Chapter Six


    By the 1940s, the United States was becoming the arsenal of Europe. Adolph Hitler and Germany were at war with England and had taken France. President Franklin Roosevelt had signed the Lend Lease Act that was passed by Congress and millions of tons of supplies were being shipped to Great Britain.

    In the Carrocci family, Peter was working in the steel mill in Beach Bottom, West Virginia. All his children were living at home on Adams Street except Benny. Benny was driving a city bus in Steubenville. He was living in Mingo Jct. with his wife, Lucy Taravella, and two daughters Roseanne and Nancy. Roseanne was born January 18th, 1938 and Nancy on March 25th, 1941. In this picture are Lucy and Benny seated and Roseanna on the left with Nancy in the back.

    Benny never spent any time in the military. He was exempt from the draft after the United State’s entry into WWII, because he was married with two children.

    I have many fond memories of the Benny Carroccis living in Mingo Jct. In the early 40s I would spend weekends with them, playing with Roseanne and Nancy.

   Here I am with another one of our mutts. This one was Princey. He looks like a coyote.

   Lucy’s mother and father lived a short distance away from Benny and Lucy and we spent many afternoons there having lunch. I remember one time in particular when Mrs. Taravella was serving some collard-like greens, which in dialect are called minesta. Well, I wasn’t going to have any part of those sour tasting greens and turned up my nose. Mrs. Taravella said to me, “Mangi la minesta o porto la finestra.” I used to understand lot more of that old dialect than I would let on, and as the story goes, I got up from the table, when to the window and looked out. It seemed like a long way down, so I went back to the table, sat down and ate the minesta. What Mrs. Taravella said was “eat the greens or I’ll throw you out of the window.” It’s a story I heard many, many times over the years.      

Mary Basil got married in the early 40s. In this picture there is her new husband, Carl Patron of Canton, Ohio, on the right. Mary is standing next to him. Anna is next and on the left was our boarder, Angelo Carpino. That’s me standing in front.


    Mary and Carl Patron moved to Canton where Carl worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a mechanic Carl had a daughter, Isabel, by a previous marriage. Mary gave birth to Carl Patron Jr. in about 1945.

   Joe, shown here in a 1949 photo with his daughter Candy, had graduated from Catholic Central High School after having played football. He soon began working at the Pittsburg-Wheeling Steel Mill in Steubenville as a laborer. Joe said he worked like an animal during this time. I can remember him eating a dozen eggs, bacon and several pieces of toasted homemade bread before heading off to work. He would also take a half-dozen big sandwiches for his lunch. One can just imagine the calories he must have burned up during his work shift.

   Joe married Delores Montibello on July 17, 1943 at St. Anthony’s Church in Steubenville. Delores, or Dodo as she was nicknamed, is shown here with Peter Carrocci, Joe and Candice.   

   Joseph Anthony served in the U.S. Navy during the war, but he never told me much about his experiences. I do know that he injured his back while in the Navy and received a medical discharge. He returned to work at the Pittsburg-Wheeling Steel Company until his retirement. Joe had worked his way up to the top job at the mill, a roller in the 80-inch mill. I remember him telling me one time that he was the first Italian-American to get a top job: they were usually reserved for men of English descent.

   Julius Carrocci went into the Army Air Corps shortly after the start of the Second World War.

   He is shown here in a picture with Anna and Peter taken when he was home on leave. Julie was stationed in Gainesville, Florida where he was trained as a military policeman.

   Julie was stationed in the Pacific Theater during the war, more specifically on the conquered Japanese island of Okinawa. He told me once that he had one detail where he had to guard a garbage truck on its way to a dump. He said there was a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on the top of the cab of the big truck. It seems Japanese civilians were so hungry that they would scour through the dump looking for food. It was a pitiful situation.


   Julie married Virginia Scott of Shadyside, Ohio. Virginia was born July 30th, 1924. Their first daughter, Signa Jean, was born January 15th, 1946. After his hitch in the service, Julius went to work at Wheeling-Pittsburg Steel Company in Steubenville as a machinist.

    Virginia, baby Signa Jean and Julie lived at the family home on Adams Street for a short time. Eventually, they bought a lot in Wintersville, Ohio and built a home. In the picture above are Julie, Signa and Virginia seated and brother Larry with Rosie Bevalaqua standing behind. Rosie Bevalaqua was a good friend of Theresa Ann Carrocci.

    About that house in Wintersville, Julie first built the basement in which he lived for a time. Then his brother Bugs would come out on his days off and lay the bricks for the upper floor. In driving by the house one day, Bugs said that he laid every brick in the house.

   Dominic James, shown here, spent the early 40s going to school and hanging out with his buddies. Bugs, as he was known all over town, quit school in the 10th grade and got a job at the Nehi Bottling Company in Steubenville. Things were great until Anna Carrocci found out. It seems a teacher asked mama why Bugs wasn’t in school. She packed his clothes and left them on the back porch for when he came home. It wasn’t long before he sweet-talked her into letting him back in the house, even if he did have to start paying rent.

    With the war going full bore in 1943, Bugs soon got a better job at the Timpkin Roller Bearing Company in Canton, Ohio, where he lived with sister Mary. Bugs said he worked long hours but made good money, some of which he sent home to the folks. That job, however, didn’t last very long.

   Bugs was drafted into the Army for the duration of the war in 1945. He went to Gainesville, Florida after basic training and learned to be a Military Policeman, just as his brother Julie before him. Bugs even stayed with the same family that Julius stayed with in Gainesville.

    The war ended before Bugs was sent overseas. He was stationed at the army base in Lavorno, Italy. While in Italy, Bugs managed to see quite a few sights, such as Lido Island, a resort area near Venice. He also made stops in Cortino, Italy and Geneva, Switzerland. He always talked fondly of this part of his service life and he was considered a World War Two veteran.

   Back in Steubenville in 1948, Bugs went to work at the Rex Cigar Store as a dealer. He dealt the wheel, blackjack, poker and craps. It wasn’t long before he went to work for Jimmie “The Greek” Snyder. Bugs had a knack for making odds, a talent needed by The Greek.

    That’s when he met Helen Mininni, shown here sitting between Bugs and his father. It was her father who made a deal with Bugs. Frank Mininni told Bugs could marry Helen if he quit the gambling business. He did and they did on March 4th 1950.

    Bugs went to work for a construction company for awhile and then got on at the Steel Mill in Steubenville. While he was working for the construction company his godfather Jimmy Tripoti asked why he quit working in the gambling joint that Tripoti controlled. He wanted Bugs to go back to work for him. Bugs told him no and didn’t tell him why. Jimmy Tripoti wouldn’t talk to Bugs for years. One day he found out why, that Bugs had made a promise to Helen’s father, and Compare Jimmy hugged Bugs and praised him for being an honorable man by keeping his promise.

   This is a picture of Jimmy Tripoti taken in August of 1978.From left to right it shows Joe Carrocci, Bugs, brother Larry behind, cousin Larry Carrocci in the back middle, I’m standing behind Aunt Selma. In the center are Jimmy and May Tripoti. Aunt Selma is on the right and Benny Carrocci in front.


  On November 13, 1945 Peter Carrocci became Naturalized Citizen of the United States. This was something of which he was very proud. Just think of the accomplishment. He came to a new country, learned to read and write the language and made a success of himself by all the standards of his former country. Yes, there were a lot of bumps in the road and a lot more were to come, but for the moment he certainly could call himself a success.

   Anna never did become a U.S. citizen. She had to register as an alien, which she did on this occasion on February 26. 1942. Being a registered alien during wartime meant certain restrictions. They limited travel, carrying firearms, ammunition, radios, and cameras and had to give written notice of change of name, residence, or place of employment. Anna didn’t travel very much, maybe a trip to Canton, Ohio to visit Mary or to Mingo to visit Benny, Lucy and the girls. Mostly she stayed in Steubenville and visited old friends close by. She would walk down Adams Street to the little store on the corner of 9th and Adams. Sometimes she would walk down to 8th street to visit friends.

   The one thing that being a registered alien allowed was for Anna to have a green card, and here it is. The green card proved that she was a legal resident of the United States.

   It would also allow her to work, if she had to. The day would come when she did have to go to work outside the home, but for the time being Anna was happy with her status in the U.S.

    Larry Martin was a typical Carrocci boy. Lots of rough and tumble in the neighborhood. I can remember a game he used to play with his buddies. It was called “strong horse”. One guy would stand up against a power pole and several others would bend over forming a horse. The other guys would start jumping on their backs to see how many they could hold. The team which held the most guys won.

    Lala, as Larry was called in the family, played football for Steubenville High School. He did very well for Big Red. After graduating from high school Larry enlisted in the Navy and went to boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

   Here’s our sailor in the picture at right with three of his buddies. There’s no doubt who the Carrocci is in this picture. After his stint in the Navy, Larry came back to Steubenville and got a job at the mill working 3 to 11 pm. He also started going to school during the mornings.

   During this time, Bugs and Larry would share a room with their little brother, me. The big boys shared a double bed while I had a smaller twin bed. In those days there was just an exposed set of springs with a mattress on top. Bugs was the smaller of the two and always complained because he would roll into the middle of the bed and Larry would roll on top of him.

    Theresa and I called Larry “The Volcano”, during the time he was working and going to school. Larry would study in the dining room and if we made any noise he would erupt. I can still hear him hollering at us to keep quiet. It’s hard to keep a couple of teenagers from making noise.

    Brother Larry was a good student as well as a good worker. He left Steubenville and went to Finn College in Cleveland for awhile. He eventually ended up at Ohio State University, where he graduated in 1955 with a degree in industrial engineering. He was the only one of the Peter Carrocci children to get a full college education. We were all very proud of him.

   Theresa Ann managed very well growing up in a household full of boys. She was a helping hand to both Anna and Mary, doing laundry, assisting in the changing of beds, and setting tables and doing dishes. She, like the rest of the family had chores to do.

She always seemed to have a circle of girlfriends around her and was busy with school and after school activities. She was especially attentive to me. She always watched out for me until the day I convinced her that she could fly and talked her into jumping off of a shed roof in the back yard. After her broken arm healed she was less inclined to take such good care of me. In fact, she would tie me to a tree or a power pole to keep me from chasing after her.

   One of the things she did do with me was dance.  We used to go to Washington Elementary School at the bottom of Adams Street for after school record hops. We both became good dancers and kept up the practice into our teens. The move to Tucson changed everything, and that’s the next chapter. For sure, there was a lot less dancing and lot more work.


   Being the last of the Carrocci children, I had a lot of older people around me telling me what to do. An older brother getting me to go out and hunt for cigarette butts so he could get the tobacco out and roll new cigarettes. That was for brother Bugs and his buddies who had a small clubhouse in the Scipio garage next door. They used to let me hang around once in awhile and I thought that was cool. The picture at right is with Theresa and Isabel Patron.  

    There was a whole neighborhood to run around in. Friends on Edgar Avenue, which was halfway down the Adams Street hill, and singing in the Washington Elementary School chorus.

    One of the best times was playing ball. The kids would take a rolled up newspaper and use it as a football. We would play tackle ball on the street. We’d also play baseball in the lot at the Colored Recreation Center. All the baseballs we used were wrapped with black electricians tape. No one could afford a new baseball.

    One of the dramatic things that happened in the 1940s was my rebellion with the Jehovah’s Witness religion. Peter Carrocci, while not exactly a religious fanatic, was very adamant about making sure I attended all the activities of church. This I did until I was about eight years old. By then, I had joined the Boy Scouts at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church along with a few of my friends and Father Rector, the parish priest at the time, wanted me to be an altar boy. That sounded like a good idea to me and I told pop that I didn’t want to go to the Jehovah’s Witness services any longer.

    This is Peter Carrocci’s Jehovah’s Witness group. Anna is number two. I’m number four. It is one the last times I was with the group.

    The battle between father and son was joined. Peter would drag me to the meetings, clutching my wrist in one hand and his books in the other. If no one was going in the door at the same time, Pop would sometimes let go of my wrist to open the door. I would run across the street and climb over a chain-link fence to get away. I would then turn around and look at pop, knowing that I would later get a severe beating when he next caught up to me. This went on for several weeks until Peter finally gave up.

    There was a lot of animosity between father and son; a hatred that didn’t go away for many years. We were two very stubborn people. One tough man who came to a new country, learned a new language, taught himself to read and write and who made a success of himself. And at the time I was one tough street kid who was used to harsh treatment both at home and in the neighborhood. Change, however, was just around the corner.