Family History 2

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Magdeline Orost Turoczi, 1920-2005
Magdeline Orost Turoczi, 1920-2005

By Magdeline Orosz Turoczi, 1987

I remember when we moved into a shack in Randall W.Va. We moved from Phoenixville. Piroska and Gizella was Mom and Pop's first born. They died as infants. Elsie and I were also born in Phoenixville.

Aunt Elizabeth convinced Father that Randall W.Va. was the place to live. Aunt Elizabeth's first husband was killed in the coal mines. (Stephen Kulcsar.)

Pop papered that shack with newspapers so the wind wouldn't blow in. That was where we lived when Elsie started school. Mom told me to walk to school with Elsie and then come back. We had to walk through the woods, but after Elsie told me about all the animals hiding in the woods, I was afraid to walk back home. Mom had to pick me up.

Finally we were able to move into a small company house. I think they only had so many company houses and you had to wait your turn. They had a company store. I remember going to the store with Mom. We bought everything on a book. The miners had to buy their own dynamite and caps to take to work at the store. I wonder if coal miners still do that?

We went to a one room school. Besides learning reading and writing they taught us manners. We would never walk into the school room when someone was praying. We were taught to address elders by Mr. and Mrs.

We had great recesses. We would play cowboy and Indians. I got to be Tony, Tom Mix's horse.

I remember there was only one community water pump, where everyone got their water. On wash days we had to carry buckets of water. It must have been about three or four city blocks. We had to hang onto the pump to pull the handle down to get water.

We also had to pick the coal from the railroad tracks and carry them home. One day I picked all this coal and carried it to our gate, when Elsie came running out. That was the day the window fell on brother Elmer's fingers. I ran into the house. When I came back, no coal, Michael May had taken it into his house. He was the neighbor boy. I wonder where he is today. It's only when someone cheats use that we remember.

There is only a few families I remember--My family, Perry and Novachinko a Russian Family. Pop used to send me to this Russian family if he loaned a tool or had to borrow one. They lived quite a distance and I had to go through the woods to get there. I remember hiding behind trees till men would pass by. There were Mexicans and Blacks there also. When I think about it, Angels sure protected us.

There weren't any Protestant churches in Randall. I do remember a catholic church. I do remember that these ladies came to the school on a Sunday afternoon and held classes. They wore gray habits. I think they were Lutherans. That's where I learned “Jesus loves the Little Children.” Sometimes men would come and talk to Pop and Mom. Pop called them "Hinols" callers. They were missionaries.

In the coal mines they would work six months and strike six months at least. That's what I heard Pop say. They had the Scabs and then the men that stuck with the Unions.

I remember the "ladies" taking their chamber pots down to the tracks and when the Scabs would go by on the motor cars, the "ladies" would let the contents of the pots fly on the miners. Aunt Elizabeth was one. Mom would never hurt a fly.

I remember the mine whistle blow. Then all of the ladies would run to the mouth of the mines to see who would be bought up from the mines, hurt or dead. Pop got his foot hurt badly once. He also got arthritis from the mines. The ladies would cry in panic. When the mines got filled with gas they would send canaries down if they flew out then it was safe for the men to go to work.

I remember when Elmer and Irene were born. I remember when a minister came to our house to baptize Irene. Elmer was baptized in Star City.

We moved to Saberton in W.Va. when the mines were closed in Randall. That was a nice place. We moved back to Randall again to a larger company house. It was on top of a hill we could see the Monongahela River. Show boats would go by once in a while. We could see them all lit up at night. My cousin Rose told me that there was music and dancing. I thought how wonderful that must be.

We had 40 peach trees and Mom had a lot of chickens. She would sell them to people. I used to feed them. I felt so bad when they had to be killed for food. To this day I don't eat chickens. I do remember one Christmas my cousin Betty Ivanoff bought us some toys. It was an ironing board and Iron. That's all I remember about Christmas in W.Va.

When Steve Kulscar was 13 years old, he jumped out of the school window he was a big boy so his step father (John Horvath) took him into the mines to work. He worked till they came to Phoenixville.

Mom hated everyday she spent in W.Va. I could still hear her pleading with Pop to come back to Phoenixville. I thought Phoenixville must be a great place. Finally Mom won out. I remember coming on the train to relatives living on East Morgan Street (Louis Toth Family). I seen all these houses so close together, they weren't painted, no yards hardly, no electric. Why would anyone want to come to Phoenixville I wondered?

In W.Va. we even had electric in the out house this was 1927 or 1928.

Irene had the measles; we had to quickly find a house. They used to put a tag on your door. No one was allowed in outside of the family. We moved to Bridge Street.

Pop got a job in the Phoenix Iron Company. We moved to Walnut Street then to 11 Hall Street. Finally Mom & Pop bought 5 Hall Street.

It was there that Pop got his first heart attack, one of many, seventeen according to Dr. Rulon.

It was on Hall Street that we had some of our school years. I was eleven years old, Joe must have been 8, Elmer was 5 and Irene must have been two Elsie was thirteen.

Joe loved to swim. Both boys worked at the Country Club Golf Course in Valley Forge. Elsie and I both did house work after school. This was during the Great Depression. Pop worked only one day in two weeks. Pop was a pipe smoker. We never knew then that smoking caused heart attacks and cancer I remember Pop begging one of the store keepers (Soloup) to give him a little bit of tobacco till pay day. She wouldn't do it.

One of the store keepers, Frank Toth gave credit to $100 and then you couldn't buy credit after that. Up till then every foreign and poor family bought on credit and paid on pay day. Food was high in little Mom & Pop stores. The families found out you could buy cheaper at the A&P and Acme. Mom said that was a blessing. Frank Toth told me that of all his customers, our family was the only one that paid the $100 back.

It was on Hall Street Elsie and I got jobs in Parson & Bakers. It was slave labor. When Roosevelt got in, we got 25 cents an hour. We got eight hours before it was 10 or 12 hours--no overtime pay.

While we lived on Hall Street our cousin, Margaret Horvath died. That was Olga Chuckoluck's sister. She was 19 or 20 years old.

Elsie and I would go to Philadelphia about once a month. We went to the Earl Theater. We saw Gene Autry, Ronnie Reagan (future President) - who would have thought I touched him. Regan’s future wife Jane Wyman was also there.

Betty Gombos was one of our best friends. We used to walk to Valley Forge Park. Climb up the mountain and walk the trails. We then walked home again. We never ever hopped a ride.

When Betty land Gus got married I was one of the brides maids, so was Lenke, she just came from Hungary. We became friends. She has been my best friend for about fifty five years.

Elsie met Matt at a park in Royersford. I met Joseph Turoczi at a Church Social.

Meanwhile, the war broke out. Joe and Lou graduated. We moved to Buchanan Street. Joe moved to New Jersey. Lou went into the Navy. Joe went into the Signal Corps.

Joe Orost got married to Ruth Hubbard from Bayonne, NJ. They had a daughter Pamela. I was at her christening. Joe was in Texas when she was born, I think. (Pamela is the same age as Ronnie Yancik).

Elsie got married to Matthew Yancik. He was in the Army at Camp Lee, Virginia. Jennie Gombos married Alex Turoczi about the same time. John Yancik was in the Army, he was a Japanese prisoner for years. He was with McArthur in the Philippines. Joe Orost was also in the Philippines but that was later.

Joseph Turoczi was drafted into the Army. He was in the Fifth Army, 27th Armored Division. He went to Fort Campbell for Basic Training. They took him right over seas to Africa where he was with Patton. Then to the beach head of Anzio. He stayed in Italy most of the War. June was only seven years old. There was no one to write to Joe except June. She just told me how she had to print whatever her Mom told her to write.

I worked in a Defense Plant (Dalhers) making firing pins. I was a Red Cross Nurses Aid at Phoenix Hospital. We were also USO girls. We visited blind and wounded soldiers at Valley Forge Hospital.

The war in Europe was going on when they dropped the bombs on Pearl Harbor. I can still remember the speech Roosevelt made at the Day in infamy. "This shall live in Infamy, I think. I thought the war would never end.

Ronny was born, I just adored him. Irene was having problems at home so I grabbed her and took her to New Brunswick, NJ. I remember Mom used to live there when she came to America.

I was in New Jersey when getting on the bus I heard people saying the President Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. The war was soon over.

Irene met Fred Strain when he was stationed at Valley Forge Army Hospital. She went back to Arkansas with him when he was discharged. They were married in Arkansas.

Lou was still in the Navy when I got married. He was on the USS Core in the Atlantic - went to Newfoundland and England and other ports. Later he was a plank owner on the USS Boxer that was an aircraft carrier built at Newport News on the Atlantic and they took it into the Pacific where they went to Japan, Australia.

I remember Lou went to Ohio after getting out of the Navy, and then he went to New Jersey and stayed with Jean and Joe for a while. Later he bought a house in Point Pleasant. He met Margaret Albiez there, they married short time later. They have two children, Louis and Margaret Ann.

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