Robbie Bracco | robbiebracco
No Business - Just Great Discussions! Growing up in The Depression Years In Brooklyn

Growing up in The Depression Years In Brooklyn

Aug 19th 2010 at 10:17 AM

              While I am a Southern Gal, Phil Is Pure Brooklyn

Many people say that growing up in the 1940's was a difficult time.  The depression was in full bloom and many families were deprived of food and the necessities of life.  But as a boy growing up in those years, to Phil they were pure treasured memories.  Of course his parents worried about what they would eat and how they would keep the family warm and protected but under their protection he was able to simply live and do the things he wanted to do because he had the things which were most important to him - Friends and family surrounding him on all sides and he was not deprived of one the the most precious things one can have and of which most of todays children are deprived - the desire to have something but in the meantime finding alternative ways to have fun and enjoy life and until today his life is rich because of those early experiences.

One of his most frequent sayings is "I had the best childhood any person could even dream about."

Being a street Artist, Phil has created an entire collection in Watercolors which has preserved those memories for our children and grandchildren and I would like to share one of my favorites with you.

                                                          Fences, Card Board Boxes and Clotheslines

No one will ever know the countless hours we spent playing in my backyard as well as our neighbors yards.  All that our young minds could imagine would be acted out in this playground of ours.  We were coyboys, Indians, Soldiers, Firemen and especially superman!  We could perform a truly great dying scene as we got shot and rolled in the soft brown dirt.  We were always covered with dirt and our faces , legs and hands displayed it.

Screams from my Grandmother "Don't pull the clothesline down!" are still vivid in my memory today. We must have looked like large squirrels as we climbed everything imaginable - fences, drainpipes, poles and fire escapes.

Cardboard boxes were our club houses, caves and hiding places and no outsiders were allowed in.

Such a simple way of life before childrens imagination was lost with the invention of the TV, and other modern inventions which compelled the youth to stay inside and so began the demise of many of the wonderful games and interactions of neighborhood life.  The only electrical entertainment was the radio which really opened up our minds because we could imagine anything we wanted to match what we heard emanating from that talking box.  "I could see Superman flying thru the air and  outrunning a speeding train, leaping over tall buildings and landing on our fire escape.

All of these wonders were performed in our back yard in a loving environment of our Parents and other family and friends as all the heighborhood watched out for the children as they played.

A simple life which has been lost forever - never to be recaptured!  Progress?  Give me the good old days!

Phil Bracco


Please to comment
Dec 3rd 2010 at 2:50 PM by drkelp
Thanks for sharing this heart warming experience with us.
Aug 22nd 2010 at 9:43 AM by robbiebracco
One of my favorite sayings is that we have robbed our children of one of the greatest pleasures in life - the ability to yearn for something so much and for so long and then at some point in the future to finally receive it. Today's parents never allow their children to yearn for anything! They immediately run out and purchase what ever it is that they desire so they never know that wonderful feeling of accomplishment and finally the reward of getting something for which they may have worked hard for or earned.
Aug 21st 2010 at 8:25 AM by goals
I really like this article. Kids today need to be encouraged to use their imaginations more.
Aug 20th 2010 at 9:26 PM by doralo
Loved the water color, the article, everything I see on this page, by the way. And me too, as Mike, was born in the forties, only far, far away from the bombing of that awful War. Though I cannot forget my dad has always said I have "invaded" on D day... I was born a few hours after my folks heard live on the radio that the Allies had taken Normandy. But childhood memories like these?! Who doesn't have a bunch?
Aug 20th 2010 at 4:37 PM by carolann
Very good article Robbie, I enjoyed it and enjoyed reading everyones comments. Excellent pictures, Phil.
Aug 20th 2010 at 2:41 PM by robbiebracco
Welcome Jeananne, Janie and Dora! So glad to have you all following this chain. I think you are going to like some of the things Phil and I have to share with you. And Jeananne I too can remember the flour sacks and how I wore dresses to school made by my aunts using the sacks they had just finished the last cup of flour from to bake fresh biscuits for the family breakfast. I can still smell the aroma of fresh biscuits, bacon and real coffee coming from the kitchen. Years later my cousin commented to Phil and I when we visited the old homestead of my grandparents which is still owned by family members that even though he had traveled the world in his business that there was no place he would rather be than on this back porch where in his memory he could still see his Mom pouring the dishwater out in the yard from that old wooden porch! Wonderful memories!
Aug 20th 2010 at 9:41 AM by jawsie1951
Signed up here yesterday and glad I di..finally something with quality and class.... Wow thanks for sharing this...My parents were depression era folks too. My moms family lost everything and my dads lost their farm. There were 8 of us living in a 3 bedroom house in the 50's. (midwest catholics)yikes! My favorite memory is using the treadle sewing machine at 7 years old making flour sacks for my grandmothers new venture a drygoods store. Then using the empty sacks to make shorts for my sisters. I've had a disability since birth and learned at an early age that this could not hold me back! Kids today are so priveledged...but we've made them this way not wanting them to have our childhood...boy are we wrong! Jeananne
Aug 20th 2010 at 7:39 AM by janiekm
Given the chance, young children today would still rather play with the boxes than the contents.
Aug 20th 2010 at 6:19 AM by robbiebracco
Sounds like great stuff for your own faceplate Mike. These stories need to be shared lest they be lost for ever. Personal stories by ordinary people are the untold stories that people need to hear.
Aug 19th 2010 at 8:50 PM by BangkokMike
Great Article Phil !! Really enjoyed reading it. I grew up in London, England in the 1940's Of course the first 5 of those years Hitler was bombing us - several houses near us were destroyed by Arial Bombings. When the Air Raid sirens started "Howling" we all clambered in to our "Anderson Shelter" a steel box that we could hopefully survive in - if the house collapsed on us. Mike
Aug 19th 2010 at 5:46 PM by robbiebracco
Thank you so much Stella! Yes our son had the go karts and I have art that show's what happened. LOL I always say create memories for they shall sustain you. That's one thing which cannot be taken from us.
Aug 19th 2010 at 3:34 PM by visionary
Wow! Growing up in the depression really touched me! I, myself, grew up in the 50's.I am sure my parents could've told me something, but they never mentioned it. I was one of 7 children,and yes, we were poor, but we never felt like it. We created the same games as you did, only we made go-carts and had contests. We had to be home when the street light came on, and if you did something you shouldn't, the news got home before you did... back then, the whole neighborhood raised you! Love the Art, by the way. Stella
Aug 19th 2010 at 2:50 PM by robbiebracco
Thanks Gwen and Rick! So glad you liked it.
Aug 19th 2010 at 2:13 PM by onefinefox
Hey, Phil! Nothing better than the simple life! Love the pics and the book.
Aug 19th 2010 at 1:32 PM by RickNauman
Awesome art work, great job
Aug 19th 2010 at 12:08 PM by robbiebracco
Thank you so much Suzi! Glad you enjoyed it.
Aug 19th 2010 at 12:04 PM by suzz5324
Beautiful and I love water colors.................

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