Vol. 4-Interview-Zosack


W. Brown interviewing Susan Zosak -1 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

 WB: Do you know what I wanted to ask you Susan?

 SZ: What?

 WB: First of all, how do you spell your name Zosak, right?

 SZ: No Zoshak, when (Linea?) came from the old country they spelt it in Slovak Zosak and then when I got a job at the colliery they spelt it Zoshak so its good either way, in his miner’s checks in his pay checks (in his pay checks it was Zoshak) they spelt Zosak and in school and when the girls went in training when they pronounced it they spelt it Zoshak. It’s the same thing.

 WB: How long have you lived in Eckley here?

 SZ: Since 1913, the year I was married, I was married on the 13th of August, 1913. I was married in the morning.

 WB: So you’re originally from

 SZ: Humboldt, it’s 4 miles from Hazleton to Humboldt, we walked to Harleigh to shop but to church we always walked to Hazleton.

 WB: When were you born Susie?

 SZ: 1895 the first of December.

 WB: You’re 77 years old

 SZ: I’m 76 I was born the first of December 1895 well I’ll be 77 the second day of December.

 WB: And you’re Greek?

 SZ: It’s Greek Catholic, but I got to the Roman Catholic because the kids, Pop was a Roman Catholic and we drove we had a car and the kids were all baptised after that was the rule only unless the woman was cocky and smart that she seened that the kids would be baptised after her I wasn’t boss and I wouldn’t want it when they earned the bread and the kids were all baptised at St. Johns, one priest baptised 12 of our kids and the very first there was a priest Father (Bobyuh?)


W. Brown interviewing Susan Zosak -2 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

he baptised my eldest daughter and the other 12 Father Cronin baptised every one.

 WB: You’re Slavish, right?

 SZ: Yes, Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic it’s all the same, my mother could talk Greek, the Slavish would understand her because it wasn’t a hard Greek like I’m sayin’ my father and mother were both Greek Catholic and my mother could talk in Greek but you could understand her and then all the kids we just talked Slavish like when I got married my husband talked Slavish I could talk good Slavish, I can understand it I can even write a little bit in Slavish if you understand English you can learn Slavish, very easy

 WB: What was that you said the witch was

 SZ: Buyurka

 WB: Is that a Slavish name how do you spell that?

 SZ: Buyurka means one time they they say the lady take the milk and all that stuff you know

 WB: What do you mean they take the milk?

 SZ: Well say you have a cow and, witchcraft you know, around Lancaster they say, do you remember one time when some man killed a lady in Lancaster?

 WB: Was she a Busurka

 SZ: Well I don’t know wether she was or not may he thought she was, I wouldn’t say she was who am I to judge her

 WB: But they would steal the milk from cows?

 SZ: They would fix the cow that the cow wouldn’t have no milk, you know what theye wasn’t no busurka in Humboldt, but like I said, I think I tild you when we had Holy Supper, it wasn’t Holy Supper it was Christmas Eve and we always had a feast, no meat, fish and labotkias we baked little breads we made a big roll, a big thing of bread and then you cut it and then you baked it

 WB: And that was called labotkia

 SZ: Yes and then you broke it up and put boiling water and honey and poppy seed. I didn’t lke


W. Brown interviewing Susie Kosak -3 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

but all of our people liked it and some(?) of people made (?) like a piece of paper and (?) and milk break that up and put honey and poppy seed and water and have that but I didn’t like, that but my mother made it anyway.

 WB: Is this a traditional Slavish meal at Christmas time?

 SZ: Yeh, and some people, we’d have bean soup we’d have mashed potatoes, sour kraut and dried mushroom soup we’d have, my mother would have, but my mother wouldn’t use butter, I use butter to this minute I got it on my own but she would just brown the flour on the stove, just dry she didn’t like oil, see I would just as soon have butter, but she didn’t like oil and nobody else did everybody had to eat it how she liked, you know, and the mashed potatoes didn’t get no milk in or butter they just got mashed and the sour kraut

 WB: Now the way she did this was this traditional Slavish?

 SZ: See you’re supposed to fast, it’s not that we didh’t have butter we had homemade butter because we had cows but you weren’t supposed to eat butter

 WB: What was the name for this day was there a special name for this dinner?

 SZ: I think it was the Vigil of Christmas see like our Lord was going to be born and then at 12 o’clock we’d have supper and then we’d burn a candle too like the Slavish would get a volotkie I think I have some here I don’t know the Greek didn’t have a volotkie the Slavish did but it was like a wafer like communion only it was big so then we’d put honey on that and you’d eat that first

 WB: You’d eat that before the meal? What did that signify?

 SZ: Well that was blessed.

 WB: That was holy bread, how’s come you ate it before the meal?

 SZ: Well you couldn’t very well eat it any other way, here the organist from the church brought – that I have some in wax paper somewhere

 WB: Well then were there traditional foods that you ate at this meal

 SZ: Oh no some people would boil prunes you were supposed to have 12 like 12 apostles like 12 different things I made “3 comers” do you know what “3 comers”is


W. Brown interviewing Susie Kosak -4 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

did you eat any of them, well I like them well for supper I didn’t care for anything else but you’re not supposed to them but when we had supper I always made them, I didn’t care for anything else, we made pea soup, dried mushroom soup, mashed potatoes and saur kraut and labotkies our kids liked them even that guy that’s a teacher he liked them, you put hot water, honey and poppy seed, you it was good if you liked it but I didn’t like sweet stuff but I always made it because all of our liked it, and what was left over they liked it but I didn’t like it but you could make these little breads they were all little round things like that but you know the last year the baker had them

WB: Were they about and inch in diameter?

SZ: Yeh, but you could make them smaller or bigger but they were baked with a crust all around

WB: About how long were they, about a foot long

SZ: Oh no, you got the bread and you stretched it and you cut it and put pieces all over like dots and then you broke them up and put boiling water, honey and poppy seed

WB: Now so far you only told me 5 courses and you said there would be 12

SZ: Oh my God, well kinds of fish they’d have , any kind and some people had fish and herring, Eva always had dried herring and soup, mashed potatoes, saur kraut, labotkies and if you wanted to make them we didn’t always have 12 things

WB: Did you get served one dish at a time or did you just fill your plate up

SZ: Just put it on the table and help yourself but the first thing would be the labotkie, it’s like communion wafers and you burned the candle and do you know what my poor old faher used to do, may his soul rest, he used to work in the mines and he washed like Richard Harris in a little wooden tub on the floor you had to kneel beecause you were just like they stuck you in tar so you’d wash and after you’d get washed we’d put the tub they didn’t empty it . I son’t lnow what but


W. Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -5 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

I know the tub would be left there all the time on the side by the wall and when you got done eating my father would sit on the tub and blow the candle and look where the smoke goes and say wherever the smoke goes that party was goin’ to die, that’s full of baloney

WB: Now this was after the meal now and wherever the smoke went

SZ: Well everybody didn’t do that by my father would do

WB: But what ever direction it would go

SZ: But it never went any place but up, there was no body blowin’ so where was it goin’ to go

WB: Now you always had a candle you always ate by candle light during that

SZ: It was blessed candle we would by candle’s on (Candlemaus?) Day in church

WB: Candlemaus Day?

SZ: Yeh, Candlemaus Day is the Blessed Mother’s Day but they call it Candlemaus Day cause that’s when they bless candles and you but them in churcch, you know, I have one up stairs, I have a decorated one, has all kinds of things on it

WB: And you burned one candle at the table and you ate by that one candle

SZ: Yes, but we had a lamp burnin’ on the side too but they always burned the candle like the big shots do now, when you see them in the movies they always have candles, we’re not the only ones that burn candles

WB: This was the night of December 24?

SZ: Christmas Eve, and you know my mother and father before he ate, I think I told you this, he would take a little bit of everything, and we always had a cow and he would take this in a little wash and put it in and give it to the cow sayin’ was my father, may his soul rest, would say that somewhere some(body?) is the sister, in the old country the call him Gosda, the head of the family and when somebody was out there and they heard the cattle sayin’ their master’s havin’ a good meal but he didn’t give them any so I guess that’s just sayin’


W. Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -6 8/12/7 Tap 3-1

WB: Did you hear that anywhere besides your father?

SZ: Yeh, they say that on Christmas Eve that animals speak, I feel that draft from upstairs. I’m goin’ to close this door, we didn’t fuss so much but some people they had lots of different things, you don’t need that many soups or all that stuff, they made much more.

WB: I was interested in what you said that the animals speak, I’ve heard that before but did a lot of Slavish people give their animals something to eat that evening

SZ: I don’t know what the others did but my father when before Easter when we were having the baskets blessed, I guess this is the first year that I didn’t have blessed.

WB: How did you get it blessed?

SZ: Well you take it up to the priest and get it blessed and, this one you didn’t hear about, but first I got everything ready but I didn’t take it up I had to go all the way up to up to (blank?) or take it up to church so I didn’t but you bake bread and you have a round loaf of bread and you put salt in, it’s good to have blessed salt, and the chalk. They say it’s in the story book and I believe that if you put a chalk mark around maybe you sign your soul to the divvel or what but if he stands in that even that man signs his soul to the devil, the devil wont cross that chalk mark to get him, do you believe that

WB: I’ve heard that before

SZ: You heard it sure that’s how, we would take a piece of chalk and put it in the basket that we would have blessed before Easter you make like a cheese, like a custard and you get about 24 eggs and about a quart and a pint of milk and you put in on the stove and you just, I always make it, this time even for myself but I ate it, it’s very good it’s like a custard if I have time before you go may I’ll make one, you put a pound of water and you beat up the eggs and milk and a little salt and a little sugar and you put the pan in a boiling water so


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -7 8/12/72 Tape3-1

it would boil like a cooker you have a canner a cooker but we’d make a big pot so I’d have to put the water in a (?) but if you put it right on the stove it would get burned on the bottom, would get black marks to it so you’d put it in hot water and they put it in cloth like they make cheese, do you know how they make cheese from sour milk, did you ever see how they make it from skim milk, you know the cottage cheese that you buy well that’s what they make it from sour milk, we used to have a cow and you know that milk, you didn’t put it in other containers, you had crocks, yeh a 4 qt. crock we didn’t sell all the milk so you put that in first of all and you know in the summer when it was hot and the cow would lay down on the hot coal dirt you had to wash the thing off and had to was her whatchcall it

WB: Udders

SZ: Yeh and wash that off nice maybe she had a little crack or something you put on some butter that wasn’t salted unsweetened butter before you got to milk her I could milk a cow, we had one here and that bugger she almost killed me so then when you put the milk down in the cellar the best thing to do, see we didn’t have no ice, there was no ice man, so I used to take the milk even when I sold, one time when we had a cow I sold about 9 qts. but not long because the cow kicked and Pop got rid of her right away, I hated it I’d rather get a book now and then and have that because it came to about $40 a month when we sold it and we had enough of our own see it was genuine guernsey, well she wasn’t registered but her people, I mean her mother was because Coxe’s had her and when Coxe’s went out of business my husband went down and bought this first calf and you know she wasn’t in, Gregory bought her, Gregory down on the farms there when I asked how’s the cow, most of the cows that you get should get 3, 4 qts. at a time the one gave you 10 qts. at a time because she was a regular Guernsey and the milk was good that you can ask his he said “I never drink milk that came fresh from the cow but this milk is different,” it had a regular Guernsey taste


W.Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -8 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

WB: Now I wanted to ask you about that chalk mark that intrigues me now first of all tell me about the chalk, it was just regular chalk?

SZ: It was just chalk and we had it blessed.

WB: And the priest would bless it?

SZ: It was in the basket that we had blessed, you could have it blessed on the Blessed Mother’s Day when they blessed flowers and things you know and they blessed Palms you could have it blessed then you know but we used to put it in the basket when we had that cheese made from eggs and butter cheese, cottage cheese, whatever came from the cow, you know, and bread and we’d put salt do you know what my father used to do, he’d take a quart and a pint can and put salt in, he was like old people he came from over there and I guess there was witches there, I don’t know but he would always put some of that salt in the chop or bran, some cows you’d gather up slop and spill everything but when we had a cow we never did that we never had slops like that so we would just give her maybe pour that water into the chop or give it to her dry, she would eat it dry, you couldn’t give her too much because she would blow up, you know but some you’d put the chop in the thing, he would even go down to the stable and with that blessed chalk he’d make crosses over the door and when the priest comes

WB: And that would bless the cow then?

SZ: That wouldn’t bless the cow but it would keep the witches away but there wasn’t no withches, there was no witches in Humboldt

WB: How about Eckley, were there any witches in Eckley?

SZ: Oh no, I don’t kow but snyway there was a family(?) and we got that guernsey cow and she gave a bucket full and I don’t know when I was goin’ up the goin’ up the thing I even showed it to them and I’d say now that’s what you call a cow, it was we never had a cow that good and that good of a milk, their cow didn’t give that much I wasn’t even afraid to show it to them


W.Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -9 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

We had a Jersey cow and she only gave half that amount but Jersey milk is all butter, and the Holstein would give you lots of milk but it was watery we had a cow that gave lots of milk that was watery not very rich, she was a Holstein

WB: But do you think there was any witches in Eckley?

SZ: No, maybe once upon a time there was an old Irish woman lived up by, I don’t know but anyway my sister she lived up on the Back Street Mrs. (?) she went across the street and there was a butcher and it was hard to buy a pound of meat, he had his own customers and he had real nice meat there was another butcher but he wasn’t very clean, you know, so so somebody asked her for a paper bag and then when she came home somebody said well that lady’s supposed to be a witch and my sister has a cow on the Back Street and and the lady across the street had a cow but I don’t know if she’d do anything, they were just crazy ideas then she went back and asked for the piece of paper that she needed it she was scared.

WB: So there wasn’t any witches in Eckley, how about were there any Powwowers?

SZ: No they had to go someplace for the Powwowers, you know what there used to be a guy in Upper Lehigh and when I got married and had little children I couldn’t eat and had no appetite, there was nothing wrong, just had no appetite so I went to Upper Lehgh I got (?) and I scared myself I thought I must be gettin’ weak there was a lady that lived, and she did get T.B. and it scared everybody she was sick and run-down and well I must have it too because I’m skinny and can’t eat and then Josephine (?) we had the same doctor and I told Dr Corlie I have T.B. I’m so skinny and he said, “I’m tellin’ you, you don’t,” but he said, “Go to Dr. Neals he was Dr. Neals doctor, I walked to Dr. Neals and he gave me a tonic and I started eatin’ right away when he gave me a tonic I got used to the darn tonic and couldn’t eat again, and I had to work because I had little children so then on my own thing we went to Upper Lehigh there was a guy that used to cook all kinds of Herbs, well he was a Powwow too because my mother was a mid-wife in Humboldt 4-miles from Hazleton and when the kid was little and it would get, we used to


(Patent Medicare??) Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosaak -10 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

call it (?) it was like wastin’ away like it didn’t pick up whatever sometimes the mother’s milk didn’t agree with it at that time every mother nursed her babies, you know and sometimes he milk wasn’t the right thing for it, maybe it didn’t agree with it but anyway my mother used to go to, there was a lady in Freeland she was a pretty good a pretty (?) woman Mrs. (?) , she would go to her, when this man was there he was a Powwower. ?

WB: Do you remember what his name was?

SZ: Some would remember that lived in Upper Lehigh or maybe some of these people around there

WB: Now when was this about 1910?

SZ: About 1920 maybe because I was married in 1913 well we went down there to his and I thought I had T.B. and on the way down I scared myself so much that I was goin’ to go to Lock Haven (White Haven?) that’s what I was talkin’ to my sister when we went to church and we went to this Powwow guy and he said, “Lady I don’t have the cure for T.B. and he said, ” You don’t have no T.B.” and when we came back from there I wasn’t even sick

WB: Well what did he do for you?

SZ: Nothin’ he just took it off my mind, he just said I didn’t have T.B. and that was enough, he said, “I have no cure,” he said, “You know what you do get yourself a bottle (I’ll never forget) Dill’s Balm of Life,” that was a that you grease, that must have brought the blood circulation up because that wasn’t even a tonic that was stuff that you rubbed when you had rheumatism it wasn’t poison but he said a couple drops in water, they were like Hoffman drops, only one man made Hoffman drops that smelled like, I don’t know, you can’t buy it no place, there was only one druggist and he made it himself and afterwards if you had a pain in the stomach there was kind of a thing there that helped your stomach, you know what I mean, I don’t know what he made it from but later on you couldn’t buy it because this man made it himself he was a druggist and he


(Flaxseed??) W.Brown interviewing Susie Zosak 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

moved to Hazleton and then moved away you can get it now because I went to and he said, “You’ll have to go to Hazleton,” and I forget his name “and I don’t make it, he’ll make it because that’s a homemade remedy.”

WB: Speaking about homemade remedies I’ll bet you know a lot of different homemade remedies that you used or say for instance for scratches or bited, mosquito bites and things

SZ: Yeh, flaxseed we use to put on, you won’t believe this but one time say you stepped on a nail or got a splinter and it would fester and you had to wait till it got done and it would jump when you got infection and it didn’t go thru your system it festered in that one place and you’d put flaxseed on so you wouldn’t feel the pain or bread and milk the milk used to draw the thing and you didn’t feel the pain.

WB: Used to draw the pus out

SZ: It would draw the pain while it was festerin’ and it would open and that was alright

WB: Flaxseed was the same thing

SZ: Flaxseed the same thing, it didn’t pain when you had the flaxseed on I remember one time I had an awful sore finger I don’t know what I got it from but I went to this doctor, he was a nice doctor, Dr.(?), he died young and he thought I had a (felon?) it was like blood poison I guess, it swelled about 3 times what it was supposed to be and he said you must have a (felon?) and that oldest boy that’s a school teacher now, he was with me and I said, “No, I won’t let you cut it,” and he said, “We’ll let it go some more” and one of our boys has mastoid twice and the same thing the second time and we didn’t have sulpha or nothin’ else I don’t believe too much in drugs but I’ll be dam when I went to the doctors and he gave no pills I said, “The hell witch your pills,”? but my daughter when she was in nursing

WB: You put sulpha on you thumb?

SZ: No they didn’t have sulpha then


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -12 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

SZ: No I just had a fester

WB: How did you heal your thumb?

SZ: Well it just festered, and he thought it was a felon because that’s how you get a felon, it comes out but my didn’t, when I said and this boy was with me that had the mastoids, wait till I tell you what the kid said, “She won’t have to cut it , she’ll pray and it won’t have to be cut.”

WB: And is that what you did, you prayed and

SZ: Well I always pray anyway but the Doctor said, (Gallagher) he was a good man, he just started you know, he was the doctor and I had a baby at that time and the boy had mastoids so he sent the kid to the hospital because he had to and then I had him for myself too so I paid him he was startin’ and needed money lots of time doctors take care of you and you have money and you still wont pay, you know what I mean so he was good, he was very good, so when the kid said, he was goin’ for treatment then, he was very good, so when the kid said, he was goin’ for treatment then, he said to this doctor, you won’t have to cut it she ‘ll pray and you won’t have to cut it and he said that’s what your mother thinks and then when I went after it festered, it festered all around and got all, then it opened around the sides and cut all the scar over and he was goin’ to operate this wasn’t that time this was another time when I had a, I have to think, it was twice I had a sore finer, well I said, look you said you’d have to operate on it, so I was supposed to go to Dr, Mardiac because he came to visit somebody else and I showed him my finger and I paid him for tellin’ me to come to the office and I thought, this old devil charged me 5 or 6 dollars to tell me to come to the office I was like a dummy because that’s how dumb I was and he charged me the second time, he would because that’s the kind he was, and then I thought you can go to heck instead of soakin’ me, I went to Dr. Gallagher, he cut all the skin off so I said, Dr. Mardiac said this was goin’ to be an operation and Dr. Gallagher said well this is what he calls an operation, see he’d have charge me about 20 for an operation that Dr. Gallagher was a man


Home remedies Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

that you paid him and by the time he went out he gave the kids, this one he’d give a quarter, this one he’d give a dime and this one he’d give 15c by the time he left he hardly had the money you paid him and you’d ask him what he charged I remember one time he came here and I didn’t go to the office I stopped him on Center St. and paid him on Center Street because he deserved it that’s the kind of good man that he was, he died tho?

WB: Did you have special cures for headaches or for runny nose or chapped hands or chapped lips when you had a cold, or earache?

SZ: Well all those leaves there’s those big, there’s some in the yard I’ll show you when we had, I tell you the God’s truth, we had 5 kids and the 6th was already married and we never had a doctor

WB: You used to take care of them with special herbs

SZ: They got sick and they got better and I remember one time when one of our boys was sick my mother was a midwife and some other guy was sick on the other street why my mother would bring some of that medicine that that kid had, wether it was good or not it didn’t hurt, but he really was sick, this kid was, and that doctor was a good doctor I worked for him later on, housework, he was good he treated everybody nice, a good doctor but we just didn’t call a doctor they go better when they got sick

WB: But you used to have certain things that you would use, what would you do for an earache?

SZ: Smoke, with like I said that candle

WB: A special holy candle

SZ: No you know what it was it had (???) they called it it was all kinds of herbs in that, all kinds and then it would be pitched like from a pine tree but it was pitch, it wasn’t black tar it was pitch, like that stuff on a pine tree

WB: Like resin?

SZ: Yeh, well that candle they made in the old country you couldn’t get it here


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -14 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

And you’d cut a piece of that off and put it on hot coals and if it was a sore ear you’d put the head over so the smoke could go, or if you were sick some other way it was all blessed stuff, you know and they would do that, or do you remember Mrs. Harts, the Harts that live up town, they had, and I use to live on the Back Street in one house and the Harts lived across the street, Mrs. Harts went to the doctor and she was goin’ lower and lower all the time just gettin’ sicker and sicker and could hardly walk she really should have been in bed but she had a couple of children I guess 5 or 6 and he was a sport he didn’t give a darn he married Diana then did you hear about her? she was the Eckley no-good rat, she was the Eckley tough do you know Bruno Ballas, well Bruno Ballas father and that lady’s husband were brothers and there was one of them boys, you know when that brass band goes in Philadelphia he has orders for all them uniforms, her son, and she still lives, she buried 2 husbands already, no she buried 3, she had Ballas and then another guy then she had old Harts, well the second got sick and went, well this Mrs. Harts when she died, he married this Diana she had Ballas and then she had a boarder that died and then this 3rd Harts guy’s dead but I’m not sayin’ she got rid of the third Harts guy because it was time for him to die. So Mrs. Harts she got a woman from somewhere, one of them ladies that knew all kinds of greens and herbs and she was there, was it a week or two or three and she stayed there and whatever she done, they used to say you had a barrel full of warm water as hot as you could stand and those herbs they’d put in there, you know and I don’t know if it was 8 days or 9 days and that woman cured her, honest to God.

WB: She put in the herbs in a tub full of water

SZ: Yeh, the doctor couldn’t do anything for her she was just goin’ to die I guess, because even when there was a Jewish peddler, he was a nice guy, he used to come around with a little wagon

WB: Sam the Jew?

SZ: Yes he was a Jew, no it wasn’t Sam, he was the guy that the huckster this


Toothache Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -15-

guy was oh God I can’t think of the name he came before Sam or maybe at the same, he was a good man too, he was the huckster but this guy used to sell material and when he went there, like a Gypsy wagon, he opened and closed it with hard sides like a hearse only it didn’t have the windows, it was nice and then she came out and he said, “Does she have T.B.” and I just got married at that time and there was a lot of things I didn’t know maybe it was T.B. I didn’t know what T.B. was that’s how bad she looked and I said, I don’t know, she’s sick but he didn’t care he had a mustache he’d come home from work and play cards, the hell with the work, wouldn’t even take the bucket down to the cows she had a cow too poor (????) soul Hartsie you that Johnny (?) wife she’s a Harts girl and she’s a good woman and everyone of Harts’ and there’s a Harts boy up there they’re good and wherever there is a Harts they’re all good and when he married that old no good whor, you might as well say, she was the biggest whor that ever lived, them them kids asked to be taken down to (????) one of them boys and the other one is someplace else they were good boys they couldn’t stand, they didn’t know they were bad but they asked to be away from them the girl already got married and they have one away in Philly somewhere, and older girl and then there’s a Harts boy that’s up there now. So what were you goin’ to say, oh yes that lady got cured

WB: In 8 days?

SZ: To tell you the truth I only seen her, I didn’t count the days, but she was there a few days maybe a week maybe 2, she stayed there.

WB: She was a Powwow lady?

SZ: Whatever she done to her she wasn’t a witch, I swear she wasn’t a witch

WB: Say for instance you had a toothache, what would you use for a toothache?

SZ: Oh you’d put whiskey on it and hold it there and it would stop, alcohol and then you’d spit it out and if you had a abscess you had to wait till it burst but that deadened it but later on you could get stuff in the drug store but one time we just suffered we didn’t have anything in the drug store to put on


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -16 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

WB: How about for eyes, if you had pain in the eyes or headache?

SZ: Well if you got any pain at all in Eckley, Mrs. Coxe had a nurse and she took care of that, which was good. Where I lived we didn’t have no nurses but that doctor, Dr. Cordon they had, that St. Joe’s Hospital was Dr. Johns, Dr. Williams, Dr. Martins. Dr. Lawrence, they had a couple doctors, their mother and dad lived in Eckley, no they lived in Hazlebrook and they walked to that little church and they were married there and they had a priest and 2 doctors, I guess 3 doctors and

WB: At St. Joe’s?

SZ: (?) Father Martin was a priest in Wilkes-Barre, John was a doctor at 236 W. (?) that’s where (?) used to come and see me and then the son went, that was Lawrence, but Jim was a doctor, Martin was a doctor in Wilkes-Barre and John was a doctor and he used to come around and you used to put a card in the window if anybody was sick

WB: There was different colored cards for different doctors?

SZ: No you just put a card in with doctor, and that meant a doctor go in there because there was somebody sick there, sometimes you wouldn’t even be sick but you just wanted to see the doctor, and talk and he’d give you pills, you’d throw the pills away because they didn’t think the doctor could just look at your tongue and know id you’re sick.

WB: How much did you pay for the doctor?

SZ: A dollar a month, that’s the God’s truth, do you believe that? Did you ever hear that?

WB: And did you pay for the medicine?

SZ: No he gave you that, he would give you the pills.

WB: So that was a dollar a month and he would see you as often as you were sick?

SZ: Yeh, If you needed a doctor for a month straight, he’d come in for a month straight but then he would like to, when a baby was born why then he would charge


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -17 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

$5 but my mother was a md-wife and there was another mid-wife.

WB: Oh there were 2 mid-wives in Eckley

SZ: My mother was the main one, she wasn’t the smartest the other lady was a little bit more “tony” like and then one time we were comin’ home from Hazleton and we stopped, the doctor, the baby got sick or somethin’ and he was a good man, oh yeh, the mother had a dead-born baby see they didn’t want to call the doctor people at that time wanted to save the $5

WB: How much would your mother charge

SZ: $3,50 for a week and if they didn’t have anything you didn’t get nothin’ but you know what, you went and you washed the baby and washed the clothes

WB: Would she deliver the baby, and watch over the mother for a week for $3.50?

SZ: Yeh, and the mother would get up in 2 days or 3 but that’s how they do now in the hospital they getcha up in a day that time you had to lay in the bed 9 days and when you got up you died because of blood clot there was Gaffney’s young man she was good for 9 days and when she got up the poor soul she got a blood clot and she died

WB: A blood clot?

SZ: Yeh, that’s why they getcha up right away after child birth they getcha up right away

WB: You said in Eckleythe people would stay in bed 9 days

SZ: Only the ones, that’s what the doctor would tell you to do but later on even in the hospital the gotcha up right away and in 3 days you ought to be home sure they didn’t believe in that they learned from the other ones that it wasn’t the right thing to do so they wouldn’t get blood clots they’d just tumble over and die, the get a blood clot and that was the end.

WB: What else would your mother do as a mid-wife

SZ: She’d wash the baby

WB: Wash the baby and do some work around the house


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SZ: If they had some other, someone else would help but she would wash the baby take it to the priest and you know when the baptise the baby and if the baby was sick she would get to that powwow lady with the mother

WB: Oh she’d go to the powwow lady in Lehigh?

SZ: Yeh powwow or whatever, there was a man there one time and he was good he wasn’t a witch or nothin’ but when I went down he said, I can’t cure you because you don’t have it, and when he told me that I didn’t have it I wasn’t sick I needed a tonic and started to eat and not worry, I worried myself sick because this lady had T.B. and when the doctor came he said, “You’re like Josephine,” she got it in her head too and her daddy died with T.B. she suffered a little bit more than that so he sent me to Dr. Neal but I didn’t believe Dr. Neal but Dr. Neal was a good old doctor did you hear about him, he looked like Santa Claus he didn’t care he treated everybody good he was poor, he treated you if you were poor or if you were rich, he didn’t go for the money

WB: Was he from Eckley or was he from Sandy Valley

SZ: No he lived in Upper Lehigh but he had an office in Freeland and he married some relatives of Markels, but he was in big charge, he had doctors that would come around town and there was a doctor, Dr. Redmond I believe and he said, there was something wrong with one of our kids she had an awful fever and she was burning up, the other doctor was comin’ and givin’ her some kind of medicine, but he knew and he said, “I’m goin’ to send Dr. Neal this kid ain’t gettin’ better” so he worked for Dr. Neal and he took the kid and tapped her on the back and listened and he said, “This kid is full of acid,” whatever happened, did I eat somethin’ because I used to nurse her and he looked at the medicine and he said “What is this a mouth wash, “when Dr. Neal came and Denion’s had (?) left the door open and he left and said so many drops, and you know I started them drops in the middle of the night and by morning that kid was really gettin’ better that’s how smart he was and that other


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poor guy he didn’t know what was wrong and then do you know what, that thing that she had inside that acid or whatever it was made sores inside and she put her finger in her mouth and some of the sores would stick on the thing on her fingers and right away the next morning there was a change and that’s how smart he was

WB: Speaking of doctors was your mother a good

SZ: My mother wasn’t a doctor do you lnow what she used to do, when the baby was born when this baby was born dead and they didn’t call nobody thet were goin’ to have it among the neighbors and this lady they weren’t even goin’ to call the mid-wife they could get along without anybody my mother told me and when the doctor came he said, “When they call me that’s nothin” he was a good man but he said when ever she goes let her call the doctor which was the right thing how can you make anybody call a doctor when the don’t want to, there were mid-wives all the time when my mother was there the baby was born

WB: Your mother did other work besides deliver babies didn’t she, she helped people with colds and

SZ: Yeh, she would wash the baby and she would take those things and put them in bake the baby in that if it wasn’t fellin’ good and rub, and grease them up with lard and bandaged them up and you know if the mother would eat a sour apple or anything even a sweet apple or even a grape that, when the baby would nurse that would give them the colic not for long but it had to get used to it but you had to watch what you eat, you couldn’t eat an orange or anything because the baby would cry it would get a sore belly like, colic.

WB: But she did other things besides deliver babies?

SZ: Well she did housework, she did ours

WB: But when people had colds and things and people didn’t want to pay for a doctor didn’t she help them

SZ: Yeh, she put turpentine or camphorated oil and mix it half and rub it



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WB: Turpentine and camphorated oil?

SZ: Turpentine with oil, plain oil or with lard because it was too strong or camphorated oil, half and half, the doctor would tell you that too, you’d rub it here and on the back and on the shoulders and when the baby was little and had a sore belly they’d put a bellyband on and grease that up and, and like when the baby was born so it wouldn’t have crooked legs and all and you’d have to see that both legs were straight they would take a shawl or a big diaper and put the baby in here it had to have a diaper and everything on first and then you’d put the one arm there then you would wrap the feet together, wrap it all around and put this over here and it would be like the Indians like you see the Capoose

WB: That would keep the legs straight?

SZ: You would look to see that one leg was long as the other so it’s not crippled and when they got the colic you would take this and put it with this and this put it with this that would stop the colic tooo because they had gas

WB: If they had colic you would use your arm against the baby

SZ: No the baby’s arm against his knee

WB: Take one elbow and place it against the opposite knee and take the other elbow against the other opposite knee, do that several times

SZ: Yeh, sometimes the baby would be constipated and maybe that’s what it was, you know and then if it got sort of twisted, not twisted or out of place but it would help if you wrapped the baby up nice and tight and put camphorated oil on that would help that was like puttin’ your hand on and takin’ the pain away because that would take the colic away and rub the back, well we used to tub the babies on the back and between teh shoulders I used to do that too my mother did it and then there was a neighbor, Mrs. Stephanko

WB: Mrs. Stephanko was a mid-wife?

SZ: Yeh you know that Andrew that has the arm and leg off


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WB: Oh the teacher?

SZ: Yeh, did you ever meet him?

WB: No but I heard of him the, I heard about him

SZ: Well he was our neighbor and she was a mid-wife

WB: There was only 2 mid-wives in Eckley?

SZ: There was Mrs. Machiskie she was my mid-wife and had about 3 doctors I guess, I’d have a doctor and then he’d get his practice and then I’d get another one, well Mrs Machiskie, are there Machiskie’s in Eckley, yeh Johnny Cash’s wife she is a Machiskie but her grandmother was a mid-wife, then there was Mrs. Stephanko and then Mrs. Machiskie got too old and she didn’t go and then Mrs. Stephanko used to go. Andrew’s mother the one the one without the arm, he was coming from Huckleberries and he crossed and when he was crossing his one leg and arm was cut off he used to live next door.

WB: How about some other cures that you used are there other special cures that you used for different ailments

SZ: Yeh, there’s watchacallit, they used to say you were “overlooked”, it’s like a tea it’s not poison I don’t know if there’s any around and then there’s that watyoucall it, they use it for bad hearts, (digitalis?)

WB: Garlic?

Sz No they need garlic too my father was a great garlic guy, I have some right there, you make, I remember when my oldest daughter graduated, she graduated from Philadelphia General and I had that book and it told you where that whatyoucall it, that was a good book I don’t know where it disappeared, somebody just took it, one of ours, you know, maybe my second daughter graduated she used to go with a guy from Highland, so the one that belonged to her she never got it, there was no other book that the other girls graduated, none of them got any books like that it was gotten from Philadelphia General, that even had that this professor he was a big shot and he was sidk and he seen poor prople go on, and I was


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -22 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

thinkin’ when I have more time, when I had little kids I didn’t have time to read but I like to read even now, anything and I thought when I have more time I’m goin’ to read that it was the history of nursing and you could see a picture of St. Elisabeth when she had a leper in the tub in the picture and she was washin’ this leper and that was in Hungary where my husband and my father came from, St. Elisabeth was the Queen of Hungary, and when her husband died her mother-in-law put her out, that was the history, she did do that but was a saint before she died even

WB: You said your father used a lot of garlic for his remedies

SZ: Garlic is good, onions is good too, onions is good for a cold and they have iron in and it’s good for a cold and do you know what they’d do, they’d stew onions and put on there to loosen all that, on your chest there

WB: And that would loosen the phlegm in your throat?

SZ: Yeh, to get that out, stewed onions and garlic, my father used to put the garlic on the stove and then we’d rub our feet with it

WB: What would that do?

SZ: Cure the cold, and Mrs. Morris across the street she was a Greek woman, a Galatian she would make a string like pearls and put them around her neck because a certain part of the month if you had worms and that time they used to drink fresh milk from the cows, it wasn’t pasteurised, And the worms liked that and kids had worms it didn’t hurt them but some would vomit one up or some would come up here real big ones they didn’t hurtcha but but she put that and you passed them.

WB: What was on the chain

SZ: Garlic, she’d put them on a string and they smelled it and they didn’t like the garlic smell and then you’d pass them out, some times they would come out your moth or your nose

WB: How about teas, were there special teas that you drank?

SZ: There was different kinds of stuff that they used I know this digitalis is the


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stuff that they used, well this man in the History of Nursing said that when they went to see what the woman was curin’ the people with, this professor, he thought the hell with youse big doctors them poor people are gettin’ cured by this old lady, he didn’t say it like I’m sayin’ it, he went and when this man went there and came gack and got cured those smart men went and asked him where he was and went to her and it said there, this I read myself that old lady those things that she had but they’re usin’ that digitalis today for bad heart, he said they’re usin’ that today that that woman had in there but she had 8 or 9 and none of them doin’ any harm and she didn’t know what was good for each, I guess, but she steamed them, that’s what cured that Mrs. Harts and I’m tellin’ you that woman looked like

WB: Digitalis was in the water?

SZ: Yeh, digitalis, she had digitalis too and it said that this digitalis was, they’re usin’ that today to make medicine for heart conditions yeh, it was in that book and they’re still usin’ it today and one of my relations she seen it and she said that’s digitalis and she said that’s for he heart, she’s usin’ it.

WB: Well how about mustard plaster?

SZ: Mustard plaster that loosens it but you have to watch or it will burn you have to have, flour I guess they put and they put it between rags, now all mustard it would burn you I think they put flour in it, I think flour because we didn’t use it for a long time and bran one of my kids, I think Agnes she used to get bronchitis and I always had bran, you know what bran is – chop, it’s bran from the wheat or the rye, it’s just the shell it’s chop when you had a cow you’d get corn chop and then you’d have everything all mixed together but then at that time you had corn chop and middlin chop, that’s finer and then you’d put bran in with it to make lighter, bran was good for everything, so I always had bran bags, I’d have one in the oven and I’d take this one off and rub her with


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -24 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

camphhorated oil and put that on and she even had pneumonia one time and my husband said, he said in broken English, she’s gettin’ pneumonia, he said it is his own way, I said, “I don’t think she can get it,” and he said, “She has it, and the next day he said, “You know this kid fooled me,” bran bags and them things all night puttin’ that on and off loosen that up and she was better in the morning and then I had to have that all the time until she got a certain age she used to get every so many weeks soon as she got a little bit of cold she would get all choked up and I had to do that all the time and he gave me medicine and I’d always have that medicine on hand, I’d give that medicine that the doctor left and put the bran bag on, the doctor used to order the bran bag. And later on they didn’t have to order them because I put them on anyway and they was good.

WB: Did you ever use any special roots?

SZ: Oh I don’t know there’s all kinds, ther’s sassafrass that you get in the woods that’s good for something, I forget what Mrs. (?? on TV) or what they call her she would tell you what things are good for

WB: Who?

SZ: I don’t know what her name is, she has kids there and she learns them about you know these leaves with a ball on top there, there’s some around your place too, you know what I mean, well when that’s tender that’s good to eat and the top is always good the top like a ball of flour (or flower??), you know what I mean, well I never thought that was any good but I heard her I only had her on for a minute the other day, she said that you can eat.

WB: Oh on television

SZ: Yeh, she shows all the herbs and what they’re good for, but I have to look when she’s on I should watch her all the time and mark it down because she knows everything like that, honest to gosh, I never heard my mother say that was good for anything and most of our people know that and there’s those blue flowers


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they’re good for something (?????) the ones that grow around the road, those little blue flowers, and then there’s digitalis, that’s good.

WB: How about mushrooms, you pick a lot of mushrooms

SZ: If you ever take any of those mushrooms that grows there with those warts on they’re worse than a rattle snake

WB: Yes, but how about yellow toppers and red toppers

SZ: Yeh, yellow toppers and plain ones are good and the pinky too those that grows in bunches there are some that are good, other ones too

WB: When you pick them do you get them just for to eat or

SZ: I dry them, when I pick them I give them to the neighbor and I dry some too and our boys all like them and I like them too but instead of cookin’ them up I just give them away, I ate them once, in the spring did you ever have them in the spring? the boy loves them or you can make soup out of them, they’re good but you have to know what kind and the pinky you make pinky soup our Butchie, he loves them I made a big, big pot when Pop was livin’ yet and Pop looked in the pot, he liked it and, and you’d make dumplings on the side you made with brown butter, I showed Angeline how she’s goin’ do it, with brown butter with the pinky’s that grow in bunches you make a soup out of them you have to clean them off, wash them good because they’re in bunches and sometimes you find a snail or anything one day I went up in the woods and brought them in my apron and I brought some kind of a round worm, I don’t know what kind it is but it had no head, no tail just a big ball of somethin’ a big salamander, do you know what a salamander is, in my apron, I picked them things with the mushrooms and I dumped them there was this thing, I wouldn’t take that guy in the apron for all the, I’d be afraid, it looked like a lizard and one time when it rained around here after the rain there would be lizards but not anymore, how come did you know that, after the rain, lizard and salamander is different. Yeh, a salamander is smaller.


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SZ: Smaller and uglier, a lizard is ugly too I hate them things, a lizard is red or orange so with that the mushrooms they grow in bunches

WB: I’m just now thinking, I heard the story about what was it that jumped in here at No.1 one day and drowned, who was that

SZ: That guy’s father down there, Patruska

WB: Yeh, that’s right Patruskas father

SZ: Do you know what, he went down there to swim, he was pickin’ coal and after he got done he went in and there was boys there and he blessed himself before he went in the water and he drowned he must have got a cramp or somethin’ and he didn’t come up for 9 or 10, 10 days they were throwin’ doolie down to bring him up

WB: What’s doolie

SZ: Dynamite, we call it doolie, in Slavish you call it Doolin, my husband called it Doolin and my father, my father used to have to make the dynamite sticks and then later on they had it made, they bought it made, but my father used to get paper and ugly soap and I say ugly because you couldn’t use it for wash, it was strong and they used to put that soap to hold it together and they got heavy heavy like wax paper and they used make it and a powder, they used to buy powder in kegs they used to make their own sticks of dynamite

WB: When did they start making their own sticks, about 1910?

SZ: 1913 I got married and I guess it was already made, and my husband didn’t have to make it but my father used to make it and they use to have one of them lamps like down there that used to smoke all day and the black oil you bought and we used to hold our hands like this and he would take the cotton and wrap it around and tie it and out it and he had a string he’d pull it thru that thing, I would know how to do it because we used to hold the lamp for his and he’d make it, he used to buy the cotton, you’d have to make your own wicks, you know, my father used to, my husband didn’t (undistinguishable and blurry sentence??????)


-Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -27 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

with the black oil by the way they got the carbide lamps with the smoke and carbide were and you didn’t have to smoke the lamps, but he worked in the mines, and my husband did too, see I was a kid and that was many many years after I was married, see I got married in 1913 and I was born in 1895 so when I was a kid about 6 years old I remembr when Pop made that but all that while but when I got married thay used to use these lamps, a good many years and before them and all those props and things by the breaker there, all them were the things that the men put up and then they went strippin’ they were all in the mines

WB: I also heard they threw bread down in the water to make him come up

SZ: Yeh, they did.

WB: Was that a usual thing?

SZ: That was like they do at Holy Supper.

WB: Did they throw loaves of bread down?

SZ: It’s like our Lord threw bread on the water, but he came up in 10 days he jumped but he didn’t commit suicide, he just went and one day they were fixin’ on that cemetery, did they tell you about that, the horses were in there, a man was puttin’ the grave stone things on there, whatdoyou call it ant these horses got scared and there was no things like that, just woods and they were nice horses, not just any kind when you have a team of horses to pull them big stones they’re not just nags and thet ran and they drowned

WB: That’s right, I heard about that up there in the reservoir

SZ: And then, (???) he went down, did he go down there with a thing on or just like that or the haressess off the horses, I don’t know, he’s dead now, he was a soldier and he must have learnt that when he was in the army and got the harnesses off the horses, there was 2 horses not one, two, they got scared and went down there, at that time maybe it was $50 a horse, now it would be a couple hundred dollars because he didn’t just have any kind


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WB: Was there something special, when the men went in the mines, did your husband ever come back and tell you special things they would do to insure that they would be o.k. when they came out of the mines that they wouldn’t have a cave-in?

SZ: One time our daddy he worked with a man from, he’s dead now, and the water it was layin’ outside and they were workin’ somewhere on a platform and when that water broke too, they didn’t run, but when those logs and everything came and it washed them where the platform where they was gettin’ the coal ready for the car, the platform was like a table and they were gettin’ the coal ready there and it broke too and it came and washed my husband and that buddy of his the buddy was an older man and it (washed?) them right out, outside with the logs, he came home, they were goin’ to get a doctor there at the office because that’s where you went and that old man Zelinsky he was livin’ at Freeland he stayed, he has a son in Freeland and my husband came on home, he was all muddy it washed them all out with the props and everything and whatever came it was goin’ outside and he was washed on the outside of the thing and when he went up there, he just left everybody there and came right home but he was scared see the platform’s where thet get coal and that water broke too and washed the both of them and when he came home he said, “I never thought that (I forget his first name, he was an old man from Freeland there) that he was going to live,” but they both were washed out and another time my husband was workin’ with another guy, Willie Nagle was married to his daughter, a big family he was killed

WB: Were there special things, special prayers the men would do, or special things they would observe

SZ: They always blessed themselves before they went in the mines, they did pray but it happened, there was, uptown there was a girl that got married, was only married a month and her husband was killed and this man that I said was washed out with my husband he got killed later with that they were relations with


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another young man that lived up town, he was killed (?????)daddy he was killed, he worked with my husband.

WB: I understand there were superstitions like women weren’t allowed in the mines were they?

SZ: Not to work

WB: Yeh, but they weren’t allowed to go in because that was considered bad luck

SZ: No that wasn’t true, if you wanted to go in the mines you could go, but no woman would go in, now my husband used to work in #2 it was on that rail that went to Hazlebrook, I don’t know if you walked out there or not, that was a man hole where they came out, they went in the mines at the breaker here and #2 somewhere but that was the hole, so we, I went in part way, I was scared to death, but I went in, sure, nobody stopped you if your husband wanted to take you to show you in there you didn’t go far because you didn” want to go, it was a mine and they would take coal from there and coal from there and this is where the car runs, you know and Pop didn’t mind it he soon got used to it there and he didn’t mind it

WB: No I just heard if a woman went down in the mine it was bad luck, I heard if a miner passed a red-headed woman on the way to work that was bad luck

SZ: No that was if a woman passed a street and a car was comin’ down or if a woman passed you that was bad luck that was full of shit the woman was maybe a hundred times better than the one that was sittin’ on the buggy. Do you know if I saw a car comin’ up and it was pretty close I remember I said, bad luck so I’m crossin’ but that guy whether he knew it or not he probably figure it that way bad luck for the woman to cross before he come down

WB: In a horse and buggy or a car?

SZ: Horse and buggy or a car, then it was horse and buggy, then it was a car that was considered that the woman cross the street

WB: What was some of the other things that were considered bad luck?


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SZ: There was lots of things, oh on, the day before Christmas a girl aint supposed to go in the house (another person) even when our daddy was livin’ yet we’d get Johnny Barren or somebody and we’d give him a buck and there was an old lady I thought their name was Salamanders but they named her son Salamanders I thought that was their real name until real, real late, she took a shot, she was a good old soul, she had quite a few kids and we used to have a cow and she would bring peelin’s for the cow and my father when he come from work he’d take a glass of whiskey, we always had whiskey all that black dirt and everything and he coughed and his ribs were broken and he had a hole in here, he was in the hospital for 6 months he was hurt so badly, no compensation or anything, I don’t know how we lived, but we didn’t die of starvation and she would come and my father didn’t want her to come in it was like the day before Christmas, that day a woman ain’t supposed to go to anybody’s house

WB: She’s to stay in her own house

SZ: It’s bad luck if she goes, it’s not any other place or in the mines, it’s bad luck if she goes

WB: To someone else’s house the day before Christmas

SZ: It’s till today, I get Ernie to come here I made a habit of it and Johnny used to come when Pop was livin’ and then I get Ernie I don’t care if it’s bad luck but I figure a kid is a kid and he looks for a dollar

WB: Were there other superstitions?

SZ: Everybody, all the Slavish people like where I lived

WB: Were there other things that were considered to be bad luck?

SZ: Mostly if you had a cow and somebody, oh there was a lady that lived cross the street and she got some lady to do something but she didn’t do nothin’ but she ruined the cow, they had to get rid of it, she done some darn with this woman and the cow, and I didn’t even know, we had a cow too, but maybe they


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didn’t talk about it because we did have a cow, she didn’t ruin our cow because we didn’t take nobody’s milk, and she had this one and she was a good friend of ours a good woman she even (????????????????) but she got this lady from downtown that used to have some lady down to fix her cow, she ruined her cow and then she hers too, whether she got rid of it ot not I don’t know

WB: Well how did she ruin it

SZ: Well she gave her all kinds of (home remedie?) crazy things she shouldn’t have done, there was no witchcraft down there, nobody took that lady’s milk the cow gave all she had because there was no witches in Eckley the only thing they could do, I’ll tell you the God’s truth, my poor father he used to think that if there was any witches, which they weren’t, there were no witches in Humboldt, but he’d take that holy chalk that would be blessed on Easter basket and he would put marks across the stable and he would give every bit of what we ate first he would give to the cow, because one time cows and sheep talked at Gasda and he didn’t give them anything so first before we ate the cow got a little bit

WB: What else would your father use the holy chalk for

SZ: For the witches, I guess

WB: Would he put it across the threshold of the house, the door of the house?

SZ: No just in the stable, the priest puts the writin’ at Chrismas on the house, you can’t see it because it’s painted, he puts the 3 shephards the meant to give our Lord the (?) well he puts the initials for the second one and the third right there but that’s just a rule he comes to bless the house, there are lots of religious things that are nice like in the Greek church, everytime there is a Holy day the priest has a holy oil that he bless a certain time I think on Holy Thursday I don’t know what the Greeks fo but I know the Slavish bless everything on Holy Thursday and he puts the cross and he says it in Greek and I never understood I think it means Jesus have mercy on us, because that’s how


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -32 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

[Susie says it in Latin?] well that means, I have to find out, I have to ask because I’m gettin’ old I think it means, Jesus have mercy on us, and then on Ash Wednesday they give the dust and he puts a thing on you he says somethin’ about ashes to ashes and dust to dust

WB: When the Chruch of the Immaculate Conception was being used did you go up there, I understood that was mostly for Irish people

SZ: Yes but there was no Irishman around, see when the town was good there was no Slavish people livin’ the street at all just (Main St?)

WB: They were on Back Street and Shanty Street

SZ: On Shanty Street, the Shanty Street houses weren’t bad but the other ones, we got a house up on Back Street too, you had one room and a little shed and on the top and it wasn’t plastered it was just boards and you just fixed it yourself papered it

WB: What did those Back Street houses look like?

SZ: Like Joe Timco’s part only they, the very same thing.

WB: Like Timco’s that was a Back Street house

SZ: See the built on the kitchen’s, I guess their plasterboarded now but you had to

WB: They were open wood slats, how about the floors, were the floors the same way?

SZ: We have the floor still upstairs , wide boards

WB: How about the ceiling?

SZ: The ceiling had beams like, but you know I was in a home lately in Philly my grandson married a girl and they had beams but they were varnished and these were whitewashed, did you see up on Shanty (???????????) Street? There’s beam there in that red house, the kinds that’s here

WB: Oh that’s right, but there was only 2 rooms on the first floor and one on the second

SZ: These had but one we built, and 2 was up there, but up on the BAck Street you only had one room downstairs and one room upstairs, well on Back Street we


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -33 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

only had one room the front room and then we had a narrow kitchen, which was very narrow about half as big as this and then you built a shed on then we had a big shanty, the shanty was the biggest part of it

WB: Well what kind of furniture did those old homes have

SZ: Well I’ll tell you how, when you first got married they use to have a club you paid a dollar a month, at first month one would get a gift right off the bat when you paid your dollar and if you wanted to pay extra maybe you’d get a chair or table or whatever they had

WB: What was the soap called?

SZ: You bought soap, you bought beans, you bought rice and the first month the club would run around 10 months well when the first month one party would get the gift, right off the bat you didn’t pay $10 well I’ll tell you that’s what you paid about $10 for a piece of furniture at that time and you got a good piece of furiture not real good from the soap trunk but good enough [come on in Annie, she talks to Annie a minute] so then the second month the second party would get the gift up until 10 months and then if you wanted something bigger you could keep on payin’ that, a soap club they called it, some guy would run it

WB: What kind of furniture was in the Back Street homes?

SZ: Whatever you bought, coal stove, no heater because there was only 2 rooms only


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -34 8/12/72 Tape 3-1 WB: a kitchen stove

WB: Pot bellied?

SZ: No a kitchen stove, we had a nice round enamel stove we had it in the shanty when we moved in there, there was a black stove, when the enamel stoves came out we went for a stove and they were black ones and green ones and brown ones and we bought a nice brown one and it was enamel

WB: And where was that put in the kitchen?

SZ: We had that, we had a black stove that you had to shine, but when the enamel came out, the hell with the shinin’ part, we had to polish and shine like heck with Sun paste, did you ever see that, in a can like shoe polish only bigger you had one brush to put it on and you had another brush to shine it and you had to watch if you got grease on that was the Slavish people’s main thing a shiny, a clean stove

WB: The Slavish people took great pride is having a shiny, clean stove?

SZ: The Slavish people took great pride in having a shiny, clean stove?

WB: Yeh and it was shiny that you could see yourself in it and one day, do you know what happened we lived in the Back Street in one of them little houses I went to jib jabber with a neighbor and I left my little girl in the thing [Annie comes in and said she took the smallest ones she had. I’m tellin’ him how one time we used to shine the stoves, Annie said that’s shit tellin’ how you shine the stove, WB: said he is interested in it, Annie said the women have good sense now they don’t work as hard as we did and they never will they have more brain they don’t have to work and they get along, Annie said they go on relief and she was never on relief, Susie says, Neither was I that’s the God’s truth, O.K. Annie take whatcha want, I thought you waned the others with the lines around,” (?) she could have taken more but she’s just bitchey she thinks maybe we’re talkin’ about her she had a hard life she kept the mother and father and they were old and she didn’t put them in the Poor House they were real old and


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -35 8/12/72Did Tape 3-1

she kept them the whole time and she had to go to work and feed them when she came home and the poor old fellow he was, he had a stroke

WB: Well now those Back Street homes there was only 2 rooms and everyone slept in the upstairs, like the parlor was downstairs

SZ: Oh we put the bed downstairs in the front room, there was only one bed there because yo had to watch where you went because it was like this, very small and the pipes went from that little kitchen to the floor and all the way thru the house into the chimney there

WB: I guess some of the people on the Back Street that had children

SZ: Do you know that some people lived in them houses for 20 years we not only lived there 4, my husband got this house and it was 2 rooms up and 2 down, none and he bought me down here and he said some people, he said it’s not clean and my God the floor wasn’t swept and there was a big spot of red paint in the middle that somebody was tryin’ to paint but I didn’t have no carpet there for about a year, we had money but you don’t want to give your last penny away in case something happens, you know, so then we had a rag carpet runnin’ across to cover that and the floor was scrubbed and in here we had oii cloth and in there we didn’t have anything, you know our Daddy, he would get cranky sometimes he asked me when I come home from work, “Did you go and look at a rug?” I guess he was a little bit mad and I said, Yeh, then he say, “Ach that’s all she needs is rugs,” well I thought that goldarn front room can say there as far as it goes, I’m not goin’ and look at more rugs. Well then my sister lived up on the Back Street and she said, “Why don’t youse get a piece of rug for that front room, in case baby or (????) don’t even have a cover,” I thought what’s good enough for Pop’s good enough for me, but then my bother Yonnie got in the furniture business, you know that one on the corner it’s still marked Yonach’s but somebody else has it now but then I bought it, he gave it to me cheaper and I had a nice rug in there, I don’t know if I had it when you came


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -36 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

It was a oriental, green it was very good and very nice at first I had one that wasn’t very good and I gave it back to my brother Mike I said, the Pop went in and Pop picked a better one, i didn’t pick it, I still have it down there I had it for years maybe for 25 years and it’s still not worn, it’s still nice the oriental Wilton, good

WB: How about those Back Street houses now, they were so small the people, they were like giant bedrooms I guess, really not a parlor just, the were so small

SZ: One big room then the little kitchen, you had the stove in the kitchen and a shed too, then the people built on, this Eliot Falatko, this Joe that has the house down at (??????) well she built on and when you went in that house was fixed up like a castle it was nice than any house on this street they built on with kitchens and fixed it up so nice

WB: Who built on, the people themselves

SZ: They helped each other, we built that thing and Pop only bought the stuff, he bought a bundle of lumber down in Schraeders at Sandy Valley, they don’t live there no more, they died, Schraders lives in Hazleton and another one is Hoffman’s they’re still livin’ the rough boards for maybe 20,30 dollars and Johnny Cash built this kitchen for us and he didn’t take much either, mind, he was a good builder I think he only took $5 now they all helped

WB: The neighbors would help

SZ: The next one Peter Falatko he helped with the other one, I think too but that Cash was good and oh yes Poolsh I think old Poolsh built the other one he probably helped with the most of it when Poola did too, Daddy and old man Poola used to live down on Shanty Street, he was hurt in the mines and they didn’t think he was goin’ to get better, he lived down on Shanty Street he just died lately and he was hurt so bad that thet took him to the hospital they didn’t do anything for him for a couple of days because he didn’t know nothin’ they said he’s goin’ die anyway, my husband used to go down there and he used (?????)


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -37 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

thought I was goin’ to die anyway,” he use to say, youse can go to hech I ain’t goin’ to die, and he didn’t die but he went after that and got company work they say adome people aint lazy, well this man had from here down was crushed, pelvis he had and when he got better he went back in the mines, honest to God, and he just died a couple of yeard ago, his wife died sooner

WB: So the additions to the houses a couple men would help one another?

SZ: Yeh, they didn’t have to pay no 100 or 200, no they helped each other, like when the came they got a bottle of beer with the meal not that I’m figurin’ the beer because you’d cook a meal, a good meal, not like when you’re alone, you’d cook a good meal, sometimes they wouldn’t work for 6 months at a time

WB: Oh the men on account of the stirkes

SZ: Yeh

WB: So during times like this they would put additions to the houses

SZ: Yeh, and then they’d only work 3 days, they’d listen to the whistle, the whistle would blow, one if they’d work and 3 if they didn’t work

WB: What time of the day would that blow

SZ: It would be about half past 4 as they would change their hours it was one hour shorter one time they used to work till late, my poor father went in the mines, dark at 5 o’clock because he was old and he’d come home at dark, and he’d stop off at the company store and he wouldn’t come home till real, real dark and he’d walk too and he’d stop at the company store and bring one grape skin, you know those little baskets of grapes, that’s what he’d bring for us kids, when he went to Freeland to church, he’d go to church in the morning, but when he’d come out of church, he’d take a drink then and I don’t blame him because he deserved it, and he had asthma real bad and then he was workin’ he’d bring candy and he’d come home later and that would take awhile to walk from Hazleton so in the middle of the night I would crawl out of bed and he would have a nickels worth of candy in his pockets and (????????) I couldn’t wait until morning


Wain Brown interviewing Susie Zosak -38 8/12/72 Tape 3-1

I’d have to crawl out of bed and go look for the candy. See later on there was an old lady that used to sell candy, otherwise you only got candy when you went to church, we’d go to church on Sunday and we’d walk and there was a famous candy kitchen there I don’t know what they called it but they called it the Famous Candy Kitchen and they would have this

end 1387


A. Varesano interviewing Susan Zosak -35 8/11/72 Chart describing pages & subject:

1 “getting churched” to ward off evil spirits

2 Annie Maloney getting lost

3 “Mamona”- “Mamoney” spirits


A. Varesano interviewing Susan Zosack -1 8/11/72 Tape 3-1 216

SZ: …gonna be a good singer,

AV You mean actual…

SZ: .…Put an old diaper on a newborn, that’s all crazy. I don’ t believe it.

AV What was that you used to say, that when a child was born, and he cried, he was to be a good singer?

SZ: You know what Old Country people, that they used to do? No, you know what they used to do? When it would be born, like, lots of crippled kids– like, retarded —- they would blame that some witch or somebody came and took the child of this woman and put another one there. Would you believe that? You ask Helen, did she ever hear that, they called it (????)traded. In English it’s “traded”. And then, say, if somebody made you come in all dirty and smeared up an outfit, it’s a saying they’d say, “You look like a (????).” That means, a (?????), that when, some kid is born, and, but you know what? When a kid is born and before it’s baptized, or lots of times something, we figured, they said that something could happen to the mother until she goes to “be churched” or to the baby when it’s not baptized, because it’s not baptized—–and how many kids, there’s kids down there, Geras, they’re ten and twelve years old and they never were baptized, and nothing happened.

AV What did they think could happen to the mother before she got churchec?

SZ: Could get sick, or the baby could, they’d figure like, oh, I don”t know, like something like witchcraft, you know? They figured the baby ain’t baptized, and it’s not, you have to be baptized to get to heaven, you know what I mean? So…

AV And between the period where she had the baby and she got churched, that was a dangerous period, right?

SZ: Yeah, you shouldn’t go noplace, you shouldn’t even go in anybody’s houses, or you shouldn’t go out, and you are to the butcher, by the butchery, or by the baker, you should stay in, until youre churched. That’s the way our people always had.

AV And the danger was both to the mother and the child?

SZ: Well, it would be danger to the child too, I guess, but just if it wasn’t baptized. One day you would be, it’s not baptized, happened to die, it wouldn’t go to heaven. You know what, that would be one thing, and.…

AV Well, what about the mother? Why was she in danger?

SZ: Because you’re supposed to get churched. And now they don’t even go to be churched and they’re livin’.

AV What is that, “churched”?

SZ: You go with the baby to the priest, and he blesses you. He reads a little reading over you, you know?

AV No, I’ve never seen that done, Explain what they do.

SZ: Yeah, all the Slavish people had to get churched. Greek, Slavic, Polish, all of them. And so did the Irish, but they didn’t bother goin’. But you’re supposed to go.

AV Gee, that’s interesting. How long after the birth die she have to go?

SZ: Well, as soon as you can, you don’t want to go out too early, because you’re not fit to go out, you know what I mean? But always, I went to be churched by the thirteen, every one. Always went. And you know what, like when I got married, and, well after you got married you went to be churched, too. You went to be chruched.

AV Before you had the baby?

SZ: After, no after you got married, because right when you got married, then you went back, and the priest gave you some private blessing.


A. Varesano interviewing Susan Zosack -2 8/11/72 Tape 30-1 251

AV You mean, immediately after…

SZ: Let me tell you, you went to be churched. I know I went.

AV Right after the ceremony?

SZ: After the cerem.…., after the mass, because I had mass. When I was married I had mass. We were married in St. Mary’s, where you go. That same church. Only they, I think they put it on the other place, didn’t they? I’m not sure now. Something is mixed there. They fixed it up better. Is the church that way, or this way? This way, I think it is now. Ain’t it? I think they have something else out of that. I went there a long time. Now when you.…

AV How long after the service did they have that blessing?

SZ: Bein’ churched?

AV Yeah.

SZ: After you got married and everything was over then the priest came in the back with the blessery, you know, and he took you to the altar, and you went around the altar and came out.

AV What was that supposed to mean?

SZ: Just like you get churched after a baby is baptized—-well, the baby is baptized, then you come home, and a week after you go to church, you go to Hazleton, you go to church to be churched, with the baby. The mother.

AV Oh, the mother can’t get churched the same day the baby is baptized?

SZ: The mother could if she went, but see, she could if she was there, but you’re not there, because they baptize the baby and you’re home. So then you go a week or so later. We even hired a buggy and horse to get you there!

AV Wow! And how long after she had the baby did the woman have her baby baptized?

SZ: Sometimes they would baptize them in a couple days. If the baby is weak they baptize it right away. And if not, not longer than a week. But in the city they keep them for a month. They’re crazy! You should never keep a baby long.


AV .…I really never encountered that before.

SZ: Cough, cough…Now you get me coughin”! I wonder where (????) is. Cough. Mayve she fell in somehtin’. The las time Annie got lost, went to Hazleton.

AV What do you think happened to Annie Maloney when she got lost?

SZ: You know she can’t hear.

AV Yeah.

SZ: And they’re by themselves, and sometimes they answer, sometimes they don’t hear, sometimes they don’t want to answer, I don’t know.

AV But, when she picks huckleberries, does she always go off on her own?

SZ: Well, you go where you… I was goin’ myself, but she said she was goin’. Then she said maybe they’d be some up there—-she wasn’t up there. I said well, I was up there once. Well, she said was there any? I said, there was some along the bank. So then, see we got up from the Number one water, and then you go this way, and there’s a power line, so we were talkin’ about goin’ up there. So she was up. But she didn’t go to the power line, because I went up to the power line, and I got on the top there, and I started to holler. And I didnt see her up, and I didn’t see her down, and she didn’t answer. She probably didn’t hear me. Or maybe she answered and I didn’t hear. Then I came ddown. I came down, and I started hollerin’ again, and she didnt answer, then I thought she probably went home. So I come home, and it’s I guess about an hour since I came. She only has a quart can.


A. Varesano interviewing Susan Zosak -3 8/11/72 Tape 30-1 290

AV But what about Annie Maloney? What do you think happeneD, that she walked so far?

SZ: She was hollerin’, she was by the m(????), and they were hollerin’, and I guess instead of her goin’ the right way, she went the other way.

AV Do you think it was that “Mamona” that happened?

SZ: No. You know what Mamona is?

AV No.

SZ: When you go in the woods, or you go anywhere, it’s not Mamona, it’s, you just, things twist in your headm it’s nothing, as far as that goes, I don’t think, anyway. Ah, I went down there one time just for mushrooms, I think I went for (????). I put the two buckets, right back of Pigeons on the top—you had to go down, and you were back of Pigeons—and I picked the buckets, and I went lookin’ for mushrooms. And I went there, and I went down lower, and there was a swimmin’ pool there where boys used to swim, you know what I—swimmin’ hole—pot, not a fancy one, just what they—a little dam, you know? And when I got there, I knew where the swimmin’ dam was. I knew the bank that was there, a dirt bank, and I seen the path, but it seems, you know? It didn’t look like it, like it’s fer you to go home, it twists around for you, and it seems that you’re goin’ away from home. You see it, and you know it, but you still have it hard to, and you still go, like I went anyway, because I figured, there’s the swimmin’, there’s the path, and if I go here, you can’t see nothin’, only the other part of the brush, Highland. So when I came, and I had the buckets, and even when I got the buckets, there was the buckets, and I still didn’t know where I was until I got right back of Pigeons, then I knew where I was. I knew where I was because, see, the breaker is here, but it seemed that the breaker wasn’t where it shoud be, it seemed it was on that side, but you go because you’re right there, you know? So that’s how. As far as Mamona goes, there’s no Mamoney. It’s just, you get like your head gets twisted. Sometimes you get off a bus, just goin’ on the bus, and gettin’ off the bus and you don’t know.

AV That’s what happened to you?

SZ: Yeah, I went to Hazleton one time, was a kid, and I got off the bus in Harwood, and goin’ home it looked like I was going to go back. And when it happens in the woods, well, I think I better go look for that lady.

AV Helen says that it happened to her father.

SZ: Sure. Happen to anybody. There was an old lady, like I told you, in Humboldt, that the kid said That Way, she said No, that way. Well, then, the kids said No, and she picked the kid up and put him on her back and went, and when she got by the breaker, the breaker was away, in Harwood, and she lived in Humblodt, and instead of goin’ to Humboldt, she went to Harwood. Into the woods. She thought, What are you, goin’ to be tellin’ me? Put him on her back, and she went over. Because he was pretty big, you know? So she put him on her back, and when she got but the breaker, they brought her home. And one lady went all the way to Conyngham. You know where Conyngham is? Why, she went Hopesville, up to Hopesville. Hopwsville is a little bit further than Conyngham…

AV From Eckley?

SZ: From Humboldt. And she got, I guess she must have got on the Tomhicken road, and she probably went to the Tomhicken road, but not toward town—or, towards Hazleton, but towards Conyngham. The Conyngham road went, it was always sort of scary. I never wanted to, like if you went from Humboldt, this was Humboldt, and then there was a path, and you’d get on the Tomhicken road. And nobody traveled there, you know what I mean? Maybe sometimes a farmer that was goin’ from Conyngham. It was a road that wasn’t traveled much And then


A. Varesano interviewing Susan Zosack -4 8/11/72 Tape 30-1 330

they would be a ragman, or somebody. But see, if you went there—if I went there by myself, I would just peep up and down–I was a kid, but I never wanted to walk that way or that way. There used to be, like, men, old men, that used to pick eye rags, and bones, and you know, like that, and there was an old man that used to do that, and somebody said that they seen his tryin’ to, on his horse, you know what I mean? So, you’d be—you know what I mean? Yeah? You know? Not nice, what I want to say. That’s what I heard. But he would go to Conyngham through that road, and so when I went there, say, maybe pickin’ huckleberries or mushrooms, I’d look, I’d get on the edge of the road, and I’d look there and there, but I wouldn’t walk from here to there, to the road, because I’d be afraid if you met somebody there, there was nobody. Nobody. There was nowhere to run. You’d have to run back in the woods, and tryin’ to get home. Where I would go through (?????), you know? You’d go with somebody, but you never went yourself. It’s a big road now.

AV That’s the road that the lady must have taken.

SZ: She must have took that road, yeah, because she was tight by the coal dirt, and I don’t think she went—see, she’s dead now, she used to live next door to our house, next door to my mother’s.

AV But what did you say, What are Mamoney?

SZ: Well, it means, it’s O Mamoney. You’d got like dizzy, you know? It’s not a, no kind of, they don’t have that in the books or anything like that, you know what I mean.

AV No, but, the people say—-, alot of these people say?

SZ: Well, they’d say, it’s old Mamoney. Like, you get like doped or aomething.

AV Oh, I thought it was a kind of a spirit.

SZ: Oh, I don’t know what kind. It ain’t a good one, then, if it is one. You don’t have to be afraid of it if you’re good livin’, or even if you’re a sinner, you bless yourself, and the Mamona will go away.

AV Yeah? Is that what happens?

SZ: Sure.

AV How do you deal with it, then? Just with blessing yourself?

SZ: Well, if you, say if you, some witch or somebody wants to get near you, and you bless yourselfm they won’t do you nothin’, they can’t. You say Name of the Father, and Son and Holy Ghost Amen.

AV And that will chase them away?

SZ: Yeah, they won’t.… It’s good to wear a miraculous medal all the time, too, you know. But if yu’re right livin’, nobody’ll– even if you’re not good, God takes care of you. That’s why God died on the cross, to, for the sinners, not for the good ones, because they didn’t need it. I mean, he died for the good ones, but it’s the ones that need it. You know what, I don’t know, maybe I’d better fo after her.

AV You think.…?

SZ: I don’t know. She only had a quart can.

AV But tell me, you say it’s good to wear.…

SZ: She fell. She fell where she was pickin’. It’s not far. You know, I just go by the water, and on the side there are all kinds of —- it’s six o’clock, 363


CHART 35 A.Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak 8/14/72 Tape 26-1


Page: 1–Bran bags for illness, esp. pneumonia Flax seeds for infections

Page: 2–Gad Rey leaves for infections -comfrey?

Page: 3—Mastoids(?) in the ear

Page: 4–“Felons” – infections? 4– Milk for staying healthy — Loss of appetite

Page: 5–Childrens illnesses – colic – ear infections Ways to treat ear infections and other illnesses Page: 6– warm oil – holy water – smoke it – incense – glycerin – gunpowder Page: 7 — mouve(??)

Page: 8 – glycerin/digitalis

Page: 9- Holy Days

Page: 10- working w/other people + Dr. Corrigan

Page: 11- how the town doctor worked



A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 Subject

Page: 13- Dances/meeting husband

Page: 14- Working as a teenage girl – Baking bread

Page: 16- Children(13)

Page: 17- Washing closes

Page: 18- Miner’s lunches

Page: 19-Types of food – children’s meals – (catnip??) for the body

Page: 22- Making clothes

Page: 23- Corsets

Page: 24- Religion


(??????????????????) (??????????????????) A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -1 8/14/72 Tape 26-1

SZ: The babies got sick, and you had to get the doctor, and you had to keep runnin’ up and down with bran bags when they had, like, one of ours, well, the boy, too, used to get bronchitis. And when they’d get it often, and then they had mastoids,, and you didn’t have no schedule. The schedule came out as it came along, you know what I mean?

AV What are bran bags?

SZ: Well they didn’t have no sulfa pills or anything then, they had no kind of penicillin, and if you got, say, lots of them got pneumonia, like a son of our.…

AV And what did you for them?

SZ: It was hard. They didn’t have anything like they do now. They didn’t have anything to check- they had it, you put bran bags on, and rub them with camphorated oil, and.….

AV What is that bran bags?

SZ: That was like a chalk, but it’s the shell of a wheat, it’s light. Well, you heat it in the oven, and you took one off and one on, One of our kids had bronchitis quite often. One of our kids had bronchitis quite often. She’d get choked up, you couldn’t breathe, you know? That’s Agnes, that lives in the .… And even when she went in training, well, they found like little scars on her thing, and they asked did she have pneumonia or bronchitis when she was a baby? And she did. She had it lot of it. Once you get bronchitis, you get it often then. Just every so often you get it.

AV And the only thing they could do for it in those days was just heated bran bags?

SZ: Yes, you got a medicine from the doctor, too. It was a little red medicine. I don’t know what it was, but I always had it on hand.

AV Where did you get the idea for the bran bags?

SZ: Oh, that was an old custom. Some people would stew onions and put stewed onions to loosen that, mucus, you know?

AV How would they put on the stewed onions?

SZ: Put it in between two cheesecloths, like.

AV And just wrap it up like that?

SZ: Yeah, or some people used to put flax seed.

AV What is flax seed?

SZ: Flax seed is when you have a sore finger or sore when it festered, one time it would fester, you know what I mean? You didn’t check it. You had to wait if you got infection. If you got infection, it started jumpin’, well you stuck it in boiling water up and down to kill it, like, you know? Kill the germ. It would stop sometimes. And if you couldn’t stop it, well then you just had an infected finger or.… You had to wait until it festered and until it all pussed out, you know, with the puss, until you put flax seed on. Flax seed is, grows, I guess. Its like greasy. You cook it a little bit, and put it between things, too. That drawed, and if you put it on you didn’t feel the pain. And when you had, whenever that would fester, you had an awful lot of pain. I can remember when I was a kid and I lived down with my mother, whenever I lived in Humboldt with my mother, and she went somewhere, I don’t know where she went , and I was layin’ on the floor and I was cryin’, and the neighbor heard, in the next door, and she wanted to know what was the matter? And it was jumpin’ so hard, and festerin’ that, you know.….

AV What do you mean, jumpin’?

SZ: It used to pain, like a jumpin’ pain, until it festered, you can’t open it until it’s ready to open. You have to come to a little top like, you know, like the pus comin’ right to the skin. And I remember one time I had it here, and it didn’t come to a thing, and the doctor then cut it all the way down deep into,


Flax Seed (?????????) A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -2 8/14/72 Tape 26-1

035 You don’t see it no more.

AV Umm! How did you prepare the flax seed, you said you heated it in a pan?

SZ: You put a little milk in, a little bit just, you know, and put it in between, and put it on, you didn’t have no – or, bread and milk they put on, too.….

AV Helen used that on my hand.

SZ: So you didn’t have no, it didn’t hurt.

AV How did you prepare it?

SZ: I just boiled, scalded up a little bit of bread, and put it on. And you could put it on plain, or if you wanted to put in between cloth, but you could put it on plain, too.

AV Did you put the bread and milk…

SZ: Well, it’s the milk that draws out the bread.

AV Did you heat the bread and the milk together?

SZ: Yeah. You could make even that.

AV Until it’s very hot?

SZ: Well, as warm as you can stand it. The warm the better. Flax seed you put on warm too.

AV And then you leave it on how long?

SZ: Well, til it, sometimes you went to bed in the evening, and you left it on til the morning. In the morning it was even dry, but it stopped the pain, it didn’t hurt.

AV You left on the flax seed overnight, too?

SZ: Yeah.

AV Did you bandage it on with something?

SZ: Yeah, you had to put it, like you would put anything on. We didn’t have no Band-Aids then.

AV So what did you use?

SZ: When the doctor came, he did have this plaster, and he’d bandage it for you, but, at home you used a piece of an old sheet, or piece of old pillowcase, white, and tie it here and then tie another knot here, and tie it there, so you don’t lose it! You know, if you’d stick it in water it would come off. So you tied it here, and then you…

AV Around the finger…

SZ: …tied a knot here, you know…

AV …crossed over the hand under here…

SZ: …then this would hold it on. That was a, you had to go to college to know that!

AV No you didn’t! I’d never know that , good heavens! Wow! So, that’s how you treated the infection.

SZ: And then you could, there’s those leaves like I told you, thet were good, too, they drawed.

AV Do you remember what you called the leaves?

SZ: Yeah, they’re out there. Thet call them, in Slavish you call them ( fad-key??????). That’s what Helen called them. And ah, oh, I was gonna say, I had something that I… and I was gonna tell you , but I forgot, Helen would understand what it was…

AV Another remedy?

SZ: Oh, no, it wasn’t remedy or, well, you call it a remedy or, I don’t exactly know.

AV And so, you never called a doctor unless it was an emergency?

SZ: Oh, we called, I said I called the doctor when I had a festered finger, and the doctor would tell you himself to put flax seed on. (??????????)they called it (???????). Sure. And then, I rememver one time when I had the sore finger,


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -3 8/14/72 Tape 26-1

063 he was a nice man. Very nice. I had him (Dr.) when the kids were born, I think it was Butchie, I’m not sure. And I had a sore finger. Butchie had, not Butchie, it was paulie, I guess, had a mastoid, all at the one time. I had a sore finger, and I guess I, just one of the kids were born, and then one of the boys got mastoids. He was out in an evening, and I looked back in the ear, it was already swelled. And then the next day, oh God, I thought I’d die! i asked him, Is there anything I could have done, that he wouldn’t have got the, I knew what it was, you know, because he already had it. And the first one, He didn’t know! When the oldest boy had it, he laid upstairs almost dyin’ from the pain, and they didn’t, nobody was doin’ anything, I didn’t know what to do. He had terrible pain, and fever, he got out of bed, and he wanted to put his head through the window, you know, it was so painful. And then Miss Smith came, and she said, why don’t you go into the hospital, and he was so sick, and he couldn’t hear nothing. They operated on it, you know, cut it, and he was sick about ten days! Then he got it (???????) about a year after, again, in the same place.

AV Was this a common thing in this town?

SZ: No, It wasn’t common. There was a man uptown, (?????????), Helen knows, he always had his head bandaged. I was wondrin’ what’n the name of sense, he wasn’t hurt and he had his head bandaged, and he had that. An old man, he was a miner, and I don’t know who cut that from him, did he go to the hospital, or, I don’t remember right, but he lived up one house below Helen’s.

AV Where did you get all these sore fingers from?

SZ: Well, you know what? You get the sore finger, and you got a sore toe, you got a sore heel. When I had that, was cryin’, and the neighbor heard, I had a sore heel. You step on a glass, or you get a splinter, And then you can’t do nothing, but it starts festering, you have to wait til it’s festered. And then when it festers, then you prick it with a needle and the pus comes out. I know I had one not too long ago, and, oh, I guess it’s about twenty years, because the boy is twenty years now – about fifteen years ago, and I was taking care of the kids, and I went, you know, to the doctor’s, and he thought it was a (???????), he thought it was a bone deaying, because it was so swelled, red. They call that blood poison, you had blood poison. Sometimes you had blood poison, and it would go up your arm. My sister’s little girl, she got blood poison, and.… she already had it, and it was goin’ like a red. See, you get, the first thing you know there’s a red line goin’ up your vein, that means you’re getting blood poison. And you have to put something on to draw that down. Without a doctor.

AV So what happened to your finger, what happened to that?

SZ: Well, sometimes you pick it on the side, and you get infection, You stick it in mud and every darn thing, and.…. it festered. When it festered, well the doctor cut it. Dr. (??Fear),he said it was a felon. And when I told him that the kids said that he won’t have to cut – I was afraid of getting cut- I was afraid of the hospital. I never had to go. Well, I went one time when I couldn’t eat. My trouble was always I got run down, because I had no appetite. If I would have drank milk, I would have never had that. But I thought if you don’t like milk, then it don’t do you any good, But it did. Before, after, when I drank milk in the hospital, I was away, with Aggie, and after she was born I had nursed her for about a year, I had milk, just from drinking it, I didn’t like it, but I forced it. Afterward, when I would get run down, I would drink the milk. And even if I didn’t eat anything, as long as I put that milk down I could work, I didn’t get weak, you know?


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -4 8/14/72 Tape 26-1

106 AV Why were you run down?

SZ: From not havin’ an appetite. From not wanting to eat. And bein’ upset, and I get upset I won’t eat. Even now. Sometimes I could be real hungry, and somebody could, my husband could sit down, could get mad and all, and he could sit down and eat, even more than, where I, once I got upset I couldn’t eat no more. And then when you were run down, well you didnt want to eat one day, you didn’t want to eat, then, another day. I remember it’d take me, I didn’t eat for three days. Then I went , took a walk to Dr. Neill’s, and he gave me a tonic, you know?

AV And that was because you were upset with family troubles?

SZ: Yeah, it’d be different arguments, you know. Well, somtimes arguments, sometimes different kind of, well, maybe the kids, having one baby after the other, and you know, it was hard, a lot of work, and.…

AV I can imagine, all those kids. How did you ever manage to take care of them?

SZ: They were, they were clean all the time. And they, ah, well you know how it was, in the beginning, ah, then when the oldest girl got up, even when she was seven years old she was a really good worker. She could put a diaper on the baby better than I could. I put it on any old way. When she’d be seven, eight years old, nine, ten, well, she went to school already. She was a good worker. And the girls helped, you know. I never had a dirty house. No, I never did. I worked, cleaned it.

AV When did your girls first start helping you? At what age?

SZ: They all did. They helped right away. And it wasn’t just all the time, but I did have, I was run down a couple times. You know, when I got in-the-family-way, I got pregnant, I didn’t need no tonic, I just ate like a horse. And it would be onions, and lettuce, and I didn’t like celery, but I guess it was for the baby that I wanted to eat. I’d walk to Freeland, and when I’d get to a certain store, a lady owned it, and before goin’, I’d go in there and I’d buy dried herring. And I’d eat them in the store. That’s what an appetite I had!

AV Oh boy!

SZ: After, for about three month, I remember one time when one of our kids were born, for about two months or so I had a good appetite. Then I just lost it. I weighed, I always weighed about a hundred pounds, ot ninety some, but this time I weighed a hundred and thirty pounds, I got so nice and heavy. And, oh, I liked to be a little heavier, because I was always skinny. But this one time, I picked up pretty good. But then I lost it. I remember a lot of time I didn’t eat nothin’. I went back to the ninety-nine pound. All my life, then, when I would carry the babies, I could eat. I didn’t need no kind of things, I ate like a horse.

AV All through nine months?

SZ: I never had to vomit, I never had no trouble. I just had an appetite. I’d want to eat. And I used to like lettuce. Lettuce, and, it was no lettuce, it was in the winter, you know? That we used to heat, we used to bring it from Jeddo. Wheatra. He’d put it on the counter so when I came down he wouldn’t forget that he had it.

AV That’s Mr. Keese from the store, right?

SZ: Yeah. He used to have a store down there.

AV So, you had no trouble eating when you were pregnant. But what happened afterwards?

SZ: Well, I’d eat pretty good for a little while, and then I’d just lose appetite.


(??????????????????????????) (??????????????????????????) (??????????????????????????) A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak (3) 8/14/72 Tape 26-1

141 AV Why, do you think?

SZ: I don’t know. I just don’t , that’s all.

AZ You also referred to that as in-the-family-way, is that what you said?

SZ: See, some people would, no, that didn’t make no difference after the baby was borned. I mean, I had a good appetite, real good. Even when I was in bed, theyd have to bring me toast in the mornng, and tea, or, tea. And for dinner, I didn’t want toast or anything, I’d want maybe chicken soup, or something different, you know? And we wouldn’t eat anything they’d bring you. They used to say you’d get sick if you ate anything. No kind of greens after. You didn’t eat lettuce then, or cucumbers, because the baby would cry. It would get a colic. You know, if you nursed the baby, you couldn’t eat lettuce or things like that, because the baby would get a colic. And it would. And even when it’s bowel would move it would be green-like, you know, from the raw stuff. You’d have to eat something like meat, and different things like that.

AZ Was this after you had the baby?

SZ: Um-hmm.

AV You aren’t supposed to eat greens after.…

SZ: No, not for the first couple of weeks, until the baby was about three months or two months, you didn’t eat all that stuff. They do now, but then the baby would get a colic and you’d have to walk around with it all night.

AV That must have been quite a task!

SZ: And sometimes we’d think it was a colic and then the first thing you know it would be cuttin’ teeth, and it would get a sore ear, and you wouldn’t know what was wrong with the baby!

AV How did you treat that?

SZ: Well, when the ear opened, and it would start pussing, then you knew that the baby had a sore ear. Otherwise you didn’t know anything, because the doctor, he didn’t know. ‘Cause how did he know?

AV How did you take care of a sore ear?

SZ: Put hot bran bags on. If you’d know that it has that. But, like I say, sometimes you didn’t know.

AV Hot bran bags on the ear, and that helps?

SZ: Um-hmm. It would fester inside of the ear, you know? In the baby’s ear, when it would be cuttin’ teeth. Lots of babies had runnin’ ears. Some of them had runnin’ ears all the time, they didn’t get through it. Our neighbor, Anna Hutnan, she had runnin’ ears when she was a baby, and she had runnin’ ears when she went to school. She always had runnin’ ears. That’s like the mastoid case, only it’s opened. When our kids’ ears would begin to run, they’d get mastoid, and that thing went back where that bone decays. And they have to chop up that bone til they get it to the raw part.

AV I thought you would drop oil in the ears…

SZ: Yeah, warm oil, that would help, too. Or holy water we’d put in.

AV Holy water?

SZ: Warm holy water, or even if it was warm plain water why it was good. And we would smoke it sometimes with that, well, I don’t know if that helped or not, but it’d be done.

AV What would you smoke it with?

SZ: With that thing that I told you, those greens that were in the candle like, wax candle- not a wax, it was all kinds of – did you ask Helen about this candle that all kinds of things were in? Don’t you remember?

AV Yeah, she doesn’t remember too much using it, though.

SZ: No, No. She didn’t have to use it because she didn’t have no kids


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -6 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 175

AV Yeah, I know. What did they call that candle?

SZ: They had some of that stuff that you smoke in church, some of that…

AV Oh, incense…

SZ: I smelled like that, you cut a piece off and put it in the fire, on the hot coals. And put a shawl or something, and leave the smoke going. Well, it would help, because it would heat it like, you know?

AV You mean, take the shovel and the coals, and the smoke…

SZ: And put some of that, yeah, and hold the baby’s ear and have the smoke go up…

AV Meanwhile the baby’s head would be covered with a cloth…

SZ: …this way, so the smoke would go in the ear.

AV I see. Like a tent like.

SZ: Yeah.

AV And you would put hot holy water in the ear, too?

SZ: Not hot, warm, because the ear is very tender.

AV How would you test it? On the wrist?

SZ: Oh, it would just have to be lukewarm, because the ear is tender.

AV So they figured that the holy water…

SZ: And they had, you know, when they got a cold, why they’d rub it with Vick’s Salve or put camphorated oil between the shoulders good, and put bran bags here, or maybe, ah, I think some people used to stew onions. Onions is good to loosen it, you know. Onions is good. I have a little piece cut out there, where some lady asked what onions were- onions, even raw onions, are food for a lot of things. I guess it’s true. Garlic is, too.

AV Ah, they figured that the holy water in the ear helped cut the little guy?

SZ: Even plain water would help, that is the warm water.

AV But holy water was better?

SZ: Well, I guess they figured that God would cure it, you know?

AV That’s why you did it, right?

SZ: Yeah, we always had holy water.

AV And you did that yourself, to your baby?

SZ: Sure. Only time you’d call the doctor is if, say like, we needed a doctor one time when Agnes used to get bronchitis so often, and the doctor came and our daddy said, “Do you think she could get pneumonia?” He said, “I don’t think she’s gattin’ it. She has it.” And when he came in the morning, next morning, and I put those bran bags. and had the medicine there – I always had the medicine on hand, refilled it, you know, I always had it refilled – and give her the medicine and put the bran bags on, and wait til the next morning, and it was all broke up. He thought she was gonna be deathly sick. But then, we had one little boy that died with it. But you know what, he was sick, I don’t even know, was it eight weeks or nine weeks or ten weeks,. He fell, and when he got on that thing, he was on the “head”, and he was like balancing. My, he must have got hurt. Nobody knew what was the matter. Nobody. He was just sick sick sick. For nine weeks he never slept. And then at the end he got pneumonia, from bein’ run down – I had the doctor come in every day – and he got pneumonia, and he lasted with that for ten days yet, that’s how strong he was.

AV What had happened to him?

SZ: Well, he got pneumonia at the end, but he was just sick, and nobody knew why. I took him to Doctor (????), I even took him to Doctor (?????).

AV You said he might have fallen

SZ: The doctor said he was septic poisoning. Well I don’t know, what is septic poisoning? When I told another doctor, he said well if it was pneumonia it would be septic poisoning, if it was this it would be septic poisoning,


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -7- (indistinguishable writing in margin) 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 210

if it was this it would septic… well, how was I supposed to know? I said. Well that’s what he told me. Now I don’t know what it was. But you kow what, the hardest part is that now they have stuff for pneumonia. But then they didn’t. You just had to wait until it killed you. When the baby died it was black and blue here and all black and blue. From bein’ burned up, yeah.

AV Burned up from what?

SZ: From that pneumonia, from that fever inside. Sure. It was bad. And he got it, just from… the doctor was comin’, I said, “How come, I said, that you came every day, and he got it?” He said,”you know, he said, the baby was sick when I came.” He was. But I didn’t know. I told him I even talked with Dr. (????????) was a specialist. And I went to Dr. (??????). Nobody seemed to know. So I think he must have hurt his head and maybe something was wrong with his brain or something.

AV Yeah.

SZ: Yeah.

AV So the only way you could deal with pneumonia in kids is bran bags…

SZ: .…And the medicine that the doctor gave you. And that powder, gunpowder-glycerin. Glycerin was good.

AV Glycerin and gunpowder?

SZ: We used to give gunpowder, and, there was a man up on the Back Street, and he near died, and he near poisoned himself, because the doctor said, he said, There was a good thing in the gunpowder, but there’s poison in the gunpowder also. And he took a little bit too much, you know? See, you’d give gunpowder, but we would only give it once, to check pneumonia. It was glycerin that opened up. Or a cow, you know, that cow manure? That too, we used to give that.

AV How did you prepare tha glycerin in gunpowder?

SZ: You boiled the milk and you put a little bit of gunpowder, and you strained it, and you give it to him a teaspoon.…and that was supposed to check it.

AV And then the glycerin.…

SZ: We didn’t know what it was, it was just gunpowder. We didn’t know what was there, just gunpowder. It was glycerin that’s in the gunpowder. Because the doctor said to this man. And there’s glycerin in manure, too.

AV How did you prepare that manure?

SZ: We’d take it whereever there would be the cow thing that you know, that the cow passed. The cows, they don’t stink, you know? Because it’s hay, and chop. And you strained it, and you boiled the milk, and you put that in hot milk, and you give to him a teaspoon.

AV What do you mean, you strained it?

SZ: You strained it, because it was, you know, well you’d pick it up wherever, in the stable, where it lay…

AV Did you squeeze the juice out of it, is that it, or what?

SZ: You got a little bit of juice, you didn’t need much, a teaspoon…

AV A teaspoon of it? Of the cow, ah, dirt, right?

SZ: And I never knew what was in it, but it was glycerin, that checks it.

AV You took a teaspoon of the cow dirt, and then did what with it, strained it?

SZ: Put it in milk.

AV Put it in milk. And then strain it.

SZ: I’d strain it before, before I put it in the milk.

AV Why did you strain it.…

SZ: Because it would be dirty, like, you know what I mean? From the stable?

AV I wouldn’t know. I mean, I’ve never seen any. Sorry!

SZ: No, I know. But onions they put on, too.


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -8 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 244

AV How’d you strain that?

SZ: Through a cheesecloth, or a little rag.

AV Oh, I see.

SZ: That was the Hungarian, ah, thing. And you know what? You could ask Helen sometimes, they had Doctor (?????????????). And when yo-u used to go in there well, be told them, use your own remedies, he told her mother. He figured whatever he give didn’t help, he said, use your own, whatever you used other times. Doctor (???????????). You remember that? Well, somebody said it, I didn’t hear it from Helen. I didn’t hear it from her mother but I heard it from somebody that the doctor told them – that was their doctor, he wasn’t my doctor – to use – he figured he seen.…, Like the one I told you, about that history of that nurse and that that I had from my daughter when this guy went, and this woman had, they had to go and see what she done. Cured bad heart.

AV How did she cure the bad heart?

SZ: She got digitalis. Ain’t that for a bad heart?

AV I think so. What did she do?

SZ: Yeah. Well, she came and he wanted to know what she done. Well, she showed him all that stuff that she boiled up, you know, all thest herbs from the garden. And it said in that book, see, I don’t know what they told me that book – don’t it make you mad that you have it and then you don’t have it? – and I didn’t have time to read it, because I had little kids. And he said it said in that history of nursing that you’re using one weed today that that woman had in that. She didn’t know what one was for what, but she put all eight or nine or whatever she had, every kind, and the other ones didn’t hurt you, you didn’t treat it, what you didn’t have, but what you had they did cure you. And he said they’re using, and that was that digitalis, that I had right there in that thing, that I had for an earache.

AV Well, where was this lady living? On the Back Street, did you say?

SZ: Well, why don’t you ask that when you go up and see Mrs.(??????????) up there. You go and ask her, and you tell her that Mrs.(??????????) lived across the street. And I don’t know if she was born already, but I know the older girl was born, because she used to go and play with my little girl. The older girl. She probably maybe wasn’t even born, I don’t know, but she was very sick. She was terrible sick. And that woman came – she must have heard it – she came and she stayed there for a week or two, and she used to use these, and she cured her.

AV What was the name of this woman that cured her?

SZ: Oh, I don’t know. She came from Hazleton or somewhere. But she was just a woman that just, was there, taking care of her, helping out. I don’t know where they found out, but she got better. You would never think, how bad she looked. And then when this Zalinsky, his name was, he was a Jewish man, a sort of a kind of fancy guy, you know? And when he seen her, he said, does she have TB? And I was dumb, you know? Actually I didn’t know, I was just married, and I was married young and lots of things I didn’t know, and, oh, I said, what the hell makes TB? I didn’t know what TB was. I didn’t! I didn’t know what TB was! So, he thought she had TB. I said, I don’t know, I said, Why? And he said he thought she did. And that woman came, and I don’t know whether that poor soul went to the doctor, because he was one of those mustaches – her daddy – you can tell her. He married that old no-good riff-raff uptown, she’s livin’ yet. She killed about three men. Had them insured, and (?????????) Give them a lot of drink so they’d kick the bucket. Her husband and then another one she got later, and this one, she didn’t kill because they wouldn’t take him in the


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -9 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 282

insurance. Don’t say- you know, I could – she wouldn’t have me arrested because she’s not around. But that’s what the saying was (??????). He was in Freeland in insurance. I said, didn’t you want to insure that man? Oh, sure I had him insured! It was another family, too, that was pretty.…

AV Were there a lot of these ladies that used the cures around here? Or did you have to go somewhere out of town?

SZ: No, lots of people in Jedda.

AV So, where did they hear of this lady that came in and took care of the baby?

SZ: Well, there was a lady living in Freeland, Mrs. Hamara. My mother used to take the women from Humboldt. She used to do it with these things, too. She was a Mrs. (??????) mother. She was an old lady, and she was a very good Catholic, very devout person, you know? And she had all this kind of stuff. Whether she had a cure or not, I don’t know. And Helen said about Pete that well, Pete mentioned this when he was cuttin’ my husband’s hair, he used to be our daddy’s barber, he’s a good man. Well he said, he’s the ninth son…

AV (??????????)

SZ: Yeah. Ninth son ot something like that, but he said, I’m supposed to be a ninth son. But somebody’s supposed to hand it to you or show you or something, and he said, nobody ever showed me or done something. I remember listening when he was telling Pop.

AV I thought it was the seventh son.…

SZ: Yeah, something like that, yeah. But he said he is the seventh son. He 300 must have had seven, six brothers before his.

AV Now, you say that when your babies got sick you had a lot of home remedies for them, right? What about from the religious angle, I mean, did you do anything else for them, like, did you…

SZ: Well, that thing that I said that (???????????) they called it, that was blessed.

AV Oh, that candle, that piece of candle.

SZ: Yeah, I mean, you had that blessed, you blessed it when you went.

AV You didn’t use anything else religious for the baby, like I heard of some people that put a little metal around its neck so that it would get well. Did you do anything like that?

SZ: Oh, well any kind of thing. They used to bless flowers and things in church on Candlemas Day. Even now, when they bless candles, they take a bunch of flowers, you know, to bless. They don’t now, but they did.

AV You don’t mean Candlemas Day, that’s in the middle of winter. You mean, like, The Assumption?

SZ: No, in….….

AV August fifteenth, right?

SZ: (??????????????????) right after Easter, or before Easter. Not Candlemas Day, not Corpus Christi, not Mother’s Day. I don’t know if it’s tomorrow, when is Holy Day, do you know?

AV That’s August fifteenth.

SZ: But I don’t know, I don’t think it’s on Mother Day, (??????????), that’s blessing Mother’s Day, too. But that’s when they used to bless flowers.

AV What did they do, now?

SZ: They’d get a bunch of flowers and then bless them, and then have them in smoke, like they had a sore ear or something…

AV Did the wife always get the flowers, or did the kids get the flowers?

SZ: Anybody, you know, pick them in the yard or anywhere. And then take them up when the priest was blessing whatever needed blessing, candles or what, and he’d bless that, too.

AV Could it be any flowers at all?


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -10 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 322

SZ: He used to bless it in, like church, you know, you took it to church to bless, not in, ah.…

AV Oh, that sounds great! I never heard of that. Explain that. Could it be any flowers at all?

SZ: Whatever you thought was good for a cure of some kind, you know? Say like, well, sometimes you got, you got infection, and it would get red for you. Well, our people would say that that’s a rose, that’s a rose, you know? And that would start festerin”, that was infection, but you know, that’s how these people done it. Where they would bless a rose, too. And then they would smoke it, or you got infection in, I mean. I don’t know why, you ask her, when, did her mother ever say when you got that infection, it was a rusa, in Slavish it was a rusa. Rose and what they call rose in Slavish. Well, my mother used to, when it would get red, and they would even bless roses, and they would, you know, roses and whatever kind of thing they had, a bunch of flowers.

AV Would they burn just the rose?

SZ: People do it now, yet, too. Older people. But those young ones, they don’t need nothing.

AV Nobody did it to me, yet. Gee, and I could have used it, too!

SZ: Yeah, well that would heal, you know, but sometimes they would get like infection, and sometimes you’d get like a – I know my sister had an awful sore, one time she got a needle in her finger. And he didn’t think she had anything she had, but it still hurt. They went to the hospital and he looked through that, what you call it with it (????????????), and they looked in that finger for her in the hospital, X-ray machine, one time they only had one that you looked through, I don’t know. He said she didn’t have it, that it wasn’t there. And he went to the hospital, and I went with her, and then she had that needle in that. Well the next day Dr. Corrigan, you know when I worked for him, but I was only a kid yet. He took the, whatever he had, his instrument, and he cut it, and sure enough the needle was there. He just said, Where does it hurt, where does it hurt? Cut it! And the needle – pulled it out, and she put a thread to it and she hung it up! Yeah! And they went to the hospital, he sent her to the hospital X-ray. And then he had to do it himself. So, see, there you are, they looked through that and they didn’t find it. And they didn’t see it. And then he cut it, and it came out. And she even put a thread to it, because it was the little part of the needle! That went through. Then another time she had a felon. And you know what , she had, oh, I guess fourteen or sixteen children. She only had about, oh, you should see, one was prettier than the other one. Like Mrs. Gaffney. Very nice. She has about seven girls married. And one got married the second time. Her husband died, she found another one right away. I don’t blame her. They’re nice. They’re good workers. And…

AV What did you call this bunch of blessed flowers?

SZ: Just flowers. Well, they bless on a certain day, you ask Helen, what day they bless, she’ll tell you.

AV I thought there was a name for that, for the bunch.

SZ: I think it’s (????????????) Bunch of flowers. You know what I just heard, this lady, Hopscotch Lodge, or whatever you call it, she had these little things, I never knowed, and that was good to eat, right there on the thing. I should have watched her all the time. I betcha, if I had the book and marked down what she said, is good in the woods, she has those kids, and she’s, if there’s a book, I’m gonna send for it. Because she picked it in the woods and she brings it or the kids bring it, and she tells them what it’s good for.


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AV Which lady?

SZ: Oh, this ah, it’s on Channel 44. I never put Channel 44 on. She has a crowd of kids there, and they bring this stuff and she tells them what it’s for, last time she had this round ball-like, you know, that I told you? And she said the leaves are good when they’re tender but that top is good all the time. We never, my mother never knew that was good.

AV What kind of round ball was this? It’s a plant?

SZ: It’s a plant, about this high. I think I showed it to you. There’s some right at the end, I’ll bring it down today and I’ll show it to you. It’s like a bunch of, ah, a big round ball with pink flowers. And the leaves are good, too, the leaves are long.

AV They’re supposed to be good for what kind of stuff now?

SZ: Just to eat, instead of salad. You can eat it.

AV They’re not to cure anything with it?

SZ: No. Oh, I don’t know, it might be a cure for something, but she said it’s a good, you can eat it, it’s not poison. There’s a lot of things, say like that rhododendron that’s in the woods, them long things, if you make a fire out of that, and bake rabbit or something, that even thing will poison you.

AV Oh! You mean poison ivy?

SZ: Not poison ivy. Poison Rhododendron. That big flower that grows in the… I have some. They have long leaves? I have some back of our, they had a flower on this year. You call it Rhododendron. It has a leaf like the mountain laurel. You know what mountain laurel is? The state flower? Well, Only that’s a big leaf. Mountain laurel only has a small one. 384

AV I know what I wanted to ask. You were saying about how you brought in the doctor for certain things. How much was the doctor in those days, and how did you arrange to have him brought in? When did you call him?

SZ: Well, you mean, when the kids were little, we didnt call…I’ll tell you the god’s truth, all of our kids were raised without a doctor. Five of us, six. Mrs. Evangel, she was the oldest one, she was already raised, she got married and then they was five of us. And we never… I’ll tell you, somebody would be sick, and my mother would go there, because the woman would have the baby, and, whatever the doctor gave that kid, and our kid was sick at the same time, Mom figured well it must be they had the same thing. But it didn’t hurt ’em, whatever she gave to it. It didn’t even… We were poor, I’ll tell you the turth… and the doctor would have came, because he was a living saint, you know what I mean? When I went to work for him, I worked in different places where women had babies, you know and his girl quit, and the wife had to go to Canada. And I was only a little bitty thing, you know? So I was walkin’ home from there, and she paid me, and I thought well gee whiz she paid me too much. I didn’t know how to, I appreciated so much that I didn’t, I thought she gave me too much. And I went there one day, and I wanted to help her with the wash, because I figured she was so good, you know. And she said no, that it was foggy and rainy and the baby was small, she didn’t want to steam the house up. So then, I was goin’ home from her place that very same day, and Doctor Corrigan caught up with me, and was it a buggy or was it a car, I don’t even, no it was a car, no it was a buggy yet, because the girl had to leave because she got in trouble with the driver, that drove the buggy for the doctor. So, he didn’t have nobody. And, mind, he gave me a ride, anad he asked me, do I know of a girl anywhere that might come to work? And I said, why, I said, does anybody want a girl? He said, yeah, he said, I need a girl. So I said to him, I ain’t got no work. He asked me, do I, he didn’t want to take me away from them people, you know what I mean? But I wasn’t workin’ steady already, I just


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went back to help her. I only stayed there while the woman got out of bed on her feet. So he said- well I said, when would you want me to come? He said, I’ll go along the street – see, they put cards in the window then – and you get yourself ready. He knew why I didn’t have too much clothes, I just made myself a housedress before then, and I’ll never forget, I wore it after I went to work. I had no pattern, you know? You’d look in the catalog, and you cut ’em til they’d fit. I could have bought a pattern, but I probably wouldn’t have understood it. I would have, I guess, better than.… So, I just got on the thing, and I came, and I was workin’ for Doctor John! He was good, though, and she was good, too and the kids.…

AV This is Tuppermiller?

SZ: No, not Tuppermiller. That’s when I was single. Tuppenmiller was a Freeland doctor.

AV Which Doctor John was this, that you worked for?

SZ: Doctor John Corrigan, over at ST. Jo’s Hospital, he built that, that was his hospital. And he had a brother that was a priest , he has a brother that was a doctor, and his wife come from Canada, she had to go there, because her mother was sick.

AV Explain about these cards in the windows?

SZ: Well, you paid a dollar a month to the doctor. And when you wanted a doctor, there was a card about this big, you stuck it in the window. And he went around the town, and the cards must’ve been in there, because he said, I’ll go around the town, and.…

AV What, ah.…

SZ: So all right, he didn’t see no cards in the window, nobody was sick. If somebody was sick, he’d go in, and he’d say, if the baby is still sick, leave the card in the window. Sometimes the women, we would call the doctor even when we wasn’t sick. If yould feel like talkin’ to the doctor, and he’d get the pills, and he wouldn’t even give it to you, he didn’t believe too much in them, you know what I mean?

AV He didn’t?

SZ: Do you lnow what, when one of our boys already had mastoid, and my daughter was workin’ in the hospital, she was already a trained nurse (auto noise interference), and I don’t know what kind she was giving him. And I said to her, pills, they gave the boy pills. And she said, yeah, that’s the stuff, it was sulfa. That checks mastoid, that ear. I thought, My God. If that’s for check it, I said, I’m gonna give it. And all you’d have to do was give it, it would check it. And other times, twice they had mastoids that there was no medicine, well, it was too far gont then, I coudn’t check it. And I went with on of them, went to the doctor’s, and I had the festered finger, and the one had the sore ear, and there was nothing he could do about the sore ear, he had to go the hospital, to get cut. It was too late. It just came out! You know, there was no time to go, and he got cold, got his feet wet, and in the morning I looked, and it was swellled back there already, it was too late. That’s infected badly already. Swollen glands, and you don’t know that they have swollen glands. They go out, and then it goes back of he ear, in that bone, and that bone gets infected, so that they had to go Two of them, My Jimmy had it, and the other one.

45-1 AV Had it bad. So, you say you worked for this doctor for awhile, right?

SZ: I worked until I got married. I shouldn’t have got married. I was too young. I never even went anywhere, you know? I was just a young.…

AV You didn’t?

SZ: No, I didn’t. I went a couple times to a dance, and, at, we walked to Hazleton, and then walk it after twelve when the dance was over, and oh, we


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -13 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 456

were sorry we went, we waS tired. You had to walk from Hazleton home, which was four miles and a half, and you figured you’d done better if you stayed home. Because you had to walk, and you’d be tired.

AV Didn’t you enjoy dancing?

SZ: Yeah, I did! But I didn’t enjoy walkin’ home then! It was, you know, you didn’t get a ride home, you walked home!

AV Walk by yourself?

SZ: No, my god, no! That far?

AV Who did you walk with?

SZ: With a girlfriend. And then her sister’s husband- she was having children, and she stayed home, and he was one of those guys that was nice, and he got places, but she stayed home. We walked home with him. Him and his sister-in-law. The sister-in-law was there and one time she got ready and she followed him. She said, if you’re goin’, I’m goin’. She was a nice girl, too. She used to go with him for a while, and then they got married, and she had one baby, and she was gonna have another one, I guess. And she followed him, she was gonna go with him too. Well, she got about half-way to Harwood – I don’t know if you know where Harwood is – and he ducked in the woods, and she came back, and when I came back to the girlfriend she was in the corridor, cryin’! That’s what you get!

AV What kind of dances did you do? Square dances?

SZ: Oh, Polish dances, czardas and waltz, you know? I used to like to go to dances very much.

AV How many dances did you go to?

SZ: Oh, every now and then. (????????????????) used to go. Up in ah, and then they had a moonlight, they had a moonlight dance when I worked at Corrigan’s, and they were good people, you know? They said, was I asked, you know, to go to the dance? It was all right, that they told me, and they were responsible for me, and all that, they told me to, you know…

AV Who? Your parents?

SZ: No no, the… They didn’t have to tell me. The doctor and his wife. It was all right to go, I could go, but, well, the Humboldt bunch walked as far as Broad Street, 336 it was, on Broad Street, and we walked up Wyoming, around, down where Wyoming was that (?????????????????) Hall, then up Broad Street, and I went in to Doctor’s, you know, to the home, and they had to walk. That time I didn’t have to walk, I lived in his home.

AV Did you have permission to go to the dances?

SZ: Oh, I wouldn’t go without askin’, I asked them, too, or I wouldn’t go. I could have went if I wanted, but I didn’t do that, they were good to me.

AV Did your parents allow you to go to the dances?

SZ: Yeah! I didn’t go by myself, I went with a girlfriend, and with boys that were – we wouldn’t walk together. She went when this sister’s husband went. He went. He should have stayed home. He was a sport.

AV Well, how did you make your date at the dance? How did you find a partner?

SZ: You went there, and then they’d call you to dance and you danced.

AV You just sat around, you didn’t meet anybody there?

SZ: Yeah! When we came there, there was boys from Eckley came. And they were all friends. My husband came, too, and sat there, and I didn’t even know he was there.

SZ: How did you meet him?

AV I used to come to my sister’s and he used to board in where Helen lives lives, I guess. In that same house, or one below. No, up higher. And he came with a bunch, and one time he’d spent his last dime and he had to walk from Hazleton to there. He’s spent a last dime, not that he was careless or any


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -14 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 417

thing, he was a good manager. My husband might have been (??????), you know, but we never were hungry, and he was good-lookin’ and he was, ah, he never went nowhere. It would have been good if he’d at least went to the club, but he never, he, he, knew everything, and yet, whatever he made he gave me. And I wasn’t old, you know what I mean? He gave me everything. And I wasn’t stingy, you know? If I, somebody, poor guy, came around and I had a quarter, I would figure– he often said, she works so hard, she’ll go for huckleberries and she’ll do this, and she’ll do this, and somebody comes, just like that, okay, he’ll have it! Ha! ha! He would be a little bit, you know…? In a way, I wouldn’t just throw it away, but I was, well, if I knew that this (??????) that lives there was hungry, I would have took meat down every day. I can’t stand if the dog there, sometimes they wouldn’t feed him for a couple days. I can’t stand if the.…

AV Well, why did you say that you thought you were too early when you married?

SZ: Because I was only seventeen, and I was small, I never went nowhere, I was just beginning to go out, you know?

AV Why did you wait so long to begin to go out?

SZ: Well, what is the good to go out when I was twelve?

AV Well, maybe thirteen of so? No?

SZ: No, I didn’t go nowhere. I went, I was a bridesmaid at at wedding a couple times, but then I went to work, and, ah, the town was little and there was only two girls, me and another girl.

AV When did you start working?

SZ: Oh, I guess I was about sixteen when I started working. Then I worked in those three places, you know, the women were… and when I went that time to help the lady wash, she paid me, and I figured I owed her, and that’s when the doctor asked me. See, he seen me. His girl got in some kind of trouble.

AV What kind of places were these where you worked, where the women were?

SZ: Well, where they had babies, they had to have somebody to take care of the, I even baked bread for them. I was only little, I baked bread in one place…

AV Oh, you mean you were like a midwife?

SZ: No, I was no midwife, I just, the doctor was the doctor there. The doctor went there, but I was just to help around, you know? I remember one time…

AV How much were you paid for that?

SZ: How much they paid me? I got four dollars in one place, and one lady, the one that I worked the hardest, didn’t even pay me. She talked that I gave the boarder salted ham. Well, I guess it was salted. It was my fault, but I just was too dumb to know. Her brother said, she talked about me to this girl, where the ham was too salty, but she didn’t pay me for one week, you know what I mean? And…

AV When you worked for these people, did you sleep in at the house?

SZ: Well, I had to make breakfast for this boarder that she had, her brother boarded there. And I had to give him sliced ham, you know? You were supposed to boil the ham and throw the first water out because it was too salty. Well, the water boiled out and it was too salty. I guess he couldn’t eat it, I guess it was too salty. So, she didn’t tell me, she told me how to do it, but then I thought what’s the difference? You know, you put the water on, and the first thing you know it was boiled out, so I thought– when it was done, why, I gave it to him, with the salt and all! He should use some red pepper! I didn’t do it to be mean, you know, but I just didn’t know. So, like I’m saying, she didn’t pay me, but she talked to the girlfriend that the man said, What kind of cook have you got? That’s how.… And the other people that had more children even, and he was a boss, the boy, Daugherty, you ask him sometime, in a roundabout way, did they ever live in Harvard?


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He, probably his grandparents lived. She was a nice woman. And she had a big crowd and she appreciated so much, you know; she had a washer, and the boys helped, she had a lot of children, and she said, She knows that I wasn’t supposed to wash those clothes, you know, that, from her, you know, that, but I guess I didn’t even wash them good, because I wasn’t even fit to wash them, but I was just, but she was glad to get somebody that would do something. I was good, I baked bread. That I done. I could bake bread.

AV Did you? When did you start baking bread?

SZ: Well, I knew how to bake bread when I went to this lady that talked, well, they started the bread in a bread mixer. They owned it, but she used to make it in the pan. So when I got up in the morning, why they put three times as much in the bread mixer as it called for, you know? So in the morning when I got up, all the dough was out, and all over the table. You had to pick it up off the table, off the clean table, and push it back in. So I don’t know was it, did I bake once or twive, I guess once only, and then I thought, to heck with that kind of way, I’ll bake it the way I bake it myself. So then I just made it the way my mother made it. and then when I went in that Daugherty’s, (?????????????), I think I baked bread there too, I’m not sure now, see, I sorta don’t remember. I guess we did, because nobody else came to bake, and we did bake the bread, because it was such a big family, and the daddy was a boss. He was good, the kids were good, and she was good. They were very good. And then I went to another place, Collinses, and they only had about two children, three, and she was gonna have, and she had to have somebody there before the baby was born because she was, had some kind of trouble. So I went there ahead of time.

AV Did you sleep there?

SZ: No, I went home to sleep. It was in Harwood, it wasn’t far.

AV When did you start work in the morning?

SZ: When I got there! Well, you know, when I went to work for Corrigans, and my father was sick, I widh his soul rest, and I went home on a train and I got cash, so I had to come back and so I went to see him, this time, and I had to come back, then I had to get on the bus, and then the next morning there was no bus early. So I got up and it was I guess not even six o’clock, and I was up, you know where Cranberry is? Crystal Ridge? Well, from Humboldt, I went home to see my father, and I walked, and I met the miners goin’ to Harwood to work, in West Hazel, Crystal Ridge, West Hazel or Cranberry.

AV What time?

SZ: Oh, I guess it wasn’t even six o’clock! I walked.

AV And you reached the house…

SZ: Yeah, and when I reached the house, the doctor was up, and he was gonna start breakfast…

AV What time was that?

SZ: Oh, maybe six, maybe half past six, maybe not even that. And he said I didn’t have to come, he would have poached eggs, I’d make toast for his, and butter it, and take the eggs, and put it, like she showed me how to do it, put the eggs on the toast for him.

AV What time did you come home at night when you worked for people?

SZ: When I went to Corrigan’s I slept there. I stayed there in the house.

AV And usually when you worked for other people, what did you do?

SZ: When I washed the dishes at night I went home. It was only for a short while, you know, so, you could get nobody, you know? This woman at Collinses, they were nice, and she was supposed to stay off her feet, and when she got company(????????) was, this Doctor John had a sister, and his sister was married to this where I worked, Collinses, you know? They adopted her, she


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wasn’t the right sister, Costellos The two sisters came, and they were Doctor John’s. Doctor John’s sister died. And the husband, Costello, was a widower. She had I don’t know how many children. She was dead. The mother died. But, see, they were related to Doctor John because those two women that came to see this Collins lady were, this Costello that was married to Doctor John’s sister, they were his sisters. And then one of those Costellos had a boy, he was a mayor, Mayor Costello, in, ah, whatchacallit. So then, when I baked bread, and those Costello women, they were related to Doctor John, beings his siser was married to those women’s brother, but she was, she died, I know. I don’t remember how she died, but. But the granny was living, the granny was a livin’ saint, too. And the granny lived in Hazelbrook, and they walked from Hazelbrook to Eckley church, got married, and walked back to Hazelbrook. They lived for a while with the daddy. I remember that old man, because he used to come on a buggy, he had a big white beard? AV So you worked like this…

SZ: So then, yeah, you know, when I went out in the shed, and I come in, and they were having the bread I baked. And they were askin’ this woman – she was out of bed already, they came to see the baby. Because they adopted this girl, you know, she wasn’t a sister of their’n, she was an adopted one. I didn’t know that ’til later. So, they wanted to know who baked the bread. And, when I come in, I was only little, you know small. I looked like I was 12 years old! They said, thaat little girl baked this bread? So then Mrs, Corrigan said, you know, she said, some day, Susie… , I heard you can bake good bread. Them women told Doctor John what good bread I could bake! But there was no time to bake bread, because there was a lot of children. The wash woman would come, and she had I don’t know how many bedrooms for that, they had about ten children, When I was there. I think she had, the baby’s name was Esther, and then she had another baby after I left, John. She took as many, and she had a hard time, too, with them, but they were a family that took what God gave them. You know what I mean?

AV But you yourself had a whole bunch of kids. How did you…

SZ: We didn’t have that many, we only had five. But Mrs.(????????), this Mrs. Hannas, my sister, she had lots.

AV But I mean, your own family…

SZ: We had five. That wasn’t too much, but that was, say, my mother had them about two years apart. The oldest one was John, then me, then Mary, then Joe, then Mike. And the oldest one, Mrs. Evangel, she was already married. So we had five. But my mother lived in the old country, and my father, he had on daughter with his first wife in the old country and she had – Mrs. Hannas wasn’t my mother’s girl.

AV How about your own kids, now. You had thirteen of them. How did you get everything done? All the stuff, the washing, ironing, and cooking, and all. What time did you usually get up in the morning?

SZ: You know, in the beginning, when we had to wash on the washboard, well, that wasn’t too long, because I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t even remember how long that was that I washed on a washboard. Because we only lived up in the Back Street three years, then we came here, I guess we lived here a while, because we didn’t even have the house wired, we couldn’t get a electric washer, unless you had the house…

AV Yeah…

SZ: Then I got the washer. I didn’t ask for the washer. But I went for huckleberries, and he said, don’t go for huckleberries, don’t go for huckleberries I said, I’m goin’ for huckleberries. So I went, and when I come home, Pop


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -17 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 653

brought the washer. The women around here bought washers, you know, that didnt only have one kid or maybe no kids, and he figured well, if women had washers that it would (??????????????), you know what I mean? So when I come home I had a big E-Z washer, I think it was a hundred and seventy or a hundred and eighty dollars.

AV Was I electric?

SZ: Uh-huh.

AV You never used.…

SZ: E-Z washer, it was.

AV You still have…

SZ: No, this is a Maytag. But then I got another E-Z, and it was enamel, and…

AV You never used a hand-crank washer, did you? Like the one on display yesterday? With the wooden tubs and the hand crank?

SZ: 602 Yeah. You know what my sister used to do? She had seven or eight children, the boys were the oldest. And then boys used to help her, they used to wash, and wash dishes, and a lot of work. And you know what she would do, she would take and she would soak her clothes, and she’d put Fels Naptha on each piece where it got dirty. Things got dirty, you know? And then she used to have to wash them. Well, they soaked them, and the next day she’d take it out of that water and she’d.… they used to boil clothes, too, ask Helen.

AV Did you do that?

SZ: I didn’t boil them. Maybe a long time I did but, oh, I boiled them one time and I went in the neighbor’s, and the water boiled out with the soap, and, oh it went under the, things, you know, the lids of the stove, and it went in there and it was full there, and it leaked on the side there where the soot’s goin’, and all over the floor! It was even goin’ out through the back of the stove, the water!

AV When did you boil the clothes? When you were first married?

SZ: I don’t know. Yeah, We’d boil then, yeah. I don’t know if it done any good or not. And if you didn’t get the dirt out, and if you boiled it, it would even boil it in further. You had to see that it was out. Fels Naphtha was good. But then, see, now they have all kinds of detergents. You know what they should have done then, they put a little bit of lye, but you’d burn yourself. That’s what I used to do.

AV So, when did you get up in the morning?

SZ: Well, when it was time to send my husband to work.

AV What time was that?

SZ: About half, five o’clock, I guess.

AV Oh! Five o’clock every morning?

SZ: You know, when my father went to work, he used to go to work at five, at dark and come home at dark. I used to … (someone comes to the door at this point).

AV What was that you were sayind, don’t hurt the dog, when somebody’s hurt?

SZ: You know, they’ll laugh about it, they’ll say, you won’t hurt the dog. And it doesn’t mean – (???????????????) means, it won’t affect the dog, or hurt the dog. When ou got a hurt, and then maybe your mother or sombody’ll laugh, Oh, (?????????). It won’t hurt the dog! But they don’t mean that it don’t hurt you, but it won’t hurt the dog that’s around. It’s a by-word, only it fits better in Slavish. It sounds foolish in English, but it don’t in Slavish.

AV And did you ever hear somebody, or did you ever say yourself, Oh, it will heal when you get married! Something like that? I will be all better when you get married!

SZ: I guess ther’s a word like that, but I don’t remember hearin’ it. Did you


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -18 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 611

hear it someplace?

AV Well, that’s what Helen said to me.

SZ: Oh, well,I guess when a kid would cry, and they would make a joke out of it, you know? A little girl would cry: When you get married it’ll get better! They probably used that.

AV I was gonna ask you, in the morning, when you got up, what was the first thig that you did? You’d get up at five o’clock, and…

SZ: Oh, pack my husband’s lunch, get him some coffee. Pack his lunch, get his, 702 he used to have a can, tin pail, like a bucket, that you hung on to. The miners would take it over their shoulders, and the men that worked outside would have a pail that you, can, you know? In the top you put tea or milk or water, and on the bottom you put sandwiches. But the miners had a little round can, I think there’s one down there, and there’s a keg. So, you put a strap around the keg, and you put the can on it, and you put it over your shoulders.

AV And what did you pack for you husband’s lunch?

SZ: Well whatever he liked, a sandwich. Whatever meat you had, and a piece of cake or a piece of fruit, maybe. You did’t have too much time to eat, most of the time, he, when he worked outside he could, but he didn’t work long outside. But, when he was younger he could eats lots, but later on, as he got older, he didn’t have too good of an appetite.

AV What did you do, did you have breakfast yourself, then?

SZ: Well, I could eat when I wanted. And, like on Sunday, Sunday I always got a piece of meat. My sister used to always make, on Sunday morning, she had a cow and she had sweet cream, you know? Or sour cream? And she’d get veal, and fry it, put a little flour on, and butter, and keep mixing it til it’s nice and brown, you know? The veal, with the butter. Like a (???????????), but you had the butter and the flour and the meat, cut in cubes, like. And when it got good and brown, you poured a little boiling water in, and then you made a, like you put in gravy, you know? But you put cream in maybe sweet cream, or sour cream, and you dissolved it, with a little flour, and she’d always have that for Sunday. That was good. We called it paprika, Helen knows what it is. Then you put a little bit of red pepper if you liked it hot. We put it for us, because our kids didn’t like it too much, but it’s a, but hot flakes of pepper made it good, gave it a good taste.

AV Yeah. That’s what you had on Sunday?

SZ: On Sunday morning we always made that.

AV You served that for your kids, too?

SZ: For breakfast. If they wanted it, they had it.

AV Usually, during like a weekday, then what did you do, you served breakfast for your husband.…

SZ: When our daddy worked in the mines, I had soup almost every day. I had a chunk of meat, and potato, and one day I’d put potatoes, and then I’d make a whole colander full of dumplings, like about three or four eggs, and flour and water and beat it up and then I made a potful, and I’d have the potato soup, and we’d put some of those dumplings in. And then I’d have the meat. And when we had chickens, one time there was a 6-month strike when we had chickens, why we’d kill a couple chickens, every day we’d have it. And there was (????????????), you know with celery and carrots, and potatoes, make a big potful, and put butter in and stew it, you wouldn’t brown it, because they were young, thet’d fall apart. Then I’d make those dumplings on the side.

AV How did you make the dumplings?

SZ: With flour and water and egg.


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -19 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 753

AV I never made any.

SZ: I’ll show you how to make it.

AV Okay.

SZ: Just make it thick, so it don’t fall apart. I’ll make some some day when you’re here. It won’t take long.

AV When did you husband go to work in the morning?

SZ: Well, sometimes he worked night shift. And he’d have to be there around six o’clock, he took the (????????) to Buck Mountain.

AV When he worked on the day shift?

SZ: Um-hum.

AV Yeah.

SZ: Most of the time he worked day shift, but sometimes night. Very seldom; but lots of men, you’d have to go on three shifts. You have to share, you know? One week, one.…

AV That kind of messed up your schedule a little bit.

SZ: Yeah, well it did, but, you know. But he was pretty lucky that way, workin’ day shift.

AV Usually when ge worked in the day shift, he was gone at six o’clock?

SZ: He left at six and he’d come home, in the beginning they didn’t come home til half past four, then it was four. As they had more strikes they got less time in the mines. And later on, he’d be home half past three.

AV And then, what was the the next thing you did after you made breakfast for you husband?

SZ: Get the kids to school. Then when our kids went up here to school, I’d have to have something for them. Five or six of them came for lunch. So one day I’d fry potatoes, and chow chow, or and another day I’d…

AV Just potatoes and chow chow for lunch? That’s it?

SZ: And minced ham if I had. And even fried potatoes. Or, some day, for lunch, you know? For supper I had something else. But that was better than a sandwich, havin’ fried potatoes and the, and the next day I’d, another day I’d have home-made bread and butter it, and cook tomatoes and put tomatoes on. That’s all they had where I worked, for, you know, for dinner when the kids would come, it would be hot. And milk. I always had milk. The didn’t go for milk too much, they had too much of it. And sometimes I’d make egg bread.

AV Yeah, how did you do that?

SZ: You know that. Dip the bread in eggs and……

AV Then put it in a frying pan and cook it?

SZ: Yeah. I’d make that.

AV And then when you.….

SZ: Sometimes I’d make rice. Rice with milk.

AV What did you do, cook it in milk?

SZ: Well, I’d start it with water, you know. But then I’d put mostly milk. This little Tony of ours, when he’d come, Make me some wice, he’d say! He had a potful. He likes rice. The other ones wouldn’t eat it. The other guy wouldn’t touch it. And he don’t give orders at home to be making rice. But he comes home, he says, Will you make me some rice, Mama!

Av When the kids used to go to school up here, what time did they get up? That you had to prepare breakfast for them?

SZ: Oh, they had to be in school bfore nine.

AV So, what time would they get up, usually?

SZ: Oh, about eight o’clock or so.

AV And what did you serve them for breakfast?

SZ: I don’t know. Anything I had, I gave them Eggs, fried eggs.


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -20 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 821

AV That sounds good.

SZ: Sure.

AV Some people just gave them, like, pieces of bread.

SZ: Yeah, you know I never made a habit of giving them cereal. I never used to get it, so I never made of habit of.… if I did have it, they didn’t want it.

AV You gave them a lot of eggs, then, fried eggs?

SZ: Eggs, bacon I’d have.

AV Yeah, yeah. That looks good. And then…

SZ: Well, for dinner they’d come home I’d have to make something. Fry minced ham, hot minced ham, you know, fry it? And fried potatoes on the side, or have a (????????) or something, or tomatoes, sliced. I’d have to get something, because I had quite a bit of them goin’. You couldn’t–I’d have to have something, you know, pretty big, pretty lots. Well, I’d make, you know what I’d make? I’d make caraway soup…

AV Caraway soup? Oh! How did you do that?

SZ: Browned butter and flour and caraway seeds, or take the caraway seed and boil the caraway seed in water. And make a (????????????????) with butter and flour, and make a soup. That’s what you’d always want when you had a baby.

AV Caraway seed soup?

SZ: Um-hum. Caraway is good for you. It’s even good for the baby.

AV What does it do?

SZ: It’s supposed to, if you have gas or anything, it’s to–you can get caraway medicine, too, see? Or catnip of, Huffman drops, someone of the guys used to give, but you can’t get it no more, the man ain’t around that used to make it.

AV Can you use catnip for anything?

SZ: Catnip of fennel, I’d buy for the baby, I’d give it to the baby.

AV For what?

SZ: Do you know what catnip is? It’s a certain kind of weed.

AV Something like mint, maybe?

SZ: Yeah, something like that, yeah.

AV And what did you use it for, to make tea out of, to give to the baby?

SZ: They used to, you bought the catnip in a drugstore, and cooked it.

AV You boiled it?

SZ: You boiled it, or you could buy catnip in the bottle, it had a little alcohol in it, you know? Get a little bit, and it would heat the insides. You called it catnip of fennel. I don’t know what it was, but that’s what it…

AV What did it cure?

SZ: The baby would you’d eat something, the baby would get a colic in the night, with cry-bed colic, babies that would cry for a couple of months with colic. You’d give it that, and it sorta healed it. Camomile tea, too, is good.

AV And those caraway seeds, what did you do for the baby? Just boil then?

SZ: Sometimes you would just bust it up, like, crack it up with a spoon, and put a little water in and give them, like that.

AV And did you give that to the mother, after she had a baby, too?

SZ: The caraway soup, yeah. But, ah, in a, I ate it one day or so, but later on I, we had chickens, I had chicken soup always for dinner. I could eat like a horse then. And then later on, then.…

AV What did you do…

SZ: Then in the morning, I’d eat two big slobs of toast, and tea. Not coffee, I had tea. And that would taste very good. I couldn’t wait until I got it. Then at dinner time I’d get chicken soup. Chicken soup, and chicken if you


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -21 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 850

want to eat it.

AV What did you do from the time that the kids went off to school until it was time to serve them dinner?

SZ: Oh, there was always plenty to do. You had chickens and you had cows, and…

AV What did you do, milk the cow?

SZ: …our daddy used to help with the cow, too. My sister’s husband, he never went near the cow, he sat there like he was a big shot, and she’d carry a big tub like that, only three times that big, all the way up to the thing, and old man (??????????????), her father, would say (he used to help his wife), you know, a good guy, you know, and he’d say God’s gonna punish you for that woman (????????????). My sister wold tell me. But he’d sit. He took care of himself. And if you’d give him eat, whatever she gave him, and she’d put the salt and pepper over there, and he’d mumble, couldn’t you push it over here, but you had to put it there?

AV Hmm. Did you take care of a cow?

SZ: I went to milk her. Poppy would go down first and clean her, give her hay, and then I’d give her chop, dried chop, in one of those big buckets. When she was eating chop, I’d milk her.

AV When did you milk the cow?

SZ: Soon as Pop went to work. And then at night. Oh, we had one that, oh she was a bugger. She kicked like heck. We had a lot of cows, about sixteen.

AV All at one time?

SZ: Oh, no. Just one at a time. She didn’t give no milk, Poppy’d go down, he’d be mad as ever, he wasn’t gonna be feedin’ no cows that didn’t give no milk, and he would go down at Harry William’s—he was a nice guy, he was very nice– oh! You know, I’ll never forget ( you ain’t got that on, have you?)……….….And then you had dishes, well whenever the bigger day?, you’d wash the dishes. By the time you done dishes, then when you had a crowd of kids comin’–I had four or five, or maybe six, comin’ for lunch–you’d have to get something for lunch. Then they went to school, and you hadda get, ah, wash up the dishes again, because I’d have to cook something. I’d make potato soup lot of time, you know, cream of potato soup. And potato cakes. And it would be, it was sandwiches, you know? Most of the time, lots of times, egg bread, because I had home-made bread, I would make, or cheese, it was, you know, cheese between, well cheese on bread on the top for the meal. I had a whatchacallit stove, you know, a coal stove, yet.

AV When did you do your washing?

SZ: Once a week, sometimes more.

AV Yeah? What day? Was there a special day for it?

SZ: Specially Mondays. But, I should have washed oftener, ’cause when I washed it was long, you know. See I got, when I got the washer it wasn’t it wasn’t too bad already.

AV When did you start washing during the day, on Monday?

SZ: Early in the morning. As soon as the kids went to school. But the hardest was when you hadda do it on washboard, but I didn’t do that too long. Only about four years up there, we lived four years on the Back Street, then when we came here, I do’t know how long, then we got the house wired, we got a washer. I didn’t bother with that hand washer. I didn’t think, I don’t know, my sister did, because she had lots.

AV When did you do your ironing?

SZ: Oh, you know what I used to do? I used to, I had two girls at once goin’ to school, Mary and Helen, and I bought two nice dresses. I remember when Mary went, the oldest one, I paid I guess a pretty good bit, not no nine or ten dollars, but I remember one was a box pleat and the belt went


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -22 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 905

under, and another one was a nice, but they were two nice dresses, and you know what I done? I, my daughter was very neat and very clean; she went to school and she come home, she took it off and put it on a rack. And the next day, this other dress was, I’d have two nice dresses–not six or seven but just two–and when she got home, she’d put an old one on, you know? And had those two nice ones for school. And the boys, you made blouses, you had to make blouses for them. Jackets and like that.

AV You made them yourself?

SZ: Sure. And before, you know what, before, I told you this I guess already, when you were supposed to have a baby, well you would make maybe ten jackets, at least six, seven for each, if you had five kids you’d make six, seven jackets, blouses, like there, only they, ah, you know, had collar like a boy’s collar. You got a pattern, some lady would buy a pattern, then you would lend it, and then you’d cut your own pattern, you had the pattern put away and you’d make it. You made all your own clothes, too. And you know what, when I wanted a, yeah, when our two girls were, well I even made, one I made a coat suit, I made a coat– I told you about that. When I wanted an Easter dress. I went to Bon-Ton (that was the store) and I bought embroider, embroidery, and I took a Sears Roebuck catalog, and there was a dress there that had, the bottom wasn’t hard, it was all embroidered here, and then I bought the narrow stuff, because it, mind, it was too dear. A couple of little pleats here.…

AV What did you wear when you were.…

SZ: And then I, box pleats, you could see them all around, you know? And this here, I took it, and I put the insertion this way, you know this stuff that you put together, and the bottom of that, like, bottom of the embroider, I put one piece this way and one piece this way, and I just looked in the catalog, no pattern…

AV What catalog was this?

SZ: White, it was white crepe. I wore it to the dance and to church.

AV What’s the name of the catalog?

SZ: Mongomery, or Sears. I didnt send for it or anything. I bought the embroidery, and.…Then we were making corset covers. You know, they had corsets then…

AV Did you make the corsets?

SZ: You know, corset covers? Like when, under a thin dress, well, you had a piece all embroidered this wide, you know? You cut it this way, and a hole here, on the side, but you put it together. And then you sewed it in and you left about this much here, came down here–like that– only a little bit. And that you wore under a dress, under a Sunday dress. That was a corset cover.

AV Did you make your own corsets?

SZ: No, well even if you didn’t have a corset, you still made that. So when I went to live in Corrigans, I made those, you know? And she was surprised She thought, she went down and bought material then. And I made myself one, I didn’t ask anybody, I went down there, they had a sale on mixed embroidery that was for that kind of stuff, and she said, and then I made her a couple. She didn’t think I could sew. She said, You know Susie, one day, she said, we’ll get another workin’ girl and we’ll have you for a sewin’ girl! That never came, though because, I mean, he didn’t have so much, well he had business, but at that time, you know how much money you’d collect then when you got a dollar a month. You didn’t charge no five dollars, you didn’t charge no three dollars. And if people didn’t have no money, he was good. He’d bring oranges to give the kids so they would like him so they wouldn’t


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -23 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 766

be afraid of him. He was very nice, very nice. Good, very good to them. And they were all, I never heard them giving each other a cross word, never.

AV Did you wear corsets when you were in the house?

SZ: Did I what?

AV Did you wear corsets around the house?

SZ: No. I, ah, we didn’t wear any. When I came there, I didn’t have anything. She had a nice little grey skirt that was small on her. Or maybe the other girl left it, I don’t know. And then I went down in the town, and I bought myself like, like kimonos, you know? You didn’t have to have nothing, just. And I got a couple, and I wore them to work. And then I bought myself a couple of dresses for church. And they always let me go to church, and they never.… And I used to go to the Greek church. Father Kowacs. And that priest had to go to Sheppton first and have mass there. And then mass wouldn’t start til twelve o’clock. And I went there, I should have went anywhere what was…

AV Who let you go to church?

SZ: Corrigans.

AV When you were married, though, what did you wear around the house for clothes? 770 SZ: Oh, I had a lot of clothes. Make them. You made them. My sister used to make me dresses, and she made herself dresses, nice ones.

AV Did you use pattens?

SZ: Sure. Yeah. She used to sew a lot. Lot of women around used to sew.

AV I know.

SZ: They didn’t buy ready-made. You sewed them. You didn’t buy no ready-made. You made them.

AV Did you use patterns for…

SZ: They bought patterns later, yeah. Or, if you got something that you liked, you cut yourself a pattern. But they used to wear those tight-fitting things that had buttons all the way down, you know?

AV What do you call them?

SZ: I don’t know. and her, her. Oh, there were the blouses, there were skirts and waists at that time, you know? skirts and blouses.

AV Skirts and waists?

SZ: Yeah. Blouse. Skirt and blouse. The blouse fit inside.

AV That’s what you wore?

SZ: Yeah.

AV And when you were pregnant, what kind of clothes did you wear then?

SZ: I didn’t need any kind of a thing. I never got big.

AV No? Gee, that”s strange. Well, I guess not.

SZ: Well, you wore an apron. Some people had aprons, you know, that they had a piece here, and it was gathered here. I know, one of my sister’s neighbors, she, oh, she was awful big–she had a baby about fifteen or sixteen pounds—she used to wear those old ladies’ coats that was wide and I didn’t like that. Oh, I thought I wouldn’t even go down to the shit-house with one of them things! She was big, too, because she had an awful big baby!

AV You were never big, though.

SZ: They were eight pound, they were big enough, but…

AV Oh, that is quite a size.

SZ: Sure, none of them were less than eight pound. And the first one was the biggest. She was awful big. She was fat. Around here it was like, you know? And my mother came and she’d say, Oh my God, how did you ever get rid of this baby –get rid of it is just to bring it, you know, but in the Greek way it would show, how did you ever bring it here? Because she was a midwife


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -24 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 1024

and she knew. I tell you, you don’t even know how I had it. I only had a midwife, and I suffered too. The water burst in the morning and Mary wasn’t born until five o’clock at night. And the midwife tried to help me, and my sister said we’d call the doctor. But maybe it was best, because if he’d have used instruments on me, he’d have ripped me apart, you know what I mean? You had a first baby, they did do that. Lot of poor girls had to go the hospital and get fixed, and, you know? Not that he wanted to, but, he ain’t gonna sit there all day with you. So he used an instrument, and you’d get tore up and you’d get tore inside, too. They wouldn’t wait til because it was… So, I just had to suffer. And then the midwife tried to help me, and she pinched me inside. They say you get blood poison. That’s why I never believed that you will die one minute or you will get blood poison. You won’t get nothin’ if God doesn’t want you to get it. Because when I was sittin’ on that strip in there, and I stayed there on that slimy thing and I didn’t fall, and Annie came–she saved my life that lady did, honest to God, and she don’t even brag about it. And ah, so ah, what was I talkin’ about? About gettin pinched, get blood poison. I didn’t get no blood poison. When I went to make my urine out, I thought I’d die, that’s how it burned. Because in one place, in the tender part, you know when she tried to help me, and she got (auto noises) (??????????????????), like when I cut myself here, like that, you see? That’s how much.

AV Gee, that’s bad!

SZ: Well, if you’d try you couldn’t sit. You couldn’t sit. When they’d bring meat, they’d say, why don’t you sit? I’d say, How are you gonna sit when you’re sore, you’re all like a piece of steak on one side and a piece of steak on the other side of you? So, you know what it is to, to…

AV Well, I don’t, but…

SZ: Well, you don’t, but I mean, well, the next one, when (??????) was born, I had the same midwife and I got pains at five and at nine (??????) was born. It was still awful. It’s an awful pain. Some people didn’t.… I used to be so scared before the babies were born, all of them, that I would say the stations for the most forsaken soul, for the holy souls, to the dear Lord, I read that in a book that I get, Tabernacle and Purgatory it was, the name of it was, now it’s Spirits and Life. It’s all, no stories or anything, just like about ghosts, too, when somebody would come from the next life, but true, not, not. That if you have some kind of trouble, and you say the stations for the souls, that you won’t, you’ll be able to carry it, you know? And I remembered a couple things,and this time I said them, so I would, not to, ah, but not to be scared. Not to be so afraid, because that fear was killin’ you. I was afraid, so afraid, for them pains, when they were gonna come. It comes hard. And we had a picture of our Lord kneelin’ in Gethsemane, and I used to kneel by that.

AV And pray to him, what?

SZ: So the Dear Lord would take the fear from me, having me so afraid. And then that way I wouldn’t be afraid. I’d say the stations for the souls, the holy souls, and I read that, and I just put that in my head, and it was true.

AV And did you pray…

SZ: Then I wasn’t afraid. i wasn’t afraid that, ah, I mean, I was afraid of that pain, that’s how. See, some of the women had them easy, I guess, it’d just come and they’d have them right away. Well, like I had, one of them was born when the doctor was here, I didn’t have no pain.

AV Did yu pray anything for the kids before they were born?

SZ: Why? To go, I never went to be treated or anything. Not by any of them. When, towards the end, Doctor Maya, and I had him, there was no midwife, I


A. Varesano interviewing Susie Zosak -25 8/14/72 Tape 26-1 1076

had the doctor..

AV No, I mean, did you pray for the kids?

SZ: Oh, I always did. I’d pray for the baby, that if it goes up and does something to damn its soul so that the dear Lord would take it after it was baptised. I always did. I knew it was hard, but…

AV Yes, that is hard…

SZ: I did, I prayed. I’d rather see it die when it’s a baby than, like, you read about some people would do this or do this, maybe they were good when they died, maybe God forgave them, but I was worried about their soul much much more than about their thing. I mean, I worried about them when they got here and all, and see that they, worried if they went out, I worried about them and all, but I, ah…

AV Wow! You mean, after you carried them for all that time, you were still willing to pray that?

SZ: Yeah. I always did.

AV After you had it with you for nine months already…

SZ: Yes, so if it was to do something that would wound its soul, that the dear Lord would take it. And you feel like–one baby died when it was six weeks old, and another little boy died when he was twenty months old–I don’t know I don’t even think that something would happen, but they–he died, maybe something would happen, I don’t know.

AV Do you think?

SZ: I don’t know, I don’t think, because the kids were good, this boy got sick, and, but you know, sometimes when they grow up and they, you’ll be worried about them, and if they do something, you figure, well it would have been better if, God would have took them. Like our Mary said, better if, if, one died and he wasn’t baptised, he was baptised but he was dead-born, but she said I wish this one would have died too when he was born, til he was baptised, the boy, or this girl, too. She said, Mom, it would have been a hundred times better if they would have died right after they were baptised. It’s not easy, but that’s how they get you mad. You’re a good mother, you try and do the best you can. Some people don’t care, you know? Some mothers that… And, you know, a lot of those girls go to college, you know what the hell they’re doin’ when they go there. And they know a lot about things, and the damn place is full of birth control pills. The boys moved into a house, there, a room and they would every damn thing there. Girls. They didn’t at least clean up after themselves.

AV I don’t think it’s that some parents don’t care, it’s just that they figure that…

SZ: I mean, they trust them. I know, I know.

AV Like they’ll believe, that , some parents will just think that it’s better for the kid to live, even if it does turn out that…

SZ: Well, what kind of livin’ is that, when the son-of-a-gun will take the damage of you, and get you in wrong, and then you have to face that, you have to go to court and all that so he’d support your kid. Don’t you pity that girl? I pity her more than I pity the purest girl in the whole world. And he doesn’t care, because he’ll have made a fool out of you. 1158 Like, this girl…

1160 (????????????????UNREADABLE PRINT?????)



7/27/72 D. Mercier interviewing Page Subject Susan Zoscak 1 Saving money Grade school teacher salaries – $40 one pay period – $50 another pay period (2weeks) ‘Buying’ jobs- jobs dependent upon political association “donation” to a party

A. Varesano interviewing Susan Zosak Home remedies for ilnesses — stewed onions for colds –flaxseed babke or pig’s ears for (?????) — boiled digitalis for the heart — bloody-blood or (??????????) to stop bleeding — (?????) or live forever for infection

8/1/72 A. Varesano interviewing Susan Zosack 1 Recipe for corn meal mush Recipe for sour milk Recipe for canning tomatoes Redipe for pickles Recipe for halupki (stuffed cabbage) 2 Recipe for soup(potato) Recipe for huckleberry pie crust Recipe for creamed vegetable soup 3 Hot lettuce recipe Recipe for Rasperry jam Recipe for Huckleberry and peach jam




8/1/72 A. Varesano interviewing 1 X Zaprashke soup recipe Susan Zosak X Mushroom soup (Holy Supper)recipe X Pea soup recipe X Stewed chicken recipe X Pirohi (Three cornered) recipe

6/5/72 A. Varesano interviewing 1 X Prayers for lost objects Susan Zosak St. Anthony/St. Joseph X X Cow Cheese Pie Recipe X Bread Recipe X Info. and diagrams about old time bake ovens 2 X Procedure to heat up bakeoven

6/6/72 A. Varesano interviewing 1 X “Red top” mushrooms Susan Zosak (????) mushrooms

6/19/72 W. Braun interviewing 1 X How women supplmented Susan Zosak the family income X – picked huckleberries X – picked coal X – raised vegetables, cows, and chickens X – clothes hand-sewn X – whiskey made



DATE PAGE SUBJECT 8/1/72 A, Varesano interviewing 4 X Cures for “waste-away” Susan Zosak X Wintergreen oil good for rheumatism X Sassafrass tea good for your stomach X Chamomile “weed tea” good for colicky babies

8/10/72 A. Varesano interviewing 1 X Views on marriage, sex and Susan Zosak children


3 Angela Varesano 8/1/72 Susan Zosak

Soups The main flavor is that of the zaprashka. When it is partly brown, a ittle bit of onion can be added. Evidently the main flavor-giver is not so much the vegetables used in these soups as the zaprashka mixture. The sources of flavor appear to be butter fat or oil or animal fat and cream or milk.

Mushroom soup (Holy Supper): Soak dry mushrooms in water. Wash in a culander. Grind them up. Boil in water. When it comes to a boil, spill out the water. Put more water in and add sauerkraut juice to taste. Cook for an hour or so. Make sure the water doesn’t escape. Put in about a half cup of buchwheat (groats or rice) to thicken and give it taste. Cook this. Make zaprashka. Her mother used to brown dry flour, with no butter if it was a fast day. By traditional Eastern Church laws, no butter was allower on these days. Supper included mashed potatoes with no butter or milk and boiled sauerkraut. Add zaprashka to the sauerkraut.

Pea soup: One half of a one pound box of dry split peas is cooked with water and some potatoes. Make zaprashka, add, and cook. Beat two eggs up with a tablespoon of water. Add enough flour to make this thick. Push it off the dish by spoonful into the soup and cook it. Dumplings should be made from small pea-sized pieces of dough. This is also pushed off the side of the bowl with a spoon.

When there was a strike, a lot of chickens were killed. She made stewed chicken. Stew cut-up chickcn with a half tablespoon of butter and some water. Cook with carrots, celery, parsley, and potatoes. Add water. Put in dumplings or make the dumplings in boiling water and add them as you serve. When she was married her own family bought “peeps” and raised them for food.

Pirohi (“three-cornered”): Make dough with flour and water. Knead until no lumps of flour are left. Roll our and cut in three-inch squares. Put the filling in and overlap. Crimp the edges with a fork. These are boiled until done by dropping them into boiling water. Fillings include boiled potatoes, drained and mashed; mashed potatoes with cheese, Velveta cut in chunks and mashed into it: poppy seed which is put in and then the square rolled, probably from one corner to the other


Angela Varesano 6/5/72 Susan Zosak

Pray to St. Anthony or St. Joseph if you lose something. Promises some money for the orphan houses

Miss Whitman was a nurse on the Back Street. Miss Smith was also a nurse

Cow Cheese Pie: Eva Suloksky eggs Beat the eggs and sugar – Susie Zosak adds milk because it makes it sugar “like a custard”. Her mother used to make it like that nutmeg Add the remaining ingredients. Brush the dough shell with cinnamon browned butter and spread the mixture over the shell. salt

Zosak: said to be the best breadmaker (She was boasting of her bread making reputation).

? Fry bacon, then put in bacon fat: flour, tomatoes, water. Cook with whatever meat you have on hand. Add elbow macaroni. She often uses hot dogs for the meat.

? from the neighbor’s boy Andrew Stefanko Cooked prunes, sugar, browned butter on shells of dough

Pumpin pie: Eva Sulkosky Pet milk and 1/2 of the milk called for. 1/2 brown?1/2 weight. 4-5 eggs

Bread recipe: Susie Zosak Potato water Mashed potatoes (not too much) Salt and sugar to taste 1 or 2 eggs optional — eggs used only at Easter Stiffen the bread from the outside of the mass inward. To make the bread shine: Put on some beaten egg before the bread goes in the oven.

Bake oven: A Magyar mason used to be able to build them. He used clay and stuff. The foundation was made of stones. The roof was supported on four posts. The roof of the bakeoven was domed.

roof——————————— Flat paddle used to put pans in the oven

bricks of the dome ———————–

tin door —————————- ———–surface of the oven 2-1/2’x3′

stone foundation (ILLUSTRATIONS IN BETWEEN) (???????????????????????????????)


Angela Varesano -2 6/5/72 Susan Zosak

Procedure to heat up a bake oven:

They used to put long pieces of wood “in the back of the oven somewhere”. When the wood was all burned up, the cinders would be raked out and you’d be ready to bake bread. You’d put the pans in with a paddle (it had a flat surface and a long handle on it. Then you would bake the bread for 1 hour. My mother would put the tin door in and leave it open just a little, prop it o[en and let it bake.”


Angela Varesano 6/5/72 Mrs. Zosak

From 7:00 to 9:00 AM she goes out picking “red toppers,” a kind of mushroom. “There are some that look like red toppers, but they have bumps (warts) on them. That’ll kill you quicker than any rattlesnake.”


Waln K. Brown 6/19/72 Susan Zosak

Many of the women who lived in Eckley, if they had no or very few children, worked in Freeland in the factories such as the Freeland Overall Company, Ikof’s Sports Wear, and a shirt company. Most of the women only did house work because most of the famlies had a great many children. ” To supplement the family income, the wife and all the children old enough to do some work would pick huckleberries to sell. They sold them to a “huckleberry man” who would sell them to large cities.

Coal was picked from the slate banks, thus saving the cost of buying coal. Gardens were tended in order to save the cost of vegetables. Cows and chickens were kept. The cow was used for the milk sold to others or used for the family table, and it was butchered and used in the winter for meat. The chickens were kept all year around for eggs and meat.

Clothes were hand-sewn, not bought at the store. The woman of the house would try to stay six to seven months ahead on her sewing. “In case the woman died, the man would have clothes for the children.”

“Hootch” (whiskey) was made and sold by some but very few in Eckley.


Denis Mercier 7/27/72 Susie Zoscak

Women, when feeding their families when times were tough, would wait until all had eaten to see if there would be any left for themselves. There usually was, but the women had “talked themselves out of being hungry.” They rationalized that the food was cold and picked-over anyway.

Susie claims that she could save ten dollars every two weeks from her husband’s bi-weekly paycheck. The paycheck varied in amount from forty to fifty dollars.

During the three six-months strikes, they never went hungry. There were always chickens to eat and milk from the cow to drink. Picking and selling huckleberries also kept a small flow of cash coming in if the “hard times” were in the summer months.

The salaries of the grade school teachers thirty years ago were forty dollars for one two-week pay period and fifty for the next period. The teachers “had to buy jobs.” Party affiliation was most important . Old-time patronage system was in full force even thirty years ago. Two to three hundred dollars was needed to “buy” a teaching job when the person wanted to start the teaching job. Should the teacher be, for example, a republican and the democrats got into power, he or she would have to make a ” peace offering” of up to one hundred dollars to keep his job! “Donations” to a political party of the above type were never published anywhere. Books were juggled to “erase” those fiscal irregularities. Many “common folk” suspected that the politicians pocketed the money.


Angela Varesano 7/28/72 Susan Zosak

Stewed onions were used to “soften” a cold and a blocked up chest by putting them between two cloth pieces and applying this to the chest.

For an infected or festered finger, flaxseed, about one tablespoon, is cooked with just enough water to make a paste. It is cooked just until it is soft and then bandaged on the finger with a cloth. For infected wounds babka or pig’s ears is used to “draw the pus out.” It is wrapped around or bandaged on with cloth.

For the heart boiled digitalis was used. Susan thought this was the stuff given to a lady’s cow when she thought it was bewitched and wouldn’t give much milk.

Bloody-blood or kerevawnyk (or kervavnik) is a ferny, green plant that is used to wrap around wounds to stop the bleeding. It is held there by cloth bandages.

Vranyusadlo or live forever is the leaves, wth the outer, thin skin peeled off, used on cuts that are “pussin’ ” to raw the pus. It was wrapped around and bandaged to the wound with cloth bandages.


Angela Varesano 8/1/73 Susan Zosak

On Friday she used to make “three-corners” (pirohi) and potato cakes eaten with soup, puree soup such as potato or vegetable. Halushki were made with cabbage or cottage cheese. Corn meal mush was also made and eaten with butter milk in an indentation or with browned butter on it.

Corn meal mush: Cook rice for one minute. Put corn meal in the pan and cook in cold water according to directions. When the meal is cooked, put it in with the rice and let it cook together slowly. SErve with buttermilk, plain milk, or browned butter.

Sour milk: When there was too much milk from the cow, her mother would put it in crocks with wooden lids, kept in the cellar. Let it stand for a week. It gets thick without adding anything. That would be sour milk, could mix it up and drink it. They used to fish out the lumps to eat with a fork. It could be put on the back of the stove and let stay for two days.

Canning tomatoes (in old days) Scald to make removal of skins easier, skin, cut up in fourths, put in a pot, and cook with spices till done. Put into hot glass jars which had been cleaned, immediately. Seal immediately with screw-on caps.

Pickles Cook cucumbers for a few minutes till they turn yellowish. Put in hot jars and put in liquid with spices. The liquid has salt, allspice, vinegar, and water (to taste). Put dill in the jars when the pickles are put in. Seal jars. Put in a boiler pan or canner for five minutes. Boil to make sure they seal. She used Mason jars at that time for all her canned goods.

Haluptki (stuffed cabbage): Use two pounds of both beef and pork hamburger meats. Cook partly a three-fourths cup of rice. Mix ride, meat, salt, a half of an onion grated, and two eggs. Use a head of cabbage and cook it partly. When cooked, cut every leaf from the core. Wrap the mixture in each leaf. Brown together a fourth pound of butter and a half cup of flour. First melt the butter; then add the flour slowly and stir while browning. Put one and a half or two cups of cold water into the mixture and let it come to a boil. Pour this over the filled cabbage in a pot and let it cook slowly and hour an a half to two hours. Halupki can also be made by cooking peeled or unpeeled fresh tomatoes and a cut-up onion with the stuffed cabbages until done. Also after putting the haluptki into a pot, a can of sauerkraut can be added with a cut-up onion.


Angela Varesano 8/1/72 Susan Zosak

Soup: Melt butter and add flour slowly. Brown. Put about three cups of water into it. Bring to a boil. Put in about four or five diced carrots, a diced onion, about three stalks of diced celery, a cup of beans, a half pound of raw, dried peas, a diced potato, and one or two ears of corn kernels. Salt to taste. Cook till the vegetables are done.

Potato soup: Dice eight potatoes. Cook in salted water till done. Stir one pint of sweet, heavy cream into a tablespoon of flour and then into the potatoes and water. Put it aside on the stove for a few minutes.

Huckleberry pie (crust): Two cups of flour, four tablespoons of Crisco Spry, six tablespoons of water, and a half teaspoon salt. Put salt in the flour and mix. Add and mix in Crisco with fingers so it forms pea-sized balls. Add water and mix with hands. Roll out on a floured board, sometimes rolled out on a piece of waxed paper with another piece on top. Put a quart of huckleberries in a bowl. Mix with about a half cup of sugar to taste, a half teaspoon cinnamon, two tablespoons of minute tapioca (Her mother used flour or cornstarch). Dot with butter. Put it on tip of the crust. Trim off dough to a half inch from the pan. Pinch edges to flute. Prick top with fork.

Creamed vegetable soup: Clean, cut up and boil vegetables: beans and potatoes. When the beans are almost done, put in a cup of potatoes and cook. For zaprashka brown a heaped tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of flour and mix with diced onions. Mix a cup or a half cup of sweet cream, or even milk, with a heaped tablespoon of flour. Pour into the cooked vegetables and water. Cook. This can be made with lettuce. Cut it up sliced thin and sprinlked with salt. Let stand. Squeeze out the water. Put it in a pot and pour zaprashka over it with enough boiling water to make a gravy. Beat flour up with a little cream so lumps don’t form. Put in enough milk or cream to make gravy, like soup. Cook. For a fast day it can be made as a clear soup without cream. It can also be made with potatoes, parsley, celery, and carrots boiled together or with peas and potatoes or with potatoes, celery and some cabbage.


4 Angelo Varesano 8/1/72 Susan Zosak

Pot lettuce: Cut lettuce up, salt and let stand. Squeeze out the water. Stir in melted butter with vinegar and water to taste. Her father would not eat raw lettuce. He thought it was “rabbits’ food”.

Raspberry jam”: Wash the berries and pick out the leaves. Put in a pan with one cup sugar to one cup berries. Boil for three to four minutes. Pour into jars that have been washed. Put the jars in the oven to get hot and sterilized. Seal.

Huckleberry and peach jam: One cup of berries, a bit less than one cup sugar, and some peaches with three peaches to one to two quarts of berries, depending on taste. Apples can also be added. Boil five minutes or so. Pour into hot jars and seal.

Anna Yenshaw (visiting)

One cup of sugar to one quart of berries and two level tablespoons of cornstarch is mixed in a bowl and put in a pot. She buys crust sticks now for use in pies. She used to make crust with lard. It is rubbed into the flour with hands to form a workable dough.

Sohotiz: A neighbor lady of Anna’s used to treat her son for waste-away by bathing him in water where she made pirohis. Susan used to bathe in water used for boiled potatoes or noodles for waste-away. Anna confirmed the use of resin and a herb “candle” which was blessed and brought from the church at Easter. Wintergreen oil is said to be made from teaberry leaves. It was rubbed into the legs and was good for rheumatism. Susan says that sasofras tea is “good for your stomach.” Chamomile was given to babies with a bit of sugar to cure colic. There’s a wild one and a good one. You can tell by the way it smells when you rub the plant between your hands. Boil it in water to make the tea. This is a “weed” tea.


7 Angela Varesano 8/10/72 Susan Zosak

In her family she, as the woman of the house, had to defer to the wishes of her husband. She could give him no argument at all, even if she was right on a point, or she was slapped by her husband. She says there was nothing for her, and other wives in similar positions, to do but keep quiet. There was no place to go, nowhere to work and support themselves if they left their husbands. “What was I to do, go do housework for some Jewish family? I’d rather work for my own family.” This refers to doing work for some of the richer families in Hazleton. She felt that she and other young girls, friends of hers, did not know what marriage was about when they got married. She didn’t know her husband would have such a temper because he acted very nice to her during their courtship. In the area of sex and the role of the wife, Susie said she was totally ignorant of this aspect of marriage when she married. “And did you know anything about sex when you were mrried?” “No. No, nothing at all.” ” Didn’t anyone tell you what it meant to be married?” “No, no one told me.” “Didn’t your mother tell you?” “No, she never told me. The old ladies of the house (sunts and grandmothers) didn’t say anything.” She mentioned that sometimes recently-married young girls would be talking about “what happened”, but that she never understood. The first time she found out about sex was on her wedding night. “And did you enjoy it?” “No I never enjoyed it. I had thirteen children by my husband, but I never enjoyed it. I don’t know. Some women do but I never did. But you pretend to enjoy it, you know you pretend for your husband. Otherwise he’d say, “What’s wrong with you, are you weak or something?” So you go along with it. But I never enjoyed it.” “But couldn’t you say you didn’t want to to you husband?’ ” No, you were married. What was you to do, send your husband to the whore house? You had to go along with him.” She mentioned that many times marriages were arranged by parents between people who had scarcely talked to each other. She herself married shortly after she started going out. She said she thought that she might wait a bit after she was proposed to because she was young and just started going to dances. But as she put it, “I was silly. I accepted it right away.” She said that an influence on her decision was the attitudes of the older women in her family, her mother and aunts, who said, “Well, you only may be asked once.” They considered the fact that he was a good man (a good provider) and that she should take the offer while she had the chance.


2 Angela Varesano 8/10/72 Susan Zosak

She said that the many children born to her was God’s will, which she accepted without any attempt to alter it. Specifically, she said she never used any devices to prevent children “any of those things”. ” I didnt know they had any in those days!” ” Oh, yes, they had some kind of metal thing.” ” What did it look like?” ” I don’t know. I never used it. I just heard some women talk about it.” She said that before the birth of each child, while she was carrying it, she always prayed to Jesus in Gethsemane (a picture of “The Agony in the Garden”) that if they would ever do anything bad that would damn their souls to hell; let them die instead of living. ‘ I always prayed, ‘Dear God, if they’re gonna do anything real bad that would damn their sould to hell, let them die. Dont let them live.


Unable to read most of the writing.….appears to be handwritten recipes.


(???????????) 6/5

Mrs. Zosak St. Joseph & St. Anthony – pray to them if loose something. (???????) in St. Anth. If loose something promise (?????????????????????)



6/6 Mushrooms : Finds food Mrs. Zosak

From 7 am – 9am, she goes out picking ” Red toppers”, a kind of mushroom. “There are some that look like “red toppers” but have bumps (marks) on them, that’l kill you quicker thatn any rattlesnake”.


SCHOOLS Susie Zosak #lll

Political Payoffs in School System in Luzerne Co.

$40 – 1 2wk Pay pd $50 – next 2 wk Pay pd : Grade School Teachers’ Salaries 30 yrs ago

“Had to buy jobs.” Party Affiliation most important. Old-time (??????) system in full force (??????) 30 yrs ago. 2 or $300 was amount to “Buy – a teaching job when a person wanted to start the teaching job. Should the teacher be (For example) a Republican and the Demos got in power, he or she would have to make a “Peace Offering” of up to $100.00 to keep his job!

“Donations” to a (???????) of the above type was never published anywhere. Books were jiggled to “erase” these fiscal irregularities. Many “common(???)” (???????) that politicians pocketed the money.






(?????????) MOTHERS’ (????????) 7/27/72




Fold remedies



(???????)beliefs (????????????). (???????????????????????)

A neighbor lady used to treat (?????????) for (??????????). away, by bathing in water (????????) she made pirohis.

Susie Zosak –

Used to bathe in water used for boiled potatoes, or noodles for (???????) – away.

Joan Yenshaw Confirmed use of resin & herb “candles”, which was blessed & brought from the church at Easter, as said by Mrs. Zosak (tapes interviewon 7/22).

Mrs. Yenshaw Wintergreen oil – said to be msde from teaberry leaves – was rubbed into the legs that was good for rheumatism.

Susan Zosak Sassafras tea was “good” for your stomach.”

(????????????????????????????????????????????) Chamomile – there’s a wild one & a good one – you can tell by the way it smells when you rub the plant between your hands. Boil in water to make tea, because this is a “weed” tea.



(????????), visiting Mrs. Zosak

1 cup sugar to 1qt berry (??????????) – 2 level tablespn. Mix in bowl & put in pan.

Crust Buys crust sticks now, for use in pies. She used to make crust with lard.

Susan Zosak Crust: Used to make with lard- you rub it into flour with hands, to form a workable dough.


Raspberry Jam

Wash berries & pick out leaves. Put in pan – add 1 cup sugar to 1 cup raspberries. Boil for 3-4 min. Pour into jars that have been washed. (Put in oven so they get hot & sterilixe them.) Seal jars.

Huckleberry & Peach Jam

1 cup berries, (????) less than 1 cup of sugar (???????) peaches

3 peaches to 1 quart or 2 qt. berries – depends on taste. (or put in apples. (cook (boil) 5 min. or so. Pour into hot jars & seal.


Pirohi [“3 corners”]

Make dough with flour & water. Knead good till no lumps of flour left. Roll out & cut in squares (3 sq. inches). Put filling in & overlap. Crimp edges with fork.

(DIAGRAM????) These are boiled till done by dropping them into boiling water.

Other fillings:

—Boiled potatoes, drained, & mashed. —Mashed potatoes with cheese (?????, cut in chunks), mashed into it. —Can put in poppy seeds – then you roll it. [Probably from one corner to the other.]

Lettuce (Hot lettuce) Cut up & salt. Let stand. Squeeze out water & put in butter (melted) (?????????) been heated in a pan & cooked, stirring. Put in vinegar & water, to taste.

(??????????) wouldn’t eat it raw – he thought raw lettuce was “rabbits’ food..”


Pea Soup

1/2 box split (1 lb of dry peas – cook with water & some potatoes. Make zaproshka, put in & cook

Take 2 eggs & beat up with a little water (1 tablespoon. ) Take flour in a bowl & add enough to make thick. Push it off dish it by spoonful into pea soup & cook it. Dumplings should be made from small pieces (pea size) of dough, it is pushed off side of bowl with spoon.

When there was a strike & there was lot of chickens killed – made stew chicken. Stew chicken (cut-up), add 1/2 tblsp. butter & some water & stew it. Cook with carrots, celery, parsley, potatoes. Add water. Put in dumplings. Or, can make dumplings in boiling water & add as serve.

(her own family, when she was married) They bought “peeps” & raised then for food.


Holy Supper


Mushroom Soup

Soak dry mushrooms in water. Wash in collander. Grind them up. Boil in water, when comes to boil, spill out water. Put more water in & add sauerkraut juice to taste & cook long time (1 hour or so). Make sure water doesn’t escape. Put in boiled wheat groats or rice – about 1/2 cup – to thicken it & give taste, cook this.

Make Zaprashka

Mother used to brown flour dry – with no butter – since it was a fast day and by tradition (Eastern Church Lent) no butter was allowed.

Supper included mashed potatoes with no butter or milk, & boiled sauerkraut. Add zaprashka to sauerkraut.


Can make without (?????????????????)- a clear soup – (That’s for a hot dog). Make with potatoes , add parsley, celery & carrots. Boil together.

Can make with peas & potatoes. [ie the flavor- giver] Main thing is the zaprashka to give it taste.

Can make potatoes with celery & some cabbage.

When zaprashka is partly brown, add onions in little bits.

Evidently the main flavor giver of these soups is not so much the vegetables (?????????) used, as the zaprashka mixture. The sources of flavor appear to be butter fat or oil or animal fat & creamer milk.


Susan Zosak (6/19/72) (????????) #101

Many of the women who lived in Eckley (if they had no or very few children) worked in Freeland in the factories – Freeland Overall Co., Ikof’s Sports Wear, and a shirt Company. Most of the women only did housework, most of the families had a great many children. To supplement the family income, the wife and all the children old enough to do some work, would pick huckleberries to sell (sold to a “Huckleberry man” who would sell the huckleberries to large cities), coal was picked from the slate banks (thus saving the cost of buying coal), gardens were tended in order to save the cost of vegetables, cows & chickens were kept (the cow was used for the milk – sold to others or used for the family table, the cow was butchered in the wintertime for meat) the chickens were kept all year around for eggs & for meat, clothes were hand-sewn – not bought at a store (the woman of the house would try & stay 6 to 7 months ahead on her sewing – “in case the woman died the man would have clothes made for the children), “hootch (whiskey) was made & sold by some, very few in Eckley,


A. Varesamo Susan Zosak Woman’s Role 8/10/72 3:20 – 5:00 pm sex & marriage

In her family, she – as the woman of the house – had to defer to the wishes of her husband. She could give him no argument at all, even if she was right on a point, or she was slapped by her husband. She says there was nothing for her (& other wives in similar positions) to (??????) keep quiet. There was no place to go, no where to work & support themselves if they left their husbands.

“What was I to do, go do housework for some Jewish family? I’d rather work for my own family.” This refers to doing work for some of the richer families in Hazleton.

She felt that she & other (???? young girls) did not know what marriage was about when they got married – She didn’t know her husband would have such a temper because during courtship, he acted very nice to her.

In the area of sex & the role of the wife in this, Susie said she was totally ignorent of this aspect of marriage when she married.

Angela “And did you know anything about sex when you were married?

Susie “No – no, nothing at all.”



“Didn’t anyone tell you what it meant to be married?” josie “No – no one told me.” A ” Didn’t your mother tell you?” Susie “No, she never told me. The older ladies at the house (aunts, grandmothers) didn’t say anything.”

She mentioned that sometimes girls (recently married young girls) would be talking about “what happened,” but that she never understood. The first time she found out about sex was on her wedding night. Angela “And did you enjoy it?” Susie “No – I never enjoyed it. I had 13 children by my husband, but I never enjoyed it. I don’t know – some women do – but I never did.

“But you pretend to enjoy it – you know – you pretend, for your husband. Otherwise he’d say “What’s wrong with you – are you weak or something?” So – you go along with it. But I never enjoyed it.”

Angela “But couldn’t you didn’t want to, to your husband? Susie “No – you were married.”



what was you to do – send your husband to the whore house? You had to go along with him. (ie, with his desires)

She mentioned that many times marriages were arranged by parents between people who had scarcely talked to each other. She herself married shortly after when started going out. She said she thought that she might wait a bit after she was proposed to, because she was young & just started going to dances. But, as she put it, “I was silly – I accepted it right away. She said that an influence on her decision was the attitudes of the older women in her family – her mother & aunts – who said ” Well you only may be asked once, who considered the fact that he appeared to be a good man & a good provider) and that she should take the offer while she had the chance.

attitude to She said that the many children born to her – was God’s will – children which she accepted, without any attempt to alter it…Specifically, she said [any of those she never used any devices to prevent children. things]

Angela “I didn’t know they had any in those days!”

Susie “Oh yes, they had – Some kind of —


metal thing”

A: “What did it look like?”

S: “I don’t know – never needed it – I just heard some women talk about it.”

She said that the priests tell you not to prevent “that” (ie, birth & conception), because it’s a sin, she held this attitude.

She said that before the birth of each child – while she was carrying it – she always prayed to Jesus in Gethsemane (a picture of “The Agony in the Garden”) that if they would ever do anything bad that would dome their souls to hell, let them die instead of living.”

“I always prayed, “Dear God, if they’re gonna do anything real bad that would dome their souls to hell, let them die. Don’t let them live.”


Angela Varesano (?????????????)

Susan Zosak 8/1/72 3:00 – 6:00 pm

Friday She used to make “3 – corners” [pirohi] on Fridays and potato cakes eaten with (???????????????????????????????), potato, vegetable. Haluski were made with cabbage or cottage cheese. Corn meal mush was also made, & eaten with buttermilk in an indentation, or could put browned butter in it.

Corn meal mush –

Cook rice 1 min. Put cornmeal in pan & cook according to directions, ie, in cold water. When meal is cooked put it into rice & let it cook together, cook slowly. Serve with buttermilk or milk or browned butter.

Sour Milk When there was too much milk from the cow, mother would take it & put it in crocks with wooden lids in the cellar. Let stand for a week. It would get thick without adding anything. That would be sour milk. Could mix it up & drink it. They used to take out lumps to eat with fork. Or could put on back of stove & let it stay for 2 days.


: Food preservation: canning

Canning in old days

Tomatoes * Scald, skin, cut up in fourths, put in pot & cook with spices till done. (?????) Put in hot glass jars immediately (jars had been cleaned). Seal immediately (ie, screw on caps.)

Pickles Cook cucumbers for few minutes till they’re turned yellowish. Put in hot jars & put in (?????????) liquid with spices – Liquid has salt, allspice, with sugar & water (to taste). Put dill in jars when you put in pickles. Seal jars. Put in [cooker] boiler pan for 5 min. boil to make sure they sealed. (???????????) jars at that time, for all her canned goods

*Scalding is done to make removal of skins easier.


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Halupki [stuffed cabbage]



Melt butter & add flour slowly. Brown

Put water into it – about 6 cups. Bring to a boil Put in diced carrots (4-5), onion (diced), celery (diced) [3 stalks], string beans cut up, (????) peas (raw, 1/2 lb.) (??????????????????????????????????????????????) Cook till vegetables got done.

Potato soup

Dice potatoes (????). Cook in (???????) till done. Take (?????????????) add 1 tablespoon of flour & stir in. Stir in cream. (???????) cooked potatoes & water. Put aside on stove for few min.

Huckleberry Pie Pie crust:

Flour (2 cups), (????) tablespoons (????/Spry 6 tablespoons water 1/2 tsp salt Put (???) in flour & mix. Add & mix (???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????) Add water & mix with hands. Roll out onto a floured board. Sometimes roll ou on 1 piece of wax paper with another piece on the top.


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Creamed vegetable soup

Clean + cut up Boil vegetables_ beans, potatoes – When beans almost done ) put in cut up potatoes & cook.

Zaprashka – Brown 1 tblsp heaped of butter with (???????????) flour & mix (???????) onion (diced). Take sweet cream & mix 1 cup in 1/2 cup (????milk) & mix it in milk (?????)flour 1 heaped tablespoon (???????????????????) vegetables & water – cook.

Can make with lettuce – Cut it up (sliced thin) & sprinkle with salt. Let stand. Squeeze out water. Put in pot & pour over it zaprashka with boiling water enough to make a gravy. Take flour & (?????) up with a little cream & breakup, so lumps don’t form. Put in enough milk or cream to make a gravy – like soup & cook.


Can make without cream – or (?????) soup (That’s for a hot dog). to make with potatoes: add potatoes, cellery & carrots. Boil together.

Can make with peas & potatoes. [ie ?????????????] Main thing is the zaprashka to give it a taste.

Can make potatoes with celery & some cabbage.


Contributions Message

Joanne Balay , Camille Westmont and Daryl Bojarcik