East Side Story

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East Side Story

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East Side Story
by Martha Tarcici

This story takes place during the Second World War, when the U.S. was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt declares it to be a day that will live in infamy.

East Side Story is about how we lived in extreme poverty on the Lower East Side and struggled to have a better life.

We are four girls from three different families who are determined to live in better conditions than our immigrant parents. The possibility of marrying a rich man to take us away from it all is not excluded.

About the Author

I was born of immigrant parents and raised on the Lower East Side between different ethnic groups. As children, when we played together on the sidewalks of New York, it was known as Hells Kitchen because it was sweltering hot in the summer. Our tenement building, where we lived, was bitter cold in the winter, with no steam or hot running water.

During the Great Depression, my sister and I hardly had anything to eat. We had no breakfast or lunch. Only at dinnertime did we have some lentil soup with a slice of bread or potato pancakes. When Roosevelt was elected president, he gave us a glass of milk and a sandwich for lunch in grade school. He created jobs all over America and the economic situation improved.

I was determined to overcome deprivation and poverty by making something of myself. I worked my way through college and became a schoolteacher. Eventually I was able to leave the Lower East Side and have a better life.

(2010, paperback, 198 pages)