didn’t have blue overalls I would mistake her for an orange.”

In other news, “…Terry has learned to say Eddie and she goes around the house saying Eddie and looking for him. I tell her that daddy is not home but she still calls for him and when she hears the key in the lock she calls for him so loudly. We tried to teach her how it say Anna and Stanley and Antos and Joseph and grandmama’s name but no dice, she insists on staying stubborn and calling for Eddie.”

As with others in the community, the Murawskis of Orange Street are doing what they can for the war effort, as Anna explains. “Mama is a patriotic mama. Friday she took to the store three tins full of waste fats and she got in return twelve cents and six ration points for meat. Not much, but it helps when it comes to spending for meat. Now we just have to untangle the jigsaw puzzle of the ration stamps where we can buy things …They have everything printed in the paper every day and we follow it closely. I give credit to whoever prints those things in the paper. He certainly saves the housewives a lot of trouble.”

In other neighborhood news:

  • Anna has seen Regina Wilk at church on several consecutive Sundays and makes the assumption that she is back in the neighborhood. You may recall that Regina moved to the Boston area after marrying Anthony Wilk in May, 1943.  Anna notes, “Maybe he got sent overseas or shipped someplace far that she didn’t want to go with him.” Is should be noted here that further research shows that Anthony Wilk served in Europe during the war.
  • The McCormick boy who used to live across the street is in the Navy. His sister married John Cyrankowski. Cyrankowski “is now overseas someplace in England.”

That about covers the news from Albany for the end of January 1944.

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