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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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The Making of Three Americas

By Robert B. Creamer '41, William Saunders '41, and Vincent Gold '41

The Magpie, June 1937, v. 21, n. 2., p. 25.

HEIRLOOMS

The year 1904 saw Russia battling Japan for supremacy. Cannons were booming, bayonets were flashing, and bullets were flying fast and furiously. Ammunitions were badly needed. Knives, locks and other steel materials were melted and made into bullets.

My grandfather, then the richest merchant in Czenstochowa, a city in Russo - Poland, controlled a large steel factory. Most of his trade was done with the Japanese. A shipload of steel worth thousands of dollars was bound for Japan. Little did he realize that the Russian Army and Navy were demolishing all warlike materials. As quickly as the steel was made, the Russians seized it. Having lost a valuable shipment, he was obliged to close his factory. Forced to flee for his life, he came to America on the Kaiser Wilhelm DeGrosse.

Realizing that he had to make good in a new world with entirely different surroundings, in order to support his family of four, he worked diligently by day and studied hard by night to master the English language. After receiving his citizenship papers, he took an examination for a court interpreter and, with his knowledge of several foreign languages, received the highest average, and so was the first one to be appointed. In this way he served the U.S.A. and was thankful that his children were to be brought up in the land of the free.

Robert B. Creamer '41

WITHOUT POMP

This story relates one of the most interesting experiences that occurred during my English grandfather's life. At the time of this story, he was living with his parents in England. One day there was great excitement in his town for Queen Victoria was going to open a ball. My grandfather wanted very much to see the Queen, so he ran up the Main Street to get to the place where the Queen would pass. But it was very hard for a little boy to get through a large crowd. So he decided he would take a short cut through the side streets in an attempt to get there ahead of the crowd. As he was rushing around a corner, he bumped into a rather stout, finely dressed lady. Begging her pardon, he was about to run off. But the lady said, "Little boy, where are you going in such a hurry?"

He replied, "To see the Queen."

The lady smiled at him and said, "You might as well go home because you have just seen her."

He rushed home to tell his parents about it. After they had listened to his story, they said that it was probably a practical joker. But the following day changed their views because an article in the local paper reported that the Queen had come up a side street to avoid the crowd. Furthermore, my grandfather identified the picture of the Queen in the paper as the same lady he had bumped into. This story has been a favorite with our family ever since, for we are still fond of English royalty, though we are good Americans.

William Saunders '41

CATHERINE DOOLEY

Catherine Dooley was one of the prettiest women in the Killarney section of Ireland. But she was very small, only about four feet ten inches in height. Mrs. Dooley came to America when she was about thirty years old and died at the age of one hundred. Even at this very old age, she still retained some of her beauty.

As all the fine Irishwomen did at one time, she wore little white lace caps and she looked very dainty in them. She was quite lively considering her age.

This lady from Killarney had two sons, both of whom, when they were old enough, went to the Klondike Region to prospect for gold. They "struck it rich," and every three months they would send $90 home to help support their mother. But after a few years of hardships and poor living conditions, one of the brothers died of tuberculosis. The other one, after amassing a nice little fortune, settled in Walla Walla in the state of Washington, and his family and descendants are still living there. Catherine Dooley was my great-great-grandmother. And so she was one who contributed to the making of an American—me.

Vincent Gold '41




The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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