Vol. 2-Interview-Gaydos


Angela Varesano

Has pictures of berry picking 7/22/72

expedition- shows types of clothing. Mrs. Andrew Gaydos When she was a child, she used to pick huckleberries with the other kids in her family. They used to make two or three trips out into the woods a day. The first and sec ond picking would be for the mother, who would sell the berries for money to help out the family. The last pick ing would be for the kids. The money would be theirs to use.

They used to go to Albrightsville at a farm. She remem bers one year when she was fifteen that they went there. They picked from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM. At the end of the day, they used to wash up in a creek, have supper, and then sit and pray the rosary.

The girls who went to pick berries were watched over by several ladies who acted as chaperones and directors. Sometimes they would hold square dances. Some farmers would come by and play the accordion and fiddle. These would be held in the barn.

In canning huckleberries the leaves are cleaned out and the berries washed. A syrup is made of two cups of water and a cup or so of sugar to taste. This cooks until it thickens. The berries are put into quart jars and the syrup poured over each. The jars are sealed and cooked in a canning pot. When the water with the jars in it boils, they are taken out. They are sealed by the heat. The jars had been screwed closed completely before cooking in the pot. They had aluminum screw lids, Mason jars, and Snap lids.

At one time in earlier days, they used Ball jars and glass lids. These were sealed by placing the lids on the jars, boiling the jars in a canning pot, and sealing the jars with metal wires. This would preserve the food.

Canned berries are used for cake, pies, and the juice is good to drink. The berries are put in a saucepan with sugar to taste and thickened with cornstarch. To make the crust of pies, flour is mixed with Crisco and margarine. At one time she used lard that was rendered at home.

Foods for the Holy Supper include: Christmas Eve Bobalkis Take bread dough and form into balls. (her bread dough is made with potatoes and potato water.) Bake these balls till done. They will be very hard. Scald by dipping in boiling water. Brown butter. Grate American cheese. Put cheese over the balls in a dish. Pour browned butter over and serve.

Mushrooms (red toppers) Take strings of dry mushrooms and wash then off a few times. Boil in water, more than enough to cover them, and cook till soft. This forms the soup. Make zupraska [za-prash’-ka]. Brown butter in a frying


Angela Varesano 7/22/72 Mrs. Andrew Gaydos

Holy Supper pan and mix in flour to form a paste. Cook. Add water to make less thick. Dump into soup and cook. Dice potatoes. Put into soup to cook. Boil noodles. Serve soup on top of noodles or in with noodles.

Fish She used to serve it cooked simply, fried. Use crumbs to coat pieces of fish. Dip pieces in beaten eggs to which have been added salt and pepper to taste. Fry in hot oil.

Oplatkis [O-plat’-keys] These were thin pieces of break with pictures inprinted on them. Oplatki were eaten before the meal on Christmas Eve. After, the family said Grace, which was usually an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary.” The break was broken up, and each member of the family would take a drink of wine and some bread. Then they would eat.


A. Versano Andrew Gaydos #71 07/16/72 3 – 5:30 p.m.

“hotel” : Gaydos family apartment

[Drawing showing cellar and first floor, stove kitchen, 2 steps down, Main St.]

[Drawing showing 2nd floor, dining room, parlor, door [????] roof, porch, bannister rails]

[Drawing showing 3rd floor to bedrooms, men, girls, husband & wife, hall, door from 2nd floor]


Angela Varseano 6/5/72 Andrew Gaydos

This story was elicited when I asked ig he knew any stories about hauntings in the mines. I briefly described Helen’s story of her father, told to me that afternoon. (See H.F. 6/5.)

He then said, “Oh, these are old stories. They no such thing as ghosts. But I tell you, I had one experience.” There was a bridge near #5 crossing a ditch. They used to say it was haunted. So there was an old house, a large house, nearby on a hill in the woods. And one night I was coming home late [from working], and I had to pass that way. So as I was crossing the bridge, all of a sudden I heard, “Mmm! Mmm!” (grunts) And I ran, and I didn’t stop till I reached home. [where he lives now] So then the next day I went to find out what it was, and what was it? (The man in the house) Mr. _______ had pigs, and the pigs like to go in the coal dirt near the bridge. There was no ghosts- it was the pigs!

The big danger in mining in working getting the coal from the face because there is no support, no way of telling where it will collapse. There is a danger in placing the fuse for electric caps, when the fuse would break during lighting, from falling rock.

While working at #2, Anna Fedorsha’s husband was killed. Mr. Gaydos was glad they got him out without his help because he was a relative and he didn’t want to see him dead.

Tony Bartole was a shoemaker in Eckley. Mr. Gaydos talked to him in Italien and he was delighted.

They slaughtered on Thanksgiving since it was cold then. They cut up the meat and put it in a tub… salted it. The tub was stored outside in the shanty.

Mrs. Coxe was called the “Angel of Anthracite.” She gave Christmas presents presents to the school children ie. material for dresses, sleighs, dolls. When the children were older they got $1.00 in an envelope.

Mrs. Wyatt was a nurse for Eckley at one time.

Contributions Message

larson5, Daryl Bojarcik, judyak and Camille Westmont