Interview with Angelina Cinotti
Is Part Of
Broome County Oral History Project
Interview with: Angelina Cinotti
Interviewed by: Nettie Politylo
Date of interview: 26 May 1978
Nettie: This is Nettie Politylo, interviewer, talking to Angelina Cinotti of 600 Oak Hill Avenue, Endicott, NY, on May 26, 1978. Ang, will you tell us something about your life and experiences in the community?
Ang: Well, my parents came from Chicano, Italy—that's a little town near Rome. They were very poor peasant people—so, Pa said he wasn't going to bring up his family to live as poor as he was. So, he heard about America, so he got some money, enough money together for just his trip to come and see what it was like. So, he went first to Scranton, PA, and worked on the railroad, I think, it was—I'm not too sure—and he stayed, he worked long enough to make enough money to send for my mother and my three brothers, who were born in Chicano, Italy, too: Tony, Philip and Lawrence. I think Tony was something like 10, Philip was 8, Lawrence maybe was 7, or 6 or 7, they were—maybe over, I'm not sure—but they came with my mother. It took them, I think, twenty days on the ship—it's a long trip—nothing like it is now, eight hours—and they went to Scranton. My mother hated it. She didn't unpack her trunk for a year because she was going back. Well, anyway, things weren't that great in Scranton. They heard about this Endicott where you could work, I think in the shoe—some of the shoe factory—
Dominick [Ang’s husband]: —shoe factories—
Ang: You could work in the shoe factories and tannery there and make a better living there—so they came here and they liked it—so they built a house on Squires Ave. and there were seven of us altogether. Ah—my sister Mary was the first one born in America—then there’s Louis, me and Angelo—that's five boys and two girls. So, they all grew up and worked in EJ—that was the only place that—language barrier, you know—you couldn't get jobs except if you could work with your hands. And, after the boys grew up and learned a little more, the language—and Tony was the first one to go out and get into the coal business—from there, he bought some property on Nanticoke Ave., and on this property was an old cider mill that wasn't being used. And—ah—he took that out, cleaned it up, and started to make cider. The farmers used to come down on Saturday and bring their own apples and they'd make the cider—they charged something like 5 cents a gallon, put it in barrels, and the business grew and grew—and then they invested in a larger press because the one they had was, you know, real old-fashioned, ah—not very efficient—and it got better and better every year and it was going along fine, then Tony died in an accident. The boys took over the business. They got into the oil business and the boys kept up the cider business—Orlando, especially, is the one that, ah—that was more interested in it.
He had remodeled and it's going fine, and then one year, there was a bad fire and it burned down—all the old-fashioned—you know, all the nice atmosphere—yeah—but ah—they didn't know what to do—whether to just close it down, but then, the man from the New York State, ah—that have, you know that they have the Places of Interest—came down and asked if they wouldn't keep it open—because it was something unusual to have a cider mill around, you know, so they rebuilt it and I guess, you know, it was going fine. One day—I don't know if it was a student or one of the people from SUNY—came, looked around. He said, “Gee, it was a nice place to have a summer theater." Orlando showed him the big warehouse space, way in the back, and when they saw that, they knew. That's how the summer theater started there. They came down, fixed it all up, and that's how they got the summer playhouse.
Nettie: Ang, going back to the cider mill—can you tell me the procedure, how they made the cider there?
Ang: Yeah, let's see, I used to see them—there's like a conveyor—the apples go up this conveyor, and all while the apples are going up the conveyor, there's water running down, washing the apples—they had to be washed. [Chimes ringing.] Then the apples would be, would be dumped into a grinder, big grinder, after that's ground up, just like, almost like, ah—a food blender that you have, and then they would open up that container and let that mash fall on onto these big cloths that were under the press—no—this would be the press—this cloth—and they would let this pulp fall on there, and there would be a press that would squeeze the juice, and the juice would be gathered into a barrel. That's how you make your apple cider.
Nettie: That was very interesting!
Ang: Very simple. And nothing—you know—that 's what's nice about it—pure apple juice—yeah.
Nettie: I also noticed you sold vegetables. Did you—doughnuts?
Ang: For a while we tried the vegetables—oh! Doughnuts was the big thing. They decided to try the doughnuts for one year—and that really was a big success. The people would come in—we couldn’t keep up—I used to work there—and we couldn't keep up with the customers, they would be—three and four deep—wanting those hot doughnuts. They tried vegetable produce, that didn't go over so well—
Nettie: They had supermarkets for that.
Ang: Yes—well—that was a nice thought, but—
Nettie: Did you get involved in the actual making of the doughnut?
Ang: No, no, I never did. You could see them make it—you know—if you go down there—the machine does most of the work.
Nettie: You had a, quite a variety.
Ang: Yeah—cinnamon, plain, sugared—then they’d make the candied apple—they’d make them right there. Yeah.
Nettie: How were the prices?
Ang: Oh, I haven't worked there for about five years—I don't know.
Nettie: How about the prices then?
Ang: The apples were two for 25 cents—I think. The donuts were like $1.20 a dozen—but gone up a lot now. Cider, about 80 cents a gallon—now, a lot more.
Nettie: Ang, when your brother first bought the original cider mill, were they making cider?
Ang: They were not using it anymore—they—ah. He wasn't actually selling the cider—no, we never sold any—all it was, only customer milling—all it was, the farmers came in on Saturday and made their own. That’s all it was.
Nettie: It was a big business—
Ang: No, no. I remember once we had an idea. My brother Tony said, "I wonder if we'd sell some cider here—you know, if people would buy it.” I said, “Let's try putting some out." When we did, I then sold two gallons that day. After, you know, when it got, you know, when it got fixed up and everything, I think, too, how many gallons they did sell a day? I can't even—a lot.
Nettie: It was really prosperous—was very nice.
Ang: Yeah, it was funny because two gallons—
Nettie: Yes, from two gallons you got up to many thousands, right?
Ang: I think so. I'm sure they sold thousands of gallons in a day—easy.
Nettie: Did you tell me, this Chicano is where your people came from?
Ang: Uh—huh. Chicano.
Nettie: What year?
Ang: 1912—maybe. I could look on the passport—it's around that time. So that's all.
Nettie: Well, you went to the high school in Endicott, right?
Ang: Yeah, Union Endicott. Then my brother, Angelo went into business—he had the Endwell Motel in Endicott. Philip has always been an electrician, besides working in the factory. I don't know what else.
Nettie: You're involved in—how about telling me about the North Side? Do you have anything interesting to tell about—a long time ago?
Ang: Maybe. Dom [her husband] can tell you a lot about that. Just the side from how it has grown—this used to be a farm, where we live now, right here. Now we are in the middle of town—where all those houses are, we used to have cows—we used to take them to the pasture —now they’re filled up. When we moved up to this house they said, “You are up on a farm.” There was nothing here—this was the only house except Ketchak's.
Nettie: Ang, do you belong to any clubs?
Ang: Not really—church clubs. Choir.
Nettie: What church was that?
Ang: St. Anthony's. I was in the church choir for years—I always like to sing.
Nettie: Is there anything else you want to tell me?
Ang: Right now, I can't think of a thing.
Nettie: Ang, thank you very much for what you have told me. I appreciate it very much.