My Italian Family

Below  The Joseph Mango fanily 1945  Hornell NY - L to R Back Ann age 91, John 88, Marie passed away1969  Sitting Mother passaway1986, Lena age 84 and Dad passed away 1966



The Great Depression started for

or our family in September of 1933 when dad was laid off from his job as Erie railroad’s boilermaker helper. The Erie was doing the best they could to keep the line afloat, but dad did not have steady work until January of 1939. Our parents also had to deal with two terrible burdens. One was the Great Depression, and the other was the death of our dear little sister in December  of 1933. She died of le ukemia.

Dad and mother labored almost six years to keep food on the table for us kids. At our home on 612 Prospect Street in Susquehanna,  Pennsylvania, Dad had a large area in the back and side of our home where he grew all the vegetables we could eat. We ate fresh tomatoes, corn and green beans on a regular basis. Mother would put away over 100 cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce each summer that would last until we got a new batch of tomatoes the following year. She would also can the sweet corn and green beans in preparation for the long year.We had a cow that provided all our milk, enough for mother to make her own cheese. For about two years we had two cows, and during that period Mother sold milk to our neighbors. We also had a goat that dad raised for its milk that was used to make into excellent cheese. Lar, when the goat stopped giving milk, dad My had it butchered. We ate goat ribs ala cacciatore and roasted goat shanks for some time after.

Dad did not care for potatoes. In Italy he said they raised potatoes to feed the pigs, not to eat at the table. Hence, our family rarely ate potatoes during the Great Depression. One year, dad planted potatoes, and shortly thereafter he came home with a little piglet. The following summer, after consuming all of dad’s potatoes, the grown and fattened pig was butchered. We feasted on ham hocks, blood sausage, ham steaks, pork ribs and pork sausages for quite some time. Mother also sold choice cuts of meat to neighbors.Mother had enough money to buy eggs and occasionally a chicken to make Italian chicken soup, especially when a family member was sick. Pasta was only 10 cents a pound, and mother always had enough money to fill our stomachs with pasta whenever we desired.

Because of my parent’s dedication and hard work to their plants and live stock, my sisters and I never went hungry during those rough years. Mother made Macaroni Pie often, always adding in her homemade ricotta, her homemade cheese and purchased diced ham. A slice of Macaroni Pie was all the nutrition a child needed for lunch or dinner…or anytime we were hungry. Today I am forever thankful that mother had enough ingredients to make Macaroni Pie. Mother and dad provided a better diet for us kids than most of our neighbors could those many years ago.


*   “There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to

the way they were." General and President Dwight David Eisenhower

See photos below or  Home

fMother and Dad cutting their 38 anniversary cake in July 1957


Marie 1939

Marie visiting our cousin Frank Mango when he was on leave from Army summer 1943


Angelo Mango the oldest and first of the 6 brothers to came to America. He later provided the money so his younger brothers could also come to America. Three of the six would later return to Italy to raise their families Angelo being one of them. My dad, his maternal twin Pasquale and Bernardino remained in America.

Maacroni Pie

1. Cook one pound of spaghetti or vermicelli, your choice. After the pasta is cooked drain water and then add cold water until it is cold. Beat 5 eggs and mix with cold pasta. Add: salt grated cheeses (Romano, Parmiggiano, or Asiago) Then add one cup of cubed ham one inch or smaller. Other items one may add instead of ham are anchovies or sausage Pieces.

2. Mix all ingredients well.

3. Place in cake tin so that mixture is not more than 4 inches deep.

4. Place in preheated 300 degree oven and bake for 30-45 minutes.

5. Mother occasionally would brown the mixture in a large frying pan and place the pan and mixture in the oven to bake. Other times she would put pie crust on the bottom and top of mixture before she baked it.