Alma McAllister, Amy Farges, and Lisa McAllister

Recorded May 14, 2006 Archived May 14, 2006 01:18:07
0:00 / 0:00
Id: GCT002812


Lisa (37) and Amy (51) interview their mother Alma (79) about her childhood in Youngstown, OH, meeting and falling in love with her husband, and their extended family.


  • Alma McAllister
  • Amy Farges
  • Lisa McAllister


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00:02 Okay, so I'm Lisa McAllister and I'm 37 and its May 14th 2006. We're at the Grand Central Station terminal and I'm here with my sister and we're talking to her mom.

00:16 Amy Sarge and I'm 50 today is May 14th, 2006 or a Grand Central and that's my mom.

00:30 And we also have clear here.

00:33 A little dolly belongs to Amy and Terry first and she has a big brother Julian was 12th, and he's happy. He doesn't have to be at the interview today or we're going to get the guys.

00:49 And

00:51 Did I give my name Alma McAllister age? 88 87-89

01:03 Au79. That's all right.

01:08 Members aren't my forte and it is May 14th, 2006 or Grand Central terminal in New York. And I am the mother of these two girls and Marnie grandmother to Claire. We also have four other children who don't have the joy of being with us today Dental Kountze a good thing cuz it's pretty crowded. We have Jan Pollard now who is in Boston living in New Jersey and we have Jim who lives in Salem, Massachusetts, Bob who lives in

01:55 San Rafael, California

01:58 Jen Jim Bob Amy, that's a Schroeder. So that's our family no pets and of course my my wonderful husband feel.

02:17 All right.

02:19 Start with questions that Jules wrote during mass are they are they are interesting. So he wants to know. How did you meet Papa? This is Grandpa 1 Sunday. I was at the swimming pool and I'll Youngstown Ohio where we lived with a friend Peggy Mahoney and she and her boyfriend Bill real was there with my future husband we go and I were introduced and some that Thursday on we were in love and we dated.

02:59 Met you know, we had to wait for about a year-and-a-half until we were married, but it was just a wonderful romance. Was that before the war or after this was after the war Bill had come Daddy had come home.

03:13 About two months before I met him and in that interim he signed up. He applied to University of California one of one of the universities of California and he was accepted but then

03:31 Without letting me know that he was even planning on going he cancel his reservation because he wanted to stay in, New Jersey.

03:42 So but since I go fight fires or something after the war, oh, well, I guess as he got up we was discharged California, and he just stayed there to sort of maybe.

03:55 Fill the gap between the horrors. He had been through and a normal peaceful life. He doesn't talk much about that affected you that he went through so many Horrors Amy. Of course, absolutely, of course cuz you have to always be his support right? I wasn't to support him and very selfishly. I am so grateful. I just know him then I think if I had I'd have written to him every single day and the tears he'll tell you if patient reviews.

04:34 Yeah, we ask that he started talking about that a couple years ago.

04:38 So we're going to beer back to later ground cuz it's Julian also wants to know what did you do on your birthday is when you were little.

04:45 Happy birthday parties. I remember my 13th very very well. I had two cousins visiting Grandpa Jacks brother's children from Indiana Indianapolis. I believe they were living in and they heard there was a birthday party. So they were dressed up in beautiful white frilly dresses only to find that the rest of us were in I guess your cousin sneakers that are sandals and shorts and tees because was in after a picnic there were thirteen of us mother 13 could be there cuz I was 13, sweetest when I was 16. I don't remember any special celebration, but when I was 13, I had it so what did you guys all have birthday parties?

05:44 Yeah, I know. It's so hard to remember. I think mother always made up a big thing of our birthdays. I know she did but I don't remember them.

05:55 Interesting cuz you made a big deal about our birthdays to his grandma like that like all those celebrations. Yeah, I think so, but she only had four or not 6:00. So there weren't quite as many his sense of humor was like Uncle Jack's fantastic fantastic and you know what, he would come up to me if we were just meeting somewhere. He does. He said you used to call me he say I just I just heard I just heard about this man and he fell on with this story and I said Oh Daddy, that's a horrible night serum. Look at his little papers. So he was like that make up a bad story about a pretend pretend story or someone. You never hear of any personal license. Oh, he did have a wonderful sense of humor. He used to read his birthday cards when I think you were ran with hummus.

06:55 And he he say dear Jack. You're the most wonderful person in the world and he'd really embellish it and make it fit make himself sound really good and all joking. Never knew who was the disciplinarian of the two.

07:10 Your mom and your dad wanted either way mother as up is a busy Homemaker might be with four children around things. Maybe not that important in the long run. But it out. Did you wash your face did you do this and daddy if the case became a little bit serious? That's what he would like Uncle dick, right? If you guys didn't know we were like you but dick did you was the baby and Lisa? You're the baby. Of course. You're bigger Sister Amy.

07:50 Got into some Mischief when she was a young adult.

07:54 At least you've never let up on your your ass what you seek out and and

08:01 Where you go? It's just bewildering to us. How did we let you slip through our fingers because Lisa had not made definite plans as to where to to go at one point after she graduated from Catholic U.

08:17 And a good friend of hers Linda Houston.

08:21 I plan on having so-and-so for a roommate in Arizona and all of a sudden could knock this roommate could not accept that position. So she asked Lisa and Lisa took off that Jay and she hasn't been back since from Arizona. What did you ever leave home or did you always live at home when I got married honey? 2000? I don't know why I was we were married in December and I was 20 and the previous July so but just wants to also know when you had jobs cuz you worked After High School, right?

09:06 Well, you see how I met daddy and you are 18 plans. Nothing was definite. I really would love to have gone to Art School.

09:17 At the University of Chicago or even to Ohio State where my cousin went but Daddy this is where he is serious side he

09:32 Call Ohio State of communist school, but the dentist but then I met Daddy and ask him in heaven. Then I met daddy and you know, I always thought about was Ben dead change from.

09:58 He's at finalized leaving school in California. So he

10:05 Put it is a truly asked if he could have a late start or something if Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, or he had gone for just a short time before before the war.

10:19 And because he'd be closer to to me. Yeah, but when just before we were married that semester he switch to Bowling Green State University because there was married housing there and he had gotten something lower than an a at case because he came home every weekend in a Bowling Green Tea couldn't

10:47 So can we talk more about Grandpa was he like at was he in the army ever Daddy was not at he was not drafted. That would have been World War. I know I don't know what the medical problem was. It was he was not able to go. Thank God, but then he just think that maybe girls shouldn't go to college or was it really? He didn't like Ohio State? Well, you know Lisa to Mother and Daddy I was awfully flippant.

11:16 And not not really down-to-earth the way Mary Lee who's two years younger than I was by her mother Grandma went to the hospital.

11:28 All when I was out of school that your end. She had a miscarriage and I didn't know it when you were 18. I didn't know it and Mary Lee was so responsible. She's the one who kept the household running and I was older than she by three years. So, you know, I was just I was just a child to them that you can give her an artsy girl, you know, you like to do to live in fantasy, I guess and create things and yeah, I didn't want to live in fantasy honey. I really like the player, you know, like when you're artistic you create Little Creatures. That's why you throw great parties and children have have

12:17 Following those footsteps. Yeah some better than others fully side route to diverge little when we first went to Arizona to visit you, honey.

12:26 Is your small apartment? Was it done or this little house that you right now? What are the two very small, but she had the coffee table was our dining table and you had flowers on it and candles and you had prepared the most wonderful fish dish and you got the recipe from Amy long-distance pretty much everything ever Kuts. I got the recipe from a question. They were all so different. I had two brothers. It was a year younger and Mary Lee came next and then dick.

13:11 And actually

13:14 UC having left home and married so early and not having gone back to that state at all. I just I just remember them as adults for the most part because we've had this fabulous years can get together since since then and I were never close we shared a bed and I really really hot nights. We would sprinkle water on it and if we were mad at one another we would draw with our fingers of the imaginary line down the bed earlier with Santa Catalina Avenue, there are visiting their yes, and they build a house there, but that was after they had lived another locations and then they had a rental house for a year some. Of time and

14:14 All My Siblings, I think we're he's on that at least a little bit know you see we just we just weren't we had a family and when we came home we would we would visit there.

14:27 So how did Papa get through the depression? Well all I knew of the depression than and I'm a little ashamed to say this maybe I was sheltered. I don't know but I know nothing about have no memories about their depression except one night at dinner. We were at the table in the dining room. And the phone was next to Daddy. They brought, you know, maybe it was there all the time on a window seat or something and it was something about daddy and work was very serious. And that's all I remember about the depression. Well one one thing was I remember one day.

15:13 Naive as I might have been mother took me to mckelvey's department store to the basement basement in a department store them a lower price merchandising and she bought me a suit. It was dark green plaid with red and yellow in it, and I can't remember now the price but she she put that money in that in as a necessity. So it may be so that we would know the depression. I don't know you really but I wasn't terribly old then you have them school lunches that in those days or the kids bring lunch to school. I don't think I ever took my lunch to school. Did you go home for lunch? I think so when I was at our Swim Academy, I walked home for lunch. Past the three child dogs would like me to death and sometimes I bring a friend home for lunch and then

16:07 During the Depression of might have been I don't remember we transfer to Saint Edward's school and that was fun to be a lot more kids and I think we came home from school for lunch then tooth. So I don't remember ever having taken my lunch and I went back to Earth than later and it was just a walk home. Like did you guys have helped?

16:33 Grandma had nuts. Well, we didn't call them servants, but we had Catherine's best living with this for many many years and she had been a Catholic Charities. She was someone who needed help you to work. So she lived with us and then I guess in return.

16:54 That started before, you know, quite a few years before we were in the house. I was in at that point with a big house and I'm helping Grandma and Grandpa Great your great-grandparents house and we all live there together at the time of the depression, I guess.

17:10 And that was a fella was fun. I had a wonderful childhood. Just what my grandfather bogenberger was so funny when Jimmy was born and had red hair Grandpa Vogel Burger would call him ready and Grandma vocab packet was more serious. Really German wonderful. Just wonderful day off the boat or was that Daddy and I went to Ellis Island and we couldn't find either of our family names of all day. They were born here to Sherman's right? So Grandma has parents came from her name was

17:59 Cresencia Sherman Vogel Burger

18:05 S c a r u e r m a n n o. Okay, that's a hard name to live with and so you lived with your maternal side of your family. And did you were their relatives on that side? Like did Grandma have brothers and sisters? She have a sister named Amy, right or Alma, that my mother. Yeah and Alma died when she was a little girl and we had Uncle lie to their three children ride Ali Ali briefly when he was quite old.

18:45 What happened to an artist? They didn't really Stay Together.

18:51 But they don't have kids. Oh, no. No they were to tell you about them.

19:04 There was enough. Was rampant. And of course there was no but the day it will they did have a vaccine enough for one person and it was between and Alma and me, I guess at that point and they gave it to me and now and now my car and died. Oh you make me wanna know honey. I don't feel guilty. No, that's what that was. God's plan. I'm sure wait a minute. I thought you were named after her because she already died when your sweetheart. I was older than cheap. You were older than Aunt Alma.

19:46 Is not Betty, you're still a lot of pictures on that collage I have in our bedroom of a mother than Alma. Yes, very young, but she was she was born.

20:03 Blake are you, Vogel burger right after me? Yes. Yes Grandma. It was like Jan. So Grandma had Mommy and then

20:14 Her mama had another baby. My grandmother had three children Mary Cecilia Lee and Alma. Okay, and then they named me after her.

20:30 But just because another generation.

20:33 And then where does sister lavena come into all this there two nuns one on either side of the family.

20:39 Daddy's Grandpa, Jack's family lived on the southside of Youngstown. That's bad side. Oh, no, no, very pretty. Leafy. Riley was so spiritual. They like we don't hear much about them. You don't ask maybe but every Sunday we would go there for dinner and and Grandma Riley had a heavy aluminum Pub aluminum pan. That was like a half moon and then the top of the move opened up and she had home fried potatoes and every Sunday night and it was so they were so delicious and make that recipe for you and she was the old love it. She was very

21:28 Petite and Grandpa Riley is very talk. And after she died and Grandma's parents died while Grandpa Riley moved in with Mother and Daddy, but I had left home by then know what did Grandpa Riley what a Grandpa's dad do for a living.

21:45 Oh honey, I don't have my grandfather or your dad's dad would never have any idea. I really don't because he was I never knew him to leave cuz it was the Sunday when we were there. Any we were kids, you know, and it was I don't remember either want ya grandpa will go Burger had stationary. He was up contractor and then I told he was working with him, but I don't remember Grandpa Riley honey. His father-in-law right sharp Lumber father-in-law. Oh no sharp Lumber Company was it had nothing to do with the family know? So what did he do? Not believe the grandpa do your dad. Well, I think it was a Salesman for lumber company out. He was a Salesman right you tell from the genes and our family.

22:43 That were sales people who is Jimmy, you know that he's with people yell and liked. Oh, yeah, you know a lot of these. Oh, I know what it was the night the Sunday night at dinner when he was called to the phone.

22:58 I think that he was told that night he had to go and commission and during the Depression and he carried asbestos wasn't helping in his car and he died of lung cancer and I am positive. It was due to the asbestos that he carried in his car here to smoke a pipe tell ya when he died. I was 13 and I warned him a hard again through a great car that you made from high school.

23:35 Grandpa he you you very well. I thought I was a little older than that. He used to put put you lie on the floor and put his feet up and put you out of it. It was so much fun. You email that was funny where did red hair come from sink daddy's side of the family the O'Neills?

23:59 Hey, what's that lady? And what's her name? How do you always talked about or cousin who had red hair Aunt Rita have red hair the O'Neal's dad.

24:13 Aunt somebody so back to your life and yes, I'm sorry, you have pets know but once in awhile, we would sort of one would appear on the screened in porch in the back. So you had a yard. You didn't seem like in a city setting. Oh sweetheart. No, no, not at all. The artists way. It was most house. I think if I can back mother loved to Garden she loved it flowers or vegetables or well flowers. We always had beautiful flowers.

24:50 Did you have a porch swing?

24:54 Do we have a Port Arthur pictures honey? Did you have a porch and then and then well back porch and on Catalina Avenue, don't you remember the back porch? I do I was never that. I remember that applied or after just before Daddy got sick face. They said that has a move to in the park with which is the best thing that could have happened because Daddy got sick that mother had a lot of friends till we're moving up to those apartments to I only know that it was our neighbor Grandma's neighbor, you know, I was not home or even near home during those years. I think you you kiss might have been with Grandma and you I mean, I I know the person I can think at Merle Saturday Burrell. Yes who made the matzo ball soup, maybe yeah, but you know, I

25:54 So many people were in our lives than with with your children. Don't forget we lifted Michigan State at

26:02 My life is centered there. What was the hardest part about living in a trailer? Basically with all of my heart Christian was there no bathrooms, no running water. So when we were just married, but you know, we were just married we didn't care about it. Then neighbor helped Daddy put in water and then the we went down the road to the bathhouse until did all the laundry down there. No Pampers, then I have four then then we respecting Jimmy. So we moved.

26:45 Age Michigan State and we were in another trailer a bigger trailer for rooms for a month and then we got into a Barracks apartment. And that was the measure of all Mansion bedroom living room with a pot belly stove. Is that the heat so I painted the wall behind the red and white ruffled curtains. I'll never forget that that was Daddy was so wonderful. He would stay home and Saturday, even though he had to study and he would take care of Jen and then gym and then Bob we got our first phone when Bobby was born in the barracks to a Barracks with two bedrooms.

27:31 Army barracks in all of our utilities and rent were like $10 a month because they were returning veterans hats or what does a quonset hut was As Nice really know what was the inside walls like I do either full or maybe the floor. I don't know sometime or maybe I'm sure scrub yourself a bathroom though real bathroom. You don't realize until you don't have something then maybe it was hard to tell you know when you're in love you don't care. So was that like a lot of people in that Circle?

28:16 Oh returning veterans from World War II and everybody went back to school and live there all those houses. Don't forget. There was no tuition raise them because

28:30 Thanks to her and books and all I'm sure we're free feet fees and we got to go to all the football games. We took Jan sometimes we put the first ball game in Michigan State. They had a huge stadium and we put her in her first snowsuit.

28:52 And she just stood there like it's regimented Soldier. She didn't move and then mother and my parents and an owner knuckle George. They're good. First came to the football game that day remember which day I remember leonin George member them with their where did you guys have cars back in those days? We got our first car when Bobby was born deaf people have cars. I can remember my grandparents having a car show really real and they take you out for a drive sometime. I don't remember that at all, honey. I don't think the car has won more than 5 miles and I would break down or something. You know, how did you ever ride horses? Didn't you used to go out to the country and the weekend then when Grandma and Grandpa lost their house during the Depression and we were living in it. Where did we go get your grandma and grandpa?

29:52 Was a builder and he just gave everything away. He was so given kind of all the burger and just so he was you know, their ancestors were from Up.

30:08 The black forest in Germany and that's an area of light-hearted people mostly Catholic people and

30:19 And that's just the way I remember them.

30:23 So in when they lost their house then did you go out to that farm? Yes. I just I don't know how these things that could but we were they were on the honor Farm a little hard for grandma because she wasn't used to that but she needs it was a wonderful Baker and cook your grandma.

30:42 I think I might be running shortly have 10 more minutes. What else do you want to know Claire you have any questions for Morty?

30:51 Nothing little doll felt bad. I want to know about when you lived in the country. Did you have to just live in your country? I never I just visited them for like a week or two in the summer. Are you already married? Oh, so Grandma and Grandpa moved to the farm, but you guys didn't write 100 and play with the animals. You know how I love Barnyard animals now and I ain't as good as I love being on a farm right now, you know, I'd love to be in the haystack and I love it. So you don't have to get up a milk the cows and stuff, but I helped I watched collected the eggs.

31:38 Did you learn to cook from your mom?

31:43 Well, I asked I said I wasn't very domestic Grandma your your grandmother was a wonderful cook.

31:50 And so is Grandma Mac, but I just dunno I remember that anything that wasn't my face while you sure did a lot of it every meal for a long time. Did you ever entering our contest an art contest is no honey, cuz I stopped painting then when I finished high school and I didn't paid until these before lease-up is born before you were born. I know I was busy. Yeah, don't forget and and Lisa you would go with me to paint dries out of three of us move our house and they adored you. We need lawyer just loved you so much now is that this was at like the first friend you ever had that weren't connected to your kids.

32:39 What are you we've been married for two years then? Oh, no, I have friends all those years. That wasn't most people like Friends new in the neighborhood or something like that. I'll probably but we keep in touch with the best friends from different places. We live from Pittsburgh and we keep in touch with which one of the places you've lived. All these years was your favorite now.

33:08 Well, it has everything we want to know. We've been there almost 45 years. We celebrate at that date always Lisa was born the day before and then we start celebrating her birthday.

33:26 What did you miss about Youngstown you moved away. We were in love just so much in love. We see my parents thought I was much too young and naive to get married. So they went to and Ona Leona and my grandmother will go burger and father to cause I think his name was done at the Cathedral and they all talk to my parents and said this is a true, you know this marriage will last so so they all came to the wedding. So you said the story right? You were out on the porch or something and they were in there having a discussion about your future. Right? Well, they bother you that I was getting Daddy and I were getting serious.

34:13 So they say they love built Daddy, but they said I was just so young and naive shouldn't tell you kids that. Are you feel you have the excuse to

34:24 Hey everybody. It worked out great workout for many many years later. I never realized that you that it was such a perfect marriage and that was a lovely lovely compliment. He said I never would have given you a bedtime of that. Did you ever have like a little lamb like a blankie or anything that you kept for a very long time? No a little there a couple of my children to it. Okay to give imaginary friends when you were little know a couple of our children.

35:07 I guess that's a no. We haven't talked about daddy and his parents and so forth, but he can tell you all that. They were wonderful people on Father's Day.

35:18 Thanks gals for being in there and Claire. Yeah is a quiet little lady. Okay, what else? I want to know what you guys used to do after school.

35:37 Like I said, I'd come home and I would I would get on the do I will we would walk up to a delis? No, not then but we would walk to the deli and the gal sweet potato chips to coat that I would get ice cream and I came home and call Mary Virginia Mitchell on the telephone friend, but you didn't go to school together or you didn't know she didn't eat her and had kids from all over town so that you could just walk home from something like summer hours. Now you are at you at all those nuns that we are teachers right at Ursuline where they really strict and stuff. I mean daddy says he can remember the whip you never handle it, but I don't I don't think he got it. You know, I think he just likes to tease about that know they were I like so much time I did.

36:37 My art teacher mother Charles she was an angel and I'm beautiful day. She would let us go outside and page or if you had a cold your sheets. Are you just take it easy during this. That's some right people with their little things make a big difference in the world. What's your favorite teacher of all time really? Are there any other grown-ups in your life that you would like to remember? You know that I'm always stuck in your mind my family Maryville Griffis who was bridesmaid nasty. Honestly, it was a bridesmaid and

37:17 Play Mase. I'm not I don't see them. Keep in touch with just one path Joyce was another great one and

37:28 The people we've lived in different place. We're still friends with people from Pittsburgh for our neighbors are next door. Neighbor's Julie and Joe and Peggy Wells across the street and we still communicate of Christmas.

37:43 And of course the grassland in jail, when you when you have to limit your area of doing things socially with friends, it sums hit or miss her and some anything. You've never told us before I think you know, we put God first always when we were married. We said there were three in our marriage Daddy and me and God and we decide to live life take time to smell the flowers and we have we have we don't like a lot of things most people today feel or so important, right but like the simple things we love our family. Most of all my goodness our extended family this little one in Julian and and all of our others

38:40 Set a wonderful Mother's Day. Yeah, but thanks for doing this with us. Thanks. Mommy. Thanks for being our children. Email address. Thank you. That's right. Take a shopping. Okay, this was fun.