DescriptionStephen and Barbara interview Stephen’s father, Andy, about returning to America from Hungary, his first jobs, and his wife, Mary.
- Andy Lakatos
- Stephen Lakatos
- Barbara Lakatos
- Andrew Lakatos
- Andy Varga
- anecdotes (humorous but true stories)
- craft, skills, and procedures
- Edward Lakatos
- Family reunions
- Family Traditions
- first impression of America
- General Patton
- Great Depression stories
- John Szabota
- Mary Nagy Lakatos
- memories of growing up
- personal experiences
- religious beliefs and practices
- Steve Toth
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00:04 Hi, my name is Steve lakatos. I'm 48 today is April 19th 2007. We're here in Hartford, Connecticut. And today I've got the Grateful of its privileges interviewing both of my father Andy Licata sand next to me. I have my my wife Barbara. My name is Barbara choir. Licata's my age is 45 today is April 19th 2007 where in Hartford Connecticut with my fabulous father-in-law and Ela caedus and my husband Steve located.
00:39 Okay, Indila, Cato's of my age 90 years old. I'm here with the my son and my daughter at Lowe's in Hartford. Connecticut. Very good dad. Let's start off. Give me some information about you where you were born and just start from their talk a little bit about your mom and dad. I was born 1917.
01:09 March 11th
01:14 And I'll call mine and my father was a coal mine are in the coal mine place if they call them Puritan, Pennsylvania, my father working a coal mine 15 years my mother have.
01:29 Aboard at 5. How about the company has a big cars and my mother have a lot of border each other sometime 628 even more once in a while and she served MP3 ship that might have three shifts a make that dinner for them that takes two or three times a day for all put our mind for the guys. Who was you know, how long did your dad work in the coal mine, Pennsylvania 18 years, then he went back to hungry. And how old are you at that time? I have a spot for 4 and 1/2. Okay. So you went back to Hungry your dad took the money he earned and it was able to add to or buy a farm in. Yes, and what they called them had not cared that.
02:29 Revere Bank, like in English and what do you remember about? What are some of your first memories of growing up there on the farm kind of work you did and all the farm we have or carnivore animals Cow Horse chicken goes everything and my mother take care of pigs and a my mother take care of all of this Animals by herself and my father worked on a farm. I've asked you already I was used to take out the goose for the field for feeding. I was five years old, but I was working already and how many acres was I don't know about 48, but that's all first class Loom that we have 48 can you can find a piece of stone in a whole 48 code black room. I remember Story Once you told me about a gathering potatoes and going to Misha Colts by-and-by horse-drawn cart.
03:29 4 time you dig that out. What day does solder I can write on a farm put him in a carriage and we direct them to the market for 30 30 km. That's about 25 mile. We almost beat the horse and buggy to call most likely to hit me about 6 in the morning 11 at night relief and yeah go to 6 in the morning because they they was a heavy load for the horse. We just go, you know, you can book that fence and how long will it take to sell the potatoes and how much money do you have to water? The valve is Sal de patatas because a lot of people they have Lily Sullivan pulling in a salad a boat up like you no fee for bags and a hundred fifty pound.
04:19 And now even be sad them to have a good dinner ideas with pork and sausage and everything then they have a coal. Mine Dad. We got the whole cat each other how much we can carry home again call for a vent Air heating. So both leave. Our poor horses was working both ways. They get to that 10-second potato two of the bunch. Of course once a year do that one, two three trips, but they think they can call once a year that was enough for me to tell him. You know, when did you go to school and hungry? Yeah. I finished school in hungry. I remember you have my teacher's name of old man balls of my cycling.
05:19 Teacher she come from up very high class family. Your family belonged to highest class was in the hungry as a nation and she never tell the people in this more time, but I do know that the Ivan declutter time to visit and I find the family name in a big castle Davis name double family. And that was my second second Krusty dancing lessons it again you came from very poor very poor dirt dirt farm. I mean mutt adobe houses with slate roofs, but then you went to school up to what age are what what grade I finished that going to school then I have three years.
06:19 Like High School in okay, but wasn't that big event? Like we have it in the yard estate the three-year High School little bit behind with this kind of education, but my grandchildren getting today now you work now if you were poor Farmers, what surprised me is that you your mom and dad let you take some dance lessons that I drove my father motel and they don't have it to give it to me.
06:56 Tell me about what was it like for your when you your dad and mom and dad finally decided to that you had to come to America and why that was I was 10 12 years old. I was American citizen and I was planning to come back cuz I don't know what they're putting of my church up to 16 year old on most days, but I know please like me very much and take them to my parents tonight bizaardvark 13 if they considered send me to the priesthood only one guy from the whole time. He see I'm unfit for the police food. But then my Father's Day land values does ND says he keep letting go ready. He is only 12 13 he going back to the United States. He wants to go back but the main reason was because of the
07:55 Revolution in the war correctly again. I know that the hungry or love us that time over they everybody have to go to the one with two year does drafting there. Was that time in today same thing.
08:13 And not if I hit the 21 it take me and if I swear it up to the Hungarian army, they don't let me out of the country again to come back. I never lose American citizenship if I come back here, but I have to do you have to let me out.
08:32 So I didn't want to go but we know too far so I I was 19. I left the country already cuz I don't want to even 2021 to come back. I don't want to go to sleep. So your new Mom and Dad how to save up how much money they give you tell me the weather was the great story about that. They gave you some money you again, who did you come over with and that you got robbed before you hit the ball out of Envy. We went to Budapest. Budapest to go to French get the boat and Bun Budapest. We have to go to a concert at then. Somebody was next to me and says, I have a small romantic. Of a small Bill not big Beauty says if you make a big deal out of it that's worth more when I was a smaller house more time kid, we believe and it took a few dollars for me and you never come back to see how many dollars do you have originally do you think?
09:32 I have a couple of hundred I think but only left about 50 $60 same Coleman place here in the United States. We know each other for my parents and his parents room same time and we grown up evening to school it was forecast for the end of the bargain. And now that we both of us planning. We're going to come back on same time. He was a year old. But he waited until he was almost 21 already 20 and so he came back and that fella was my best buddy.
10:14 The voice in the same place all our life. I eat I eat with that guy lunch because our I work in a machine shop lately and we eat lunch together 45 years. Tell me about a taken the boat right across in the first side of America and and then how you first settled in found your first job and apartment then we we get out the special needs are small and too high but was a messenger go to cast 50 years close to Ocean 15, 15 years are 15 days 10 days. And then I must 665 days. I got sick on it. Then we hit, New York.
11:00 And two old lady Vader. We hear that but we never see them and that to a lady Hungarian lady never know what the hell we meet. I never know they find us on when we coming down from the boat New York because the people become today was both was working man and wife and the two old Hungarian lady, have to pick a n d up and meet my friend. They find me some ham. I do. I know what I don't remember it was 1936 and went to their house and they put up but beautiful lunch already.
11:45 So then we leave it to a couple who came here to buy it and that before boot was American cities in a newly married and they took us in. Both of us New York tote Steve and no no life and now
12:05 If the ball goes lucky already, that's what my luck started they have. They Uncle come back from Trenton, New Jersey.
12:17 Because was a mud job in Trenton, so they come to New York who says anything he can get dishwasher or anything just have some so they leave leave us are only two weeks and he getting a small machine shop.
12:30 A to a Bulbasaur evolve into its in the New York Library cos I'm going to use the bow. She says maybe they give you give us a job as hell next day. He came home. He says the most want to see you in the small machine shop Ravenna and then give us a job. The $0.25 an hour and it was two weeks after getting here about two days after he got a job in New York was pretty bad. I'm in a lot of people sleep under the bridge.
13:05 So you had now how where did you live? What kind of work was loud? And then they charge $7 for room and board. So we have $3 left for a week pay but they only stay us about month-and-a-half and they have somebody they have they have some friend relatives in Trenton. They find my belly dropped what they have it in New York. They move. They have three bedroom apartment when we was there already three of us.
13:39 And we have a breakfast in the morning. They make us a lunch become home. They have five bedroom apartment not even a newspaper in it.
13:51 And they don't have too much money slept on what we going to do so decidedly going to stay together.
14:06 Then I Will Rise by we got need Furniture. We don't have nothing to fear. It's not really so we both some secondhand furniture for very cheap. Maybe we can buy your back for to $3 at first you need the table and some pots and pans pick up the stove. If you have a gas stove in New York, so we buy you know, what we really need that because we don't have too much money, but our luck was because that guy speak English so you can get around in New York Venture who lived in that was much cheaper to live this way then pay $7 board because we cook food for ourself.
14:54 And that time I used to go out to buy a stuff for the supper.
15:04 And was pretty rough but they have another Lily Deli. There was a Polish people. They open up a small Deli. They don't speak good English. I don't speak English, but I sure but I know I was only fifteen cents a pound of pork chop that time and be by off bag of brown bag of potatoes are being 18 horse and buggy ten cents a whole brown bag of potatoes the same as with tough or Airport.
15:34 Ten cents a brown bag. That's
15:39 I saw this baby make had better be cook for ourselves because we have four of us together. We got another guy came in and
15:51 Then who lived in the I forget now who exactly lived in the apartment with you? And your brother did you so Andy Varga Joto's a bill for $1 and we have enough food for next day lunch. Tell me the story about you. Now. This was an apartment you had that was across the street from the factory worked in the death that to lady who pick us up on the board. They live close to Sweet to my the shop, but he got the job and get to lady wants to let us make sure they have a form apartment cross the street from the effect that if you want to move there and he did so if you leave cross the street where we was wait 5 years until I went to Bridgeport.
16:51 The boss would come in literally on a Saturday and said anybody want to work in New York because then we need to be spending money when I get out then the boys they like that 380. I'm one of them already. They have another job and you don't tell nobody Friday. If you have a job put on Saturday. He just come on in the morning and bring the door. Come on boys. I got a job for you today. Nobody knows the shop and they give us a job even said, okay, what's up one last story. I want to hear about the when you guys would get together to have dinner and you lived above the restaurant or the bar and then be moved across the street.
17:51 I don't understand and popped in there see the bucket hanging by David Bowie film of the Dead they put in $0.25 and pull them back. What's a 6/7 plus a billion in the bucket for $0.25? I love the picture of that. Okay. So you worked in New York tell me about your Hungarian social group to the church and media section 80 Seconds. I leave down between 17 and 18 - to find some good friend are very nice comfortable next on over I come from her English was a beautiful guy. He belonged to the great Catholic church and belong to the Roman Catholic church, and we like to meet girls and more friends.
18:51 So we decided to the church bulletin big one or two of us. We can afford a Hungarian youth club in the 82nd Street and he talked with his priest. He says he give you that under the church hall for if he can make a group. So he advertising a church bulletin Sunday in a Hungarian paper. And then we have a date to if you're going to have won the first meeting and we have about 30-40 boys and girls showed up the first meeting then they have a group of 40 people and we decided we going to have a club there we going to vote for president vice-president and we going to have a dent Hungarian Dance Hungarian Orchestra in New York and they boycott perfect almost double decker.
19:51 They have about thirty five girls showed up or come from hungry like me. They parents went back after the first world war and boys much more but they can get together on me and my friend name was so precise my lifetime good friend became my godfather event a chairman of the dance and old entertainment. I have a my job first to keep everybody happy because they find me social book. I don't get to devote it for me. I got the 90% the voting over the time until I came to Bridgeport. I was doing the job. I have to make everybody happy and Dave us happy days. You'll never see that people. Thanks for me because we get the young Hungarian people because they don't speak English.
20:51 Get together socially, I mean what was what was the name of the church again? Just for the record. Where was it? The whole was name is a big thing of our pothole. There was a Hungarian King. Where was it bad then again, then I went to my church of Roman Catholic Church Ade wasn't mentioning. They have going to have a play this mean that they need or of the play a d note to play people. They come to see the show and I come out of the church in a guy was talking about a did Isis and I was kidding I growing up in a small town. I was in a play about five years every event that we could put on a show for the people Adventure Time about 2-3 show and I was in at all the time that my teacher Pig and they all the time and I owe you have experience.
21:51 Won't you join our group they have about 10 already?
21:57 And I find that group was high-class people and we put on a show for 3 years for the st. Stephen Church on 82nd Street in New York that the guy who was teaching us or was you know, he was that big actor from hungry but tbsp the old man when he come here. He he never make it like couples jewelry. He made that somehow he was a Comics but but two of us is employed to bring up play and people are so good. He was thinking the Hungarian show in a Broadway. What's the number for team? 1940 1941. What was that with my friend was already. I was in New York yet.
22:48 Then I got a job in Bridgeport 1941 in February in highcrest machine shop that was Bullards bullets company. That was my biggest rock in the US because that was a good place to go tell me about quickly how you met mom. You saw her today come to our dance. She come today or this country here and tell Uncle bring him out here and she come the first time in the dance with the boy.
23:24 But in ivezaj entertainment guy, I got the right to introduce myself some of them that I bought the door who I never seen I never see you come to be my wife that woman ever. Very nice. Looking girl in the coming to get the boy. I was so fast there. I took the top coat of your locked his boyfriend.
23:51 Then his boyfriend was finished already $0.30 an hour. I can talk with marriage.
24:08 But then I got the job in Bridgeport.
24:14 I started in Bridgeport 59 census now I can get married with married.
24:29 Yeah, that was a big thing and I see I got up or too little when I get in. They hired those people sent to the English yet. But because we have five years machine shop experience. They give us a chance. They was watching me and Andy were watching and two years later. I come to be the number one machine is and we have about 7,000 people by Dale about Tarzan machinist and my poor man came and the water department.
25:02 It says you made the highest production production last month.
25:09 Add 1000 machine is still alive and I don't even know the tools name, but I have to use every day on a machine. We have to wait for a plane to prove you wrong. And I don't even know the tools name. I have to learn it was wasn't easy time and a half. It was a Hungarian American guy and he can turn me in Hungarian about 10 tools name then I study and when I want home.
25:46 They need they send me to the law against Tulalip blueprint, but then I put me on a machine in a my boss came you said and it looks like you working already be going to take you off from you not going to go to school just like you did the blueprint already confessed how I I don't know and second-year I produce load and then they give me the day call me for the Army. I got them that company three years deferment after if I not you know what I can do.
26:24 Three years. And anyway, I left at 3 and I went to the service avoid after 2 months when I learned they put me on 12-hour everyday Saturday 8 that 68 hour and I pull out $100 job. So how did night?
26:53 The Hobbit get my husband that was later basic training about three months then we get the bottom on top of them by October. I was overseas Ivan to the service February.
27:15 And now so I can't get no more deferment to refinish then after basic training then went back then then they give you are you going to go and only me I have a different number because when you go to server Sleigh Ride on what you doing, what kind of a job and I was doing not only platter but I don't know if I see a job for that company and that was in my record to come with me Ariana could go to the Navy and I because I was sick five days in about when I was coming back.
28:01 5 days and I paid to go tonight. So I'm going to go with I'm going to be sick all the time and I never been in a boat because I do to be a mechanic. You know, you're working a shop.
28:11 But I didn't know that and I took the Army. I'm going to oversee but my number come with me. I lost everybody and get that may come with me all went for the espresso replacement. And they they want to give me a Mickey in the job and I stay the month. They can find me a job then put me out tank out sheet.
28:31 But there was no going Davis or tweaking the direction to come for hit the German TV was sitting on the German border for over a month month-and-a-half at the department of 10 cats with patent Army.
28:46 General Patton 3rd Army 4th Armored Division, I belong to him that breakthrough come in the best German breakthrough. Then took us three days to go up with the tank.
29:04 You didn't like what you saw so and was a lot of things but I don't believe the Army do I don't even want to see I'm here.
29:16 But that pussy near my bag. I see your people killing man. That was in my way to fight a war. So I got I was in the best donut big fight and I must have him that time was Christmas time.
29:37 And until I catch a cold I got fever arrived into the hospital. They sent me the wrong because I have a fever then I stay in the hospital three four days was very sick then a week later for 10 days later every morning and I like your pink you feeling better. I should I do. It says I'm much much better now. I didn't have no fever he says and if I'm not send you back to you.
30:13 Service, Isis
30:17 But I do have nothing with me from then I just send the clothes Army to the I left everything but I have personal stuff that I had me where you going to send me. He says the Air Force.
30:31 Me he told me that was a good feeling for me. It's just you look Gilliam to the tank outfit.
30:42 It says you are high-skilled mechanic.
30:46 Then I went to bed then I I didn't go back. I I lost everything I have just the clothes on me. I went to the Air Force. And by the way, we have a beautiful room with no. 3 guys. They was a communication for a nine tail Force. God bless you are force and everybody have I don't care.
31:13 Isis what you guys don't go to the bar where he says? Yeah, but it says they left over two months. It says they shipped home already and we can get a bugbear. I said I asked him if they left any tools. It says yeah, if you think they left the to all the tools hair and that's how I like to see I'm so that those of clipper like not all electric now, I am going I said I could give you guys a haircut Isis. I'm not a barber but I learned when I was young studying hungry. I cut all my friends are my father my brother here my relatives here myself, so I could give you a good trim. Give them a treat event to next. Two days later that for breakfast. They see that guy to three guys have a surprise you get the haircut because he can go to the German that time you can talk with the German yet.
32:13 Have they can go to the gym in Barbados why everybody had a little kid you said that guy is coming just as you said no the barber by have put it with trim. That's all they needed us. And when we have a company Commander says you are barber said no, I'm not I just realized when I was on the field till close to put come to the barbershop first or the officer, even from the headboard shaking because I didn't cut it how many years already taking over the office but they was good to me like they're not in the barbershop. I have a table for the tools. They were left 510t marks there and I didn't get a pay with you three months. Then you change a treat that they took 2 3 months to pay it or catch up with you.
33:11 They took me three weeks later. I got no room. I got enough money to go perish because Air Force we travel free any place you want to go as a privilege I could go. So then I finally I catch up in the everybody. And so that plan of 3-4 months then we open them up. We can go to the German we can talk with the German people we can go to the store or a beer joint. So I just remembered weather Laguna private student health park shave and haircut and they gave her a haircut trim. They give me a five 10:50 march to imagine. That's how much I make sure I didn't I didn't know but they left it on the table, right? How about when you were at The Interpreter?
34:07 William Valdes and Vanguard lifestyle start to lose the courses. I sent them to the table quote over the neck. That's it.
34:22 So what about a bass shop is going to watch night. So I sent them but I have bad because they was on the field just setting up the telephone. I was home yet. And but but I have the guys that do I want to the post office for them to pull up money sent home, but we have a book The send gift event. I have play everybody. But anyway, I was going to come in there, get out of my office at but they know me here because when I called ahead to talk to me, they find out who I am just like today in a hospital tell me I'm not be long today. Thank God. He says ND I have this guy with me to three years.
35:07 I've entrusted because they steal my eyeball. Here's the supply room key you going to run him because it says I'm losing my my barber job and he he he told me that was something I enjoy that not because I got better job because it may he tell me I don't trust this guy. I trust you and I was there only about four or five months.
35:43 And I find out they have a Hungarian prison. Did you know, you know American Army captured at some place in Austria? And I find out a nice my command. If I can visit them prisoner, oh shoot and then I went to see the prisoner and Odie eat me up because I'm American soldier that took Hungarian that was everything for them. I give them bladder I advise and things but then they took my parents address in hungry.
36:25 Vivian Beck too hungry. They let him go before I came back from Europe.
36:31 I from all of them their item and they say they'll write a letter to my parents. They see me and you say good thing about music is the first words your parents are my parents for since 1938 because the letter won't go through when Hitler started the war had to run a letter won't go to Hungry then they they heard from me not that was in the 45-day parents heard that the guys right to me. They met me and I'm okay. We've only got about 5 minutes talk about Stalin come to America and a little bit about life. Once you got to stay out here a little bit about what it was life in the 50s and 60s. You have a house you have three sons and the Gatherings of your friends and the and the picnics the solenoid.
37:31 Uncle playing. Yeah, then when I came back, I was two years exactly in service. I came back from Germany 1946 February.
37:43 They beg me to stay just six more months. Give me all kind of thing, but I didn't take it. I'm going to come back man throws off your son. So I came back to Jersey and discharge me then. I went back at my rifle in New York when I went to service event to leave each other and we ended my first son. I have 2 minutes then so I came back and I've been back to two boys like, you know what my job, but I remember again as a five-year-old child the amount of picnics almost every weekend. Oh, yeah friends over we'd have valve 1951 tell me about the bacon like they put on a stick than others are Hungarian ready to make some the greasy blood but we put some tomatoes and onions.
38:43 And that we used to go because I'm hungry. We don't have the same Beach Meats yet. They just take that we have three for pigs. We could win Terror and heavy Parts greasy with smoked and cured them and we use the door year, but it's better if you bake him a little bit in the grease put them on the bread. That was very tasty stop. Then I have you know, they're hungry and they know that they used to come to my house. We have a picnic. I have a beautiful backyard. I build a house in Fairfield Shady backyard and I almost said was always so sociable guy and we have a lot of picnic in my yard my kids like him my grandkids like in my son's life can be able to really part for every every of my son has already. They have a lily part where we make that to Hungarian. Should be salon.
39:43 I remember the Long Afternoon picnics and then card-playing laid into the play pinochle scar all of my wife like to play peanut course we learned that when I came back from service you and Mom were sharks. Yeah and leave was good. And that's the way my family my grandkids like it very much carrying out. She was 7 year old ship preview. Sponaugle and that's because you have to be you know, what you doing. You have to be bet. You know, how much you have.
40:18 In the Busby have a nice time still have to get together with my family get-together. At least twice a year. I have three beautiful son and daughter-in-law first class went to college. They finish all of them not for more 568 college with the you know about 2 years extra a very old my kids and my grandkids. I'm only running a hole in my family who don't have a college education. My grandkids have I might know.
40:58 I'm a happiest guy in this is the side of the earth. If you're not 98 great-grandchildren, what would you say about what what does it take to have a good life live long? How do you stay? So happy that easy to be honest a hustler.
41:20 Honest trustful that's all you need and get a loan with the ability of the neighbors friends sociable. That's what helped me all my life. I was honest and trustful. That was number one and one I'm hurting for my wife once I was retired other than I did guide a 1980 and was a glassed-in porch next to my kitchen having getting a coffee today at 1 morning.
41:56 And you talkin about our friends and Neighbors?
42:01 And you know how they are this one have this problem. The other one in my wife says I think it says we won't change with nobody.
42:12 Then men can hear that phone. He survived he don't change because energy but we have everything or life. Never breaking a shop nether.
42:23 I was only have bacon and I sent two kids in college and they have an orgasm operation in AT&T.
42:44 My other son is a first-class to he solving order problem in the engineering sector the end of my Stevie and Barbara are first-class what he make the picture you can see that's a quality.
43:01 But she had more about 5 year college to white woman.
43:14 If you had to say something about Mom Val.
43:19 If I'm going to have a moment woman, like my wife you have an easy life. She was everything for my kids bring up perfectly almost cuz I was with a lot of time because I felt so good machinist. I got lotta overtime lot of them. I do repair shop repair them, which they need that badly. I have a 10:12 arrival sometime even Sunday.
43:47 They give me double time on my wake.
43:53 My wife the job was to cook when I went home my table was set for eat at my church. I worked over 50 years.
44:06 Run the Domingo No. 7 guy 45 years in my church every Thursday night.
44:14 NBA ball Holy Name Club
44:17 I belonged to 50 years that one too, and we put on roast beef and we try to keep our church to be Hungarian and we spend a million and a quarter 5 years ago to read on the church or what we make it from Bingo and dinner and supper.
44:39 We have a million Accord at to spend in the church. Call a small. Thank you for the lovely again. What would you say to your to your children your great-grandchildren?
44:51 Well, holy things to be honest and trustful and Hustlers how to say that that you're going to make you happy or healthy you eat. Well you eat anything in sight and you are one of the happiest gentleman I've ever met at your age dad and it, yeah, that's because I have I'm not a rich guy, but I have a family that's number one in my book because I know a lot of family. I got a lot of a bill that 340 kids. My family is number one number one.