Philly in the 1950s

Our family moved from South Philly in 1955. We had lived in an Italian neighborhood with lots of my Dad’s brothers and sisters and their families living around us. Once my Dad was murdered, we moved to be safer.

We went to an Irish neighborhood in southwest Philly. This made us feel out of place because, at that time, many Irish people didn’t especially care for Italian people. In the beginning, it wasn’t a very friendly place to be for a single woman moving into the neighborhood with 12 kids and no man. One woman—who will remain nameless here—let herself into our house with the previous owners’ keys, peppered my mother with rude questions, and never even asked my mother her name!

We were all still adjusting to losing our father and Mom was adjusting to losing her husband. Now we had to adjust to changes in our lifestyle and environment, too. However, as I wrote in Love & Loyalty, “my mother had our lives under control. She would guide us to be good, honest, and trustworthy people. I felt safe knowing that my mom would protect me from harm. Now I could feel secure in my being because I had the most powerful lady by my side.”

If you had a move to a new neighborhood or other difficult situation in your childhood, who helped you adjust? What did you learn?

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