By Richard Valeriote
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Additional info for Alice Street: A Memoir
Mr Ferraro was an old, heavyset man who spoke in a booming voice and sat on his porch ﬁngering his rosary beads, his lips moving in silent prayer. I would wave to him and he always waved back. Mrs Ferraro was short and could barely see over the porch railing. Whenever someone passed, she’d lift herself up on the arms of her chair and crane to see who it was, then sit down again. Mrs Dupuis seldom smiled as she sat on her porch waving her ever-present fan. I imagined that her dourness reﬂected some painful secret.
His apparent disapproval caught me off guard. ” Mike ﬂew out of the chair and stormed out of the house, headed for the store. I tagged along at some distance and hung back as Mike chastised Dominic for steering me away from the college prep program. Dominic was equally vociferous. “Who’s going to pay for it? I’ve suffered enough in this store, having to earn the money for you and Silvio to go to Western. ” Mike prevailed by pointing out that, since I would have to start high school over again, this meant the ﬁrst tuition payment was ﬁve years away – the usual four years of high school plus the customary college prep year of our British-inﬂuenced school system.
It was improbable because I had to grow up fast, ﬂirted with the Grim Reaper once or twice, went to bed hungry more nights than I care to remember, and survived thanks to a series of small miracles facilitated by family, friends, and strangers alike. If I hadn’t lived it, I’d swear it was ﬁction. It seems ﬁtting now that my life began just a couple of months before the Wall Street Crash of October 1929 that killed off the Roaring Twenties and ushered in the Great Depression. Born 5 August, I was my mother’s ﬁfteenth child and her next to last.