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Interview with Jenny Tokos Gaidorus

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Contributor

Gaidorus, Jenny Tokos ; Caganek, Anna

Description

Jenny Tokos Gaidorus talks about immigrating through Ellis Island and then moving to Johnson City, NY where she worked in a cigar factory and the Endicott Johnson Corporation. She discusses being a widow and raising her children alone. She supported herself by renting rooms in her house to baseball players. She discusses her medical conditions and operations she underwent, which resulted in moving into a nursing home.

Date

1978-03-03

Rights

This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as: Broome County Oral History Project, Special Collections, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections for more information.

Date Modified

2016-03-27

Is Part Of

Broome County Oral History Project

Extent

24:02 Minutes

Transcription

Broome County Oral History Project

Interview with: Jenny Tokos Gaidorus

Interviewed by: Anna Caganek

Date of interview: 3 March 1978


Jenny: I came here in 1914, I was about 12 years old and I came to Ellis Island. They kept me there for three days until my aunt put up a $500 bond for me—

Anna: Go on.

Jenny: —Then I came here, then I went to school for a while and I liked it, and I said, “I'm going to work for Endicott Johnson,” and I started working. I was 14 years old in E.J., then I went to the cigar factory for $2.00 a week, and I was doing a little housework for 50 cents a week and it was, kind of hard, so then—what do you want me to say?

Anna: Where.

Jenny: I worked in the shoe factory, then when the work was slow I went to the cigar factory. It wasn’t hard to get a job. When it was bad in the cigar factory we went back to the shoe factory and work like that, and I was young, I got married and then I had the children one after the other, but I was working in E.J.

Anna: How many children did you have?

Jenny: Four children, and well, we had to go to work for 8 and 9 dollars a week. That, and then my husband died, I was 28 years old and I had 4 small children, then I was working, and then I got so sick that the doctor put me out from the factory, and so I make a living home. I had baseball players, roomers, and took care of the kids on the street, and made a living like that, and everything.

I was a widow for 14 years, and I got married again, and then I had operations, one after the other, and have half of my stomach out and all those things, and a Pacemaker, and now they took my both feet off, amputated, and I—one was maybe below the knee at two year ago. And a year ago they had to take the other one off, so I am in a nursing home paying $2500 a month. Is it going?

Anna: Yes, go on.

Jenny: It was kinda hard and it is hard now, I had one boy that was killed in 1942, in a car accident with another boy, and then my other son died, was 49 years old. I have one son in Arizona. A daughter is here living on Front Street, and she's not well either, she don’t come up to see me much, she can’t. And well, I'm in a bed most of the time, and in a wheelchair. They put me on about 1:30 and then I stay in the wheelchair about 2 hours or so, and then they put me back in bed, and so I'm in bed most of the time.

Anna: You were saying that you liked sports.

Jenny: Baseball. I used to have the baseball players living up to my house, and I used to cook for them and do their washing, and then they had a write-up about the baseball park, how they—once in a while I went to the ballgames, and they had fights there. And wrestling, I used to like to go and see that, and I play Bingo a lot. Even we play Bingo every Monday here. (Cough).

Anna: And when you were young, what did you do for amusement?

Jenny: I didn't have time, I had washing and then ironing to do all the time.

Anna: Did you ever go dancing?

Jenny: No, I didn’t. I would sneak out and I went to Bingo.

Anna: Did you ever go to Ross Park, or to the band concert?

Jenny: No, I didn't have time for that. I used to play Bingo. I used to take care of the children and the chickens, and garden and canning, all day.

Anna: How much did you can every year?

Jenny: About one thousand quarts, everything from the garden—pear trees, cherry trees.

Anna: That’s the way people lived those days.

Jenny: Yes, those days that’s the way you did. We didn't make much money. It was better for me to stay home than have somebody to take care of the children and I every way, different ways.

Anna: Your children are all grown up, anyway.

Jenny: Now, yes, one son is in Arizona, going to have open heart surgery, yes, and I don’t know when, maybe next week, someday.

Anna: Could you remember, think of anything else?

Jenny: No, was busy all the time with cooking and baking, and I worked in the Johnson City Legion for about seven years, had had charge of the kitchen there and I worked there for fifty cents an hour.

Anna: Can you think of anything else?

Jenny: No, that’s it.

Anna: Thank you.

Date of Interview

1978-03-03

Interviewer

Caganek, Anna

Interviewee

Gaidorus, Jenny Tokos

Duration

24:02 Minutes

Date of Digitization

2016-03-27

Collection

Broome County Oral History Project

Subject LCSH

Gaidorus, Jenny Tokos -- Interviews; Broome County (N.Y.) -- History; Immigrants -- Interviews; Cigar industry; Johnson City (N.Y.); Endicott Johnson Corporation -- Employees -- Interviews; Medical care

Rights Statement

This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as: Broome County Oral History Project, Special Collections, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections for more information.

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Item Information

About this Collection

Collection Description

The Broome County Oral History Project was conceived and administered by the Senior Services Unit of the Office for the Aging. Funding for this project was provided by the Broome County Office of Employment and Training (C.E.T.A.), with additional funding from the Senior Service Unit of the National Council on Aging and Broome… More

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Citation

“Interview with Jenny Tokos Gaidorus,” Digital Collections, accessed July 25, 2024, https://omeka.binghamton.edu/omeka/items/show/509.