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Buzzerio, John

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At the age of 13 I moved to Bethpage, on August 14, 1938, with my family. How I cried to return to L. I. City, because this was the sticks. After making a lot of friends I got use to the nice quiet country life.

My area was called Hollywood (Sherman Avenue), and consisted mostly of Italian families, such as, Curcio's, Rozzi's, Campagne's, Maio's, DeSimone's, Ratto's, Sisia's, Agiesta's, Mauro's, Capiloni's and others I can't remember. At one time we had 2 grocery stores (Sisia's and Agiesta's). Major shopping was done in Hicksville. Those who had telephones were on party lines and every so often we would listen in.

Most of us worked on farms or caddied at Bethpage State Park to help our families. My dad raised chickens and rabbits, and grew our own vegetables. Bottling tomatoes was a family treat where everybody pitched in.

We walked to school (Powell Avenue), rain, snow etc. We took short cuts and one took us through what is now the King Kullen area, ending up by Mrs. Dunton's house.

We had school buses going to high school in Farmingdale, where we had to wait at Sherman Avenue and Stewart Avenue, again, rain, snow etc. The bus company was run by the Benkert family. If we missed the bus from high school we had to walk home. Most of the time we hitched hiked a ride. Our bus riding friends included students from Sweedtown (area opposite the Briarcliff College), including Jack Risolo, who still has his fuel oil business at the same location on Stewart Avenue. Families in that area were Moody's, Swenson, Noble's, McGinty's, Skellington, and others.

Of course, World War II came and a lot of us went to work at Grumman or Republic and don't forget Liberty or Ranger. I worked at Grumman for 8 months prior to entering the Marine Corps. My close and good friend, the late George Mancuso, and I left on the same day for boot camp on the same day my dad started to work in Grumman and we said our good-byes at the Grumman Station by Plant #3.

While on the troop ship going over seas I was surprise to learn there was another Bethpagian on board, the late Rudy Vitale. Rudy was doing duty as a sea-bee butcher.

The best memory was my discharge from Great Lakes, Ill. and I was on my way home. I waited for a train at Jamaica which would stop at South Farmingdale at 5:20 AM. I figured I would hitch a ride from there to home. The conductor, a Navy veteran, helped me out by pulling the cord to stop the train in Bethpage. Mr. Mike Greco was the gate keeper at the Broadway crossing and he wondered why the train made an unscheduled stop. He didn't know it was me until I walked up to him with tears in my eyes. We shook hands and I gave him a hug. He said with his Italian accent "go homa you familia waita fo you. Godda Blessa you boysa".

This information is from the CPHS NEWSLETTER, July, 1999

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