Linda Frontera and Kari Frontera

Recorded August 8, 2005 Archived November 27, 2005 00:00 minutes
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Interview ID: SCK000165



  • Linda Frontera
  • Kari Frontera

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:01 Testing.

00:03 Can you state your name? My name is Linda. Urban Frontera born. January 29th. 1951 in Buffalo, New York. Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself? I was born to a parents of both Italian and German descent.

00:21 I was born in Buffalo, New York, in a hospital called sister hospital. I'm the second of five children. I have a brother Tom who is 4 years older than me sister. Kathy who is four years younger than me? A brother Wayne, who is 6 years younger than me. And then my brother Henry was born in 1960. We grew up in Lackawanna, New York. I grew up there until I was 8 years old. I was approximately a finishing second grade in the Lackawanna school system and my parents had built a summer Cottage out a new brand. New York, the town of Brant, which was actually a suburb called Lotus pay.

01:05 It is a long delay was Lake Frontage on Lake Erie and I grew up there from the age of eight. Until I graduated from high school in grammar school from 2nd 3rd grade until 8th grade through eighth grade in 1964. I went to an independent school called Farnham Elementary in those days. We had one teacher that did two classes. There were approximately 8, to 10 children in each grade level, and we would do a half a day of learning and a half a day of work. While the teacher was in the room.

01:42 Then from there, I graduated from there in 1964. I went to Lake Shore Central School. And that's where I completed my secondary education with a Regents degree.

01:54 That that time, my parents felt, it was better to move back to the city so that I would not have to dorm at a college because dorming was socially unacceptable to my parents because good girls could get in trouble that way. So then we move back to Lackawanna to the house that they had, rented out all these years. And I went to the Buffalo State College on Elmwood Ave.

02:19 I went for a liberal arts degree originally believing, I was going to start in Psychology and ended up with a social sciences. Degree graduated from there in 1972.

02:33 Then from there, I got a job with the county of Erie and I was a social welfare examiner in the Medicaid Department in 1972, while still in college. I meant my intended, Joseph frontiera, and we started dating and we got married in 1973 on May 4th them. We met over a pencil. It sounds a little ironic but it's what happened. He was in the cafeteria, and I was in the cafeteria with friends and he was with friends. Apparently, we had mutual friends and he had to take a test and he didn't have a pencil. But since I was a work-study person, I had an office there and I went and got a pencil for him. And then the next day, he asked me for hot chocolate and that's where it all started.

03:24 So we dated and then after school was was out. We planned our wedding and we were married on, May 4th 1973. We were married in a Catholic ceremony, in Our Lady of Sacred, Heart Church on Abbott Road, in Orchard Park, and we had the reception in the Knights of Columbus Hall.

03:46 That was again on May 4th from there. We went to our honeymoon and Toronto which lasted probably 2 or 3 days because it was all the money we could afford.

03:57 Journey. The interesting celebrations for the wedding, like, pink, dances know, we had the traditional Italian wedding. We didn't do any fancy dancing or anything like that, other than the ordinary, but we did have Italian cookies and it was buffet style. And then to those days, the bride's parents paid for the reception and all the expenses and the groom's parents paid for the liquor bill. And they are on a part is both bills turned out to be the same.

04:29 Well, when I was working, but still living at home before the wedding date in preparation. My mother insisted that I pay her $25 a week, out of my paycheck for room and board. So, she had collected that money. And when I bought my dress, she handed me that money and said, now, you have the money for your dress.

04:51 So that paid for my dress.

04:53 We had photographer at the wedding. We had a band at the wedding with a very nice celebration.

05:00 Then, in October of 1970. For our first child, Paul was born.

05:07 Paul weighed 6 lb. Little runt very lovable. We lived in Orchard Ave and West. Seneca that time my husband's parents had bought the house, and we lived in the house. We were paying them. The monthly mortgage payment the house cost approximately $14,000 back in 1972. It was a small Cape two-floor with three bedroom. The only problem is it needed. Much in repair. For instance, when you flush the toilet, everything went on to the basement floor.

05:41 So because my husband was a at that time shop teacher in today's world. It's called a technology teacher. He did many of the repairs on his own money was tight. Because when I had my first child, I stopped working to be a stay-at-home mom, which is more work and money was tight. So, on the side, my husband would fix cars and do extra jobs to make money to make ends meet.

06:09 Well, when Paul was approximately 5 months old. I thought I had flu but instead it was another child.

06:19 The middle child, Carrie Carrie. Ann was born on January 7th, 76. Coincidentally, 1776, the bicentennial year and she came in at 7 lb 6 oz.

06:34 Kari was a bundle of joy, still is the joy to my day.

06:40 Kari and Paul went to a Catholic school called fourteen. Holy helpers. And when Paul was in kindergarten, I had their child mark.

06:51 Mark was born on October 28th, 1979 and he weighed 8 lb 5 oz.

07:00 And he is doing fine to this day. Well, I stayed at home with the children until they got to middle school age. And then I did some part-time work. I work for the town of West Seneca in a program that dealt with drug abuse education. And because of political,

07:25 Bureaucracy that didn't last but a semester. Then I took a job with Cornell Cooperative Extension for the Erie County extension office. And I was a 4-H Urban agent funding ran out of that. So that job was terminated.

07:43 Eventually, I decided that I was going to be a teacher. So I taught in a Catholic school and then I decided to get more money because Catholic schools paid about $7,000 a year at those times that I needed to get certification from New York state. So then I went back to school and I earned a master's in education. Well to completed, I needed a few courses but to make myself more marketable, I decided to get a masters in elementary education. And then I took my Master's in library studies and I became a school library media specialist. Now to Retro a little back in 1985. We moved to our second house, which was on Mill Road. Where we still live today.

08:33 And that house had a swimming pool, which was especially appealing because our middle child carry, love to swim.

08:43 So we bought that house has been fixed it up again. And that's where we're living today.

08:50 Then I got my certification. I decided I had to give public school job. So I interviewed in many districts and accepted a job with Lancaster Central Schools, became a school library media specialist in a kindergarten 25 school, which is now become a kindergarten 23 school. And to this day. I am still employed by Lancaster Central Schools. I heard you have a special title there. Yes, I am queen. Bee queen bee is affectionately referred to as person in charge when the principal is out of the building. It is in.

09:28 Financially unrewarded title.

09:31 Watch, it needs to be done and the school library, media specialist always fills in when the need is there.

09:38 Did you have any hobbies as your grown up as I grew up? I did many things.

09:47 I like to quilt. I do gardening. And I have a big, big flower garden now.

09:54 I have made quilts for the kids beds. I used to so all their Halloween costumes and I even crocheted my granddaughter. By the way. My son, Paul has a granddaughter was born in March is now two years old, but your son has a daughter. My son has a daughter and a granddaughter. She's my granddaughter Lillian.

10:17 And she is 2 years old and his wife is Lori and she is my second daughter. Our third child. Mark has a. It has a dog. Yes, but they're also expecting a baby in January of 2006.

10:39 In the pulmonary have a dog or yes. We also had dogs growing up when the children were little. We had a dog named Ball but no grows old. Like everybody does and Bo had to be put to sleep when he was fourteen. He was a shepherd husky. He was a very good dog. But any dogs growing up. We had dogs at our lake house. We had Dicky & Dicky was a smart dog. He knew to go up and meet the bus because we had a half a mile driveway. We had to walk uphill both ways. And so absolutely he had he knew when it was three. He was stirred up to the end of the driveway. Wait for us at the top of the driveway to the bus. Let us off. In those days when you went to school, you could girls could not wear pants. It was very, very cold. So we kept our pants on underneath our skirts. And then we had a shanty, is Little Shack at the top where we had to take her pants off, leave him there, until we get done and then we put them out on the way back.

11:39 Just to keep warm because they wind up. The lake was very, very cold at the lake. House was very isolated in the winter. It was a summer resort area.

11:48 Any dogs have any funny stories? They trying to kill a rat that was sooner.

11:55 Sooner with my dog when I lived in back to Lackawanna when I was in college and my brother had trained it to go after rats. And there was a lot that people don't throw garbage at behind her house and a little Chihuahua got out from a neighboring house on a below zero day. And well you can imagine the rest then we had to get rid of sooner because the city told us he was no longer wanted in that city. So we took him out to the farm. Did you have any other animals? Say goats chickens roosters. Girl, we had rooster but he jumped in my father's back and my father did not appreciate that. So my father kind of made him in the chicken soup the next day and then we had a horse because we were out to an auction at in Springville and my father decided that I needed a pony but we had no truck. So we had to take the pony home and we had a Pontiac and my father put the pony in the backseat of the car and that's how we got the pony home. We had two ponies. We had Nick.

12:55 And we had, I can't remember the other one's name, but we had two ponies and, and then the ponies were left in a barn. And we were supposed to feed him every day and we did. But we just threw the food in and left it there. And we didn't realize that the big Tony was eating all the food that the Little Pony should have gotten. And in the spring, when we opened up the Barn Door, the Little Pony was all skin and bones and almost dead. So my father dragged it out and he found it, eating pine needles, and then he realized what had happened. Was a case of animal abuse. But unintentional, because we love that pony Smokey, his name was and he died. No, he didn't die, then he but he died later in life.

13:36 Yes, but then we gave him food and he get healthy again.

13:39 Do you have any chickens on sale Orchard Avenue?

13:43 Upon a time when the kids were little, my father-in-law decided that the kids needed to see that farm life could be had in a Suburban Buffalo area. So he decided he worked at the Erie County Fair and he decided to bring a hen and a rooster home that nobody claimed and our goal was to get five eggs. So we could have a Sunday morning breakfast. What the rooster decided to Crow at dawn break, every morning, when Dawn came and the neighbor did not like that. So we were turned in to the police for violation of a building ordinance or something or other code, and we had just gotten the fifth day that day. So then we had to get rid of them. So we didn't know what to do. So we called up the local priest, whose fathers had a farm and he took the 10 in the rooster out to the farm to live happily ever after.

14:33 Do you like to talk about some of your family traditions growing up? Growing up? We had some family. However, it was very difficult. My father worked at the steel plant in the weather will get very bad off the lake, and he was a snowplow driver at the steel plant actually was a payloader driver, but he did a lot of snow plowing. So there were times. He didn't come home all week because he couldn't get home. So it was kind of lonely out there because they were only seasonal people. But some of the Traditions were like Christmas, we always had Christmas morning, we go to Christmas mass and then we would come home and try to open our presents. But one time I saw my present the night before cuz I knew where my father had the presents with a little after I stopped believing in Santa Claus and then it ruin the whole whole part. It really did. It was very, very sad when I found my present. And then I

15:33 New Year's Day mass and I lost my watch.

15:38 Is that a basically a case of surgery? Right? No, it was just so I suppose, then we had family events. We enjoyed going to my aunt's house because she had a lot of children, and she was a very good cook and we really did. We enjoyed that. And we had my uncle was a priest and he lived in the next Community called Silver Creek and he would come and visit us every now and then, and if we were good, he give us a quarter and that was our big thing and then, sometimes he would take us into the city. But if we went into the city on the way back, we knew that we had to say, the rosary all the way home and no offense, but to a little kid that was very boring.

16:19 But I knew the roads reason, I knew all the Mysteries at that time. So we were brought up with the Catholic in the, in the Catholic religion in the church, was our focal point. And I Recreation, I guess you could say it. We would go to Vacation, Bible School in the summer and do different things with the church and that was our way of life.

16:39 Tiffany archenemies, I have no enemies. I'm a very loving person.

16:45 I can't think of any enemies I have. Have I been disappointed in life. Yes, or are you disappointed in life? I wanted the lake house and I wanted to buy it with my husband and they sold it out behind my back. My mother did after my father passed away and that kind of like bothered me, but then I realized it was probably a reason and I have a good life because, you know, my mother's a very loving person. My mother is 86 years old and she lives in Lackawanna, New York, and she does very well for herself, except. She's a hypochondriac. Should I send Grandma a copy of the state? No, I think she does realize she's a hypochondriac. But in all defense, she's been sickly. Since she was in probably nursing school. She decided to become a nurse because your brother told her to become a nurse.

17:37 And she was going to school and one day, she coughed up blood and that was a very bad sign and they realized she had tuberculosis. So she was sent to a sanitarium out in Mount Morris, New York for five years where she recuperated with mainly bed rest. So she has led a very sickly life when I was about 7th grade. It was determined that she had food poisoning and she was given the last rites and thought she was gone for Dad, but they ended up pumping her stomach. And she came back. But then they sent you to a specialist because they didn't like her blood count. And he said she was anemic. So she went to him for the next 45 years and then he died too. So now she goes to another doctor, but she's always been sickly. And in her mind, I think she truly believes. She is sickly.

18:24 So are you raised by here? And we raised by someone else? I was raised by my parents. Both parents were together. However, my godmother Aunt Anna was very kind to me, and she would buy me a new outfit for school and two new summer outfits, and she was very, very loving to me. So I kind of took to her as a second mother and she was very good. But then she passed away in 1972 and it was a very sad.

18:53 Did you cry? Of course? My father passed away in 1984. He died of colon cancer, but the ironic thing is, my husband's mother died, two days before my father was a very traumatic summer because the children were very small and that's life and we had to explain death to them and it was very sad where you're moving at the same time. Know we moved the next year in 1985. We had still lived in Orchard have at that time.

19:23 Any funny stories from childhood?

19:26 Remember too much from childhood. I remember little things that happened now and then, but I mean like my mother dependent on us older children because my brothers were very sickly in my last brother was born very premature and we would have to cook dinner all the time and all my brother. And I knew how to make with stew from spam and I think my parents got tired of that. The fifth day in a row and my mother was very upset one day and she got angry and threw it out and we were very sad because that's how we knew how to make and I carry now I can laugh at it, but I'm sure it's very stressful in my mother.

20:05 Sure, any funny stories from when your kids were growing up my children did many humorous things?

20:15 They tried to water my plants. So I shouldn't say, they Paul tried to water my orange tree one day and he squirted, the dirt fortunate was outside all over the house and he had to get out of my sight because I was very angry at his father, took him and saved his life and my daughter decided to eat. My tomato seeds, which unbeknownst to her were coated in a fungicide. Maybe they were corn. CS corn seeds were much more appetizing. I'm sure they were fluorescent, pink, and she ate them. And we had to, we had to give her syrup of ipecac, so she could barf it all out. And she certainly did.

20:54 And the other Sunmark funny humorous, story was, when he decided to ride his toy, motorcycle off the front porch. And then, another time, they all decided to go for a bike ride when their father was babysitting them, which he did not do a very good job that time and the two older children protected their younger brother and Kari came home to tell her father that the younger brother was riding his motorcycle around the streets. And the two children were praised. The younger children was reprimanded ever meet any famous people. My daughter's Godfather is a former Buffalo Bill. His name is Joe delamielleure. And at that time. My husband had before was working at a gas station. When we first got married for extra money and this football player with a client at the gas station and we got to know them and got to know their wife and we became very close friends. So, when my daughter was born,

21:52 His wife died along with mrs. De la mujer, Jerry De La. Biblia, watched our son and when my husband had to work and come to the hospital and she's they became my daughter's godparents and we have maintained his friendship with just occasional cards and Christmas notes. Every year. And a few years ago. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame and we were honored to go see him there. Did you have any politicians? Walk in the house? One time a politician local Steve pigeon came to our house, except my daughter answered the door, but my son was very sick. And I said I couldn't talk to him, but this gentleman was so nice. He came back another time and asked how my son was doing and I thought that was very kind of him.

22:35 Any other funny, stories, people, walking and houses and our current house. There was a lady that had dementia and she kind of sat down in their house one day and didn't know where she was, but I thought my husband knew her. So I went and took a nap and then he said he had to get his shoes and came in and said, didn't you call the police? And, of course I hadn't. And then we had to call the police. And then she was taken back home, because she escaped from her house more than once.

23:04 Is there anyone coming in your house and stirring the stool Wentz? When my son was young? He was in his highchair, and I had just made his food, but I had to run down to change the laundry and when I ran down to change the laundry, one of my husband's friends had walked in the door, which was my husband's time to come home. So I said, honey, would you go in the kitchen and feed the baby and he went in and fed the baby? When I come up? I realized it wasn't my husband feeding the baby, but his friend who I had never met before, that was quite humorous. Fortunately. He was a good man.

23:36 Do you want to talk about growing up Catholic? Bible was growing up in a Catholic house. My father was Lutheran, but he left my mother raised as Catholics. He would occasionally go to church and if he didn't feel like he would sit out in the car and we would go to church and we were quote, grow up made by first communion Our Lady of Victory Basilica, but then we moved Farnham. It was a very small church, and that's where we did all our celebrations, and everything, life revolved around church and school. When did you make your confirmation? I made my confirmation in seventh grade because the bishop would only come every 4 years to our small Parish. So I happen to be in seventh grade that year and the four years of school made their confirmation altogether. They were probably 20 of us.

24:24 Did you were you in any clubs at school? Actually, I was in the international Club, but I never went to the meetings because there was no late bus to take me home and we live to probably a good half hour ride from school and I depending on buses. I tried out for cheerleading once but I wasn't good enough.

24:43 Be a straight, A student know. I was probably a be student, but I was also the organist. It's cool. And I played for school assemblies.

24:52 And people would throw money at me.

24:55 Penny's, but I thought it was pretty good.

24:59 No, I was not a popular student. I was okay, course a school in clarinet.

25:13 And with your sewing that you had mentioned before, you said, you used to make any of the school costumes are the I used to help make School classrooms when my children were little but I made all their Halloween costumes and we would use those sometimes and I make quilts for the bed and different articles like that and just kept myself busy that way did any of your Customs ever win an award?

25:36 I don't remember them winning an award.

25:40 The owl, the owl one. An award. I don't remember. I believe it was at the zoo.

25:49 And it had a record player, a surprise toy. If I recall now that you said that but I had good children that wore the costumes. Good.

25:58 How much are kids? Did you put make them do any interesting things. My children were very independent and they went to a private school in the city because I thought maybe it would be a good influence upon them. My youngest did not go. He went to the public school, but my oldest started in fifth grade going to a private school 5 through 12. My daughter went from 7 through 12 to school called Nichols School, in Buffalo. Then the oldest I had told them that they had to pay the wrong college and the oldest decided he wanted to go to the Naval Academy and was accepted there. And so he went there and my daughter decided she wanted to go to Cornell. So she became an interior designer through her education at Cornell, but that was a state-supported school. When I did my husband and I did pay for her college that way. And then the youngest decided he wanted to follow his sister to Cornell and he went through engineering except he stayed for his master's to

26:58 They're all well educated and then they all moved out of the Buffalo area. Because unfortunately, the job market is not great in Buffalo area, style of living is, okay, but the job area is not good. They did better and bigger cities. You want to talk about growing up in Buffalo. I actually grew up in Lackawanna. I was in the same neighborhood as all my relatives. I had an ant on each side and uncle and we all went to different things to do and was very family-orientated. But then, when I said I was in third grade, we moved out to the lake house and then we would only see family in the good weather, because the weather was very nasty out there. But, and phone calls were long-distance. Our first phone at the lake house was a 5 party line, which meant that you couldn't use it when some other house was using it, but in the winter, we were the only people out there so it didn't matter and Air Force. Phone number was 1299 are one and that meant it rang.

27:58 And we could pick it up, if it rang twice. It was for somebody else. And then when you wanted to call you picked up the receiver and said I would like to dial 7 9 8, J 1, which was my girlfriend's number and the operator will connect you. It was all operator, driven, all manual, and then let it later. They become automated and we've gotten a regular one party line out there. Did you pick it up? If it was somebody else's number? Yeah, if you did that, they wouldn't be too happy with you because then I get to call back again. Could you eavesdrop on their conversation more than once you could eavesdrop? But they also you almost sense when somebody else was on the phone. It's kind of like picking up the extension.

28:40 But it was an interesting time. We did have TV in my days and we did have radio black and white. It was black and white until I got married. And that's when we had our first color tv and bought 1973 my parents, I think got their first one and 72 but we had black and white TV crawling up. How much was the price of gas gasoline. When I got married was twenty-five cents, a gallon. If you want to talk about your first car, my first car blow. My father had given me up Pontiac Catalina, which was very nice car. But my boat. And then when I went to college, we went out shopping and we bought an opal. It was an Opel rally. It was gold with a black hood. Black hood, was very dull. So I thought you had to sign it, but apparently was supposed to be dull.

29:30 It was a very small car. It was very nice and it got me where I wanted to go. And then eventually, we sold it when I get married and bought many cars through the years and the family crew.

29:42 Any regrets. I wish I had the Opel rally, but that's okay. Kids are better.

29:50 Do you regret staying home with the kids? Absolutely not. I do not regret one minute of staying home. Sure. I could have been making more money. Ready to retire right now. But all three kids turned out very well. And I think something had to do with that my influence in my husband's influence. So I'm not I don't regret it one bit. How do you enjoy being a school media specialist? The work is sometimes trying because people don't appreciate you and they feel you do nothing as a school library, media specialist, but in my heart, I know it's very important for the children to have very valid and good selection of reading materials that are quite capable of reading.

30:28 Turn the library action. Figure it out.

30:32 My daughter thought she was quite comical one year and brought me on a library. Figured out that goes with hand motions. It is quite comical, but that's not the way a library is today. The library is an action place. A learning place is Center of activity in the school place. To find more information, very computer-driven.

30:52 Very, very important spot in the school. Very tiring soon. I hope to retire in four years because of my slate Stark staying home with the children. I don't have that many more you many years, since the New York State, retirement system has a penalty for that, and I certainly don't want to lose too much money. But I also want to enjoy life and travel more. So what do you want to do? Where do you in trouble? I think I'd like to travel and see all the states in in in the nation right now. I've been to Europe a couple times. So maybe I should stay in the United States and visit our own country cuz they're certainly someone is here to see. Did you travel as a kid when I was small? My father had a camper and we went out. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time and we didn't go out to California to visit cousins and different people there.

31:39 But then, when I got older, I had jobs and I didn't travel with him as much. I'm sure when I was young, my parents tell me. I went to Florida once with them and then one more kids were little. We didn't travel a lot, because we didn't have much money, but eventually, we enjoyed life, and, and we've gone now, since the kids are out of the house. We've gone to Europe twice this year. We went to France last year. We went to Italy

32:02 Which is your favorite I prefer Italy. Although France is very nice and people are people all over the world and wonderful. Italy has some significance to me because of my heritage.

32:13 Do you want to talk about what that means, do you?

32:16 Heritage is very important in life. And the older you get, the more you realize that my father was born in East Germany. At the time was when the war took place. And he came over when he was like, 14 months and that was World War 2 and the borders changed. And he was born in a place called Falcon East, Germany. And when I was in high school, I went to visit the place but you had to have a special visa and it was very weird because there was no freedom of speech. So you had to be careful what you say. And we only stayed a day and then we came back back into West, Germany. We spent six weeks over there. That was my godmother. Auntie Ann. And I and it was very interesting because you saw where your family was from and you got to live the life. They would have lived, had they still remain there. My mother's side was from a town, called Ponte, Vedra t-bill Seto, which is down in Italy.

33:11 In Sicily. And she still has a cousin there and I got to be friends with his cousin and I've gone twice three times to visit her and her family, very wonderful people, but I still like your better. Would you go back? I would love to go back to visit people, but there are other things I want to do 2 in life, like visit the Grand Canyon or visit, Alaska, or possibly, Oregon.

33:37 Did you study abroad during school? I went to a semester overseas in my junior year called to Siena program and Siena Italy. And there, I studied as a general Liberal Arts students from January to May.

33:51 With a very wonderful time and I learned a lot but there was one side thing that was very funny is the Italian mother had contest on the side unbeknownst to us as to whose daughter could get the fastest fattest and I certainly won the contest because I gained oh probably 60 or 70 lb in 4 months, there have no idea. Probably dinner. I don't know what they want. But I turned took me back 2 months to lose that weight and I got right back down with the high fat content in the carbohydrate. You knew that back then certainly did not but I learn fast.

34:32 When he went back to see them did they say anything always still a comical joke that they think that was funny that I gained so much weight.

34:41 Yes. Maurice, anything with donkeys?

34:44 In Sicily, there was a donkey and they're called the awesome nose, and I didn't know the difference between an ass and I want a horse, but I found out and I got to ride one. It was very exciting.

34:58 Any other stories like the shed? I think I've shared enough for tonight. I appreciate that. I've had a good life and I appreciate your taking this time with me. I've been very much.