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Theodore Carino

Oral history interview conducted by Patricia Pasick

August 26, 2004

Call number: 2013.001.03

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PASICK: Okay Dad, umm uh. Let me tell you about this project first. Are you comfortable?


PASICK: Okay, Alright. I have, you know, as your daughter, have lots of questions about your life, and you know we talk and I write and sometimes we tape like we did yesterday. But what I'm doing here is slightly different this is for something I hope to write about some day so I'm changing hats a little bit now I'm an interviewer and I'm a psychologist, okay? And I'm still your 1:00daughter but there are certain rules when I put this hat on that are in your benefit and I want to tell you those rules. One is that I would never write anything down or speak about you and your experiences without your permission.


PASICK: Okay. So anything that you tell me today you'll be able to review and you'll be able to know so that I won't take this material and go use it or tell people-

CARINO: Oh, I don't care what you do.

PASICK: Well but you know what I mean. That's a rule for research. You know, it's the people who you interview with are, you know, this is a privileged place and you're doing something for me that is very important. And so you know you're ways to protect you here is that I would never use any of this material without you knowing about it. Okay? Or signing off on it. The other thing is, is that I normally, you know-if-there are times that I will probably use parts of these 2:00interviews and not identify you by name, other times I might say "My father said" okay, but you have the chance to say "You know, I don't want that in there" or "Let's not put that in there." Okay? What hopefully what you'll do here today, though, is you'll feel free to just talk and trust that I'm not going to talk to mom about this, [laughter] my brothers about it. This is just a special thing -

CARINO: Oh I see, that's a -

PASICK: I know, but this is, I'm not interviewing you as a family member.

CARINO: It'll only be anything that I've never talked to Peter or mom's never asked me about or anything ­

PASICK: Right. And like there might be some questions you haven't even thought about or some stories that come to mind that you've never told people about. Let me get a pillow for your back. That's a little better.

CARINO: Oh, that's good.

PASICK: Yeah. Umm, so, you know this is special material for you and I and umm I'm not, you can tell anyone you want about it. But I'm not going to go say to 3:00mom about it, to Pete, Joey, to Pete, Phil, Chad.

CARINO: Oh, that's all right because if you write they'll read about it so.

PASICK: Right, right. Okay, so, so so? Are we straight on that?

CARINO: Yeah, I'm okay. I don't care.

PASICK: The other thing I want to tell you is that, you know, I want you to think of yourself as someone with very special information that's really important to share with people because, you know, in this country now there's lots of inter-racial marriage, right? There are lots of minorities, there are lots of people of color in the United States. So there is a very high interest right now in trying to figure out how parents and how society can best handle these, all these differences, this melting pot society of ours and our country. So I want you to think of yourself as an authority. You are a special authority 4:00on what it was like to grow up at a time in this country when there was much less racial inter-marriage many fewer children of mixed-race parents, as you were. So you have, you have, your story is extremely important to other people in your generation. Very very important. So I want you to think that, hopefully, to feel good that you're making a real contribution here. Okay?

CARINO: Oh --Yeah

PASICK: Okay whatever

CARINO: Yeah whatever

PASICK: Okay Alright. Enough speeches. You can just look at me and don't worry about the camera. We're going to have a conversation.

CARINO: Go ahead and ask me some questions. [laughter] Yeah okay. [laughter]

PASICK: Okay so the first question is-- How do you identify yourself racially, right now at your age?

CARINO: Just as an American


PASICK: As an American.


PASICK: Okay. So that American is about what country you are a citizen of. How about along racial lines? How do you identify yourself now? Like, if you had to fill out a form that said "check" you know, racial category.

CARINO: I still fill it out as American or Caucasian

PASICK: Or Caucasian

CARINO: Or not other

PASICK: Not other. Okay so you, it usually says White, Black, Hispanic

CARINO: Which they don't do anymore, they might say-

PASICK: No, no they do now, like in a census for example. If somebody came around-

CARINO: Yeah maybe

PASICK: What would you check?

CARINO: See you gotta understand when I grew up as a kid there were only two kinds of people. In our neighborhood it's either Black or all the others.

PASICK: Black or all the others.


PASICK: Not White and Black?

CARINO: No just, whatever. There was only a separation. You were either Black or 6:00anything other, other than that.

PASICK: Okay, alright. Well think about right now. If for example you were going to the doctor and you had like a million different things to choose from would you tend to choose White or would you tend to choose Asian or other

CARINO: No, I would choose White because that's what, mostly, well yeah.

PASICK: Okay, that's fine. Just curious. Now has that changed from when you were a child? Did you always identified yourself as White?

CARINO: Yes, yeah always. Well you had to. That was only--you were either Black or what else. That's all there was. When I entered the service you was either Black or you wasn't.

PASICK: Umm, have you ever had an opportunity to identify -if you had an opportunity as a child to identify yourself as a Filipino or Asian, do you think you would have checked those boxes?

CARINO: I-well that depends how often-I don't know. I wouldn't have checked 7:00either of those.

PASICK: Okay that's fine


PASICK: That's fine.

CARINO: See I was never around the Filipino atmosphere when I was a kid because I was always with mom. We never went any place. You know. It wasn't until I became a teenager we started going to Filipino affairs. When I was like 17, 18, 16. Well, when I was a child if ever mom ever got to Philadelphia whenever they had the Rizal ball and I'd a went there. But Filipinos never affected me as Filipino people they were just people. I have never had a feeling for the heritage of Filipinos.

PASICK: And how do you understand that? Why do you think that is? In terms of how you were raised?

CARINO: Well, it might have been as a youngster, you know, if you didn't look all White, like Clifford and I, used to call us chink. You know.


PASICK: You would call Clifford chink?

CARINO: Well other kids-once in a while. You look like a chink to me.

PASICK: And what is chink mean to you?

CARINO: Chinese. It's Chinese. Of course, Chinese.

PASICK: Go ahead

CARINO: And, it kind of was like, a thing, but you figured ah well that's too complicated. You know, it's kind of like a scar you live with. I don't want to be I'm not a chink.

PASICK: Right, you're not

CARINO: I don't even like the name of it. So I never associated with it.

PASICK: Okay. Now if someone said to you instead, "Hey, are you Chinese?" Would you have felt like that was a racial slur?

CARINO: No, I'd say no. But no, no, no. I wouldn't. I probably I might have said "No, I'm Filipino." If somebody was querying me said "Why do you look the way you look?" Then, I, you know.

PASICK: Yes, yes. Now do you think your parents thought much about race?

CARINO: [laughter] I guess mom did, she married a Filipino. I don't think mom 9:00did, I remember, we had a mailman when I was a child in Philly, he was Black, his name was Jerry. And I guess during the holidays mom would like offer him a drink when he come by, he was a mailman, Black. And that was the first Black person I ever - I was able to see something was different. He's Black, he's a Black man.

PASICK: Would you say that's your first memory of thinking about race?

CARINO: That's my first memory of a Black--No, I never even thought of race.

PASICK: Until, like Jerry

CARINO: I never. Probably when-I never thought about race. Race was race. It was not an issue. I never grew up with that. The only time it got -well, when the first time, when I was going to get marr-you know thinking of married. Dad said 10:00"Well you know, you're Filipino. Her parents may not like that idea." You, know.

PASICK: Was that a surprise to you?

CARINO: I never thought of that.

PASICK: Was that a surprise to you? That he would raise that concern?

CARINO: Well, it wasn't a surprise, no. Not as a surprise "oh my God." It was kinda like, I would probably felt, don't worry about it, I'm not worried about it don't you worry about it. But it was a problem. It was.

PASICK: Can you tell that story you started to tell about yesterday, about Alice, her family?

CARINO: Well I went up there. For what reason I went up--I don't know--I went up there and she had a girlfriend up there and I said, "is Alice upstairs?" "Well her dad doesn't want her to see you cause of your race." So I walked away.

PASICK: Wow. And then what happened?

CARINO: Well, then she called me up and said, "it's fine I talked to my dad come on over." I went, and I saw him.


PASICK: And how did that meeting go? How did that go? Did you feel the need to explain anything to him?


PASICK: Did he ask you any questions about it?

CARINO: No. Never. Nothing into that. And her mother was never a problem.

PASICK: Never a problem. Right

CARINO: And her uncle and I hit it off well. His uncle was an engineer and I was going to Polytech at that time.

PASICK: Oh yeah. So you had that in common.

CARINO: Yeah. And it was never a problem with them, it was just-but then he just. Nothing after that.

PASICK: So back to grandma and Pop Pop, umm, I was asking about whether they ever made reference to race about the fact that they had an unusual marriage?



CARINO: The only thing I heard about was. Oh, I don't know who I heard it from or what. But it was one of the problems with my grand mom and grandfather.

PASICK: And your grandfather.

CARINO: Course all the three girls married Filipinos. See? And that was. I had 12:00never seen him. My grandma lived with us, in Philly. So I remember her.

PASICK: So who told you this? Do you remember who told you this?

CARINO: No. I don't know where I ever got that from. I don't know how I ever came about that. I don't even know when he died, my grandfather. Before I was born, or after who got married, or whatever.

PASICK: I think he was born actually a year before-­

CARINO: He died. Yeah, but he died.

PASICK: The year before you were born.

CARINO: He died 1920, I think. So mom was already, Aunt Cath, Aunt [unintelligible] were all married to Filipinos.

PASICK: Did, uh, do you think your parents realized they were making a mixed race marriage?

CARINO: No. They, oh I don't know. They never-not to my-never discussed that. 13:00That was never discussed.

PASICK: Okay that's fine. Looking back now when you think about, you know, 1916.

CARINO: Well that's before my time

PASICK: Right, and thinking about your grandmother and her sisters and what they did there and marrying Filipinos. Do you think that is a courageous thing, as a unconscious thing, just something they did?

CARINO: Well, I never thought of that. How come mom ever married a Filipino? And uh.

PASICK: Yeah right, that's okay.

CARINO: Those are topics of times when people -that was never-it was only particular growing up, for parents it was your growing up. You never got history like that.

PASICK: What words did your parents use to identify your races? What would Pop 14:00Pop call himself? Asian?

CARINO: No. Filipino. Never called himself an Asian. Always a Filipino.

PASICK: Always a Filipino.

CARINO: They were segregating us. They could only-they could never rise above-doing a regular-just stewards, just cooks and stewards. Waiters, in the service.

PASICK: Not until 1967.

CARINO: Well, then, oh well, during the war Quinto was Filipino, he became an officer. And that was changing a little bit then. They had the regular African, Black cadets. And they were still separated, but they became officers. But they still-

PASICK: How about grandmom, did she refer to herself as White?

CARINO: White.

PASICK: Did she use the word White? I mean did that word come into-­

CARINO: Oh, now I. Those are kind of topics, when I never talked about race like that. If you talked about anything it might have been religion, like that.


PASICK: Or German. Did she ever call herself German?

CARINO: No. She never. Nope, she never. Nope. If she referred to herself to somebody she probably would have said "I'm part Norwegian and I'm part German." I never heard her use the word White.

PASICK: Did that word, part, ever come into your sense of yourself racially. Like "I'm part White, part Filipino."

CARINO: I never. No. But my concentration was, "Oh, I'm American."

PASICK: Yeah Right, right. Umm, so you were telling me, maybe you already answered this question. The question is, what is your earliest memory about being aware of your race? Your race. Is it adolescence? Or when kids started calling names?

CARINO: Oh yeah, probably. One time you might have thought that-­

PASICK: You were just a kid.

CARINO: You took it as an affront, you know. It was like uh­nothing to be proud 16:00of, if you recall, a chink.

PASICK: Yeah, absolutely

CARINO: Well, it's just like if you called an Italian a dago. They didn't liked that either.

PASICK: Now do you remember how old you were when that happened?

CARINO: Oh probably. Oh let's see, probably when I started to get into being, oh public school probably in Brooklyn. I guess I would have to be between -we moved there when I was seven. To eleven, in that age bracket.

PASICK: So that would have had you in New York?

CARINO: Then I go to Philly-No, it was in Brooklyn.

PASICK: It was in Brooklyn, this happened. You don't remember this happening in Philly.

CARINO: Oh, no, no. I was just a child. The only friend I remember was Louie Ramagli was my little friend down the corner there.


PASICK: Did you ever feel different from the boys in the neighborhood? I guess we could talk about-


PASICK: Pre-, I mean once somebody began to-

CARINO: The only inferior feelings I ever had I remember as a kid, was watching 'em play and I wasn't playing. You know? And I got to be good.

PASICK: But did you ever attribute that to race? Or did you attribute that to just-­

CARINO: No. I just wasn't capable. But when I became capable they always picked me.

PASICK: So, thinking about the three places you grew up. You grew up in Philly, on Johnson Street, and on Flatbush. Right, those are the three places?

CARINO: Oh, I was a child. My first. From 20 months until I was seven years old in Philly.

PASICK: Once you heard those words like chink. Did that change the way you thought about yourself and the kids in the neighborhood?

CARINO: No. It was like. I don't know. It wouldn't have said "Hey fella you made 18:00a mistake I'm not a Chinese, I'm White colored" you know. Maybe like an Italian might have been very mad if you called him a dago. Which is a type of Italian.

PASICK: Absolutely, it's meant to be-

CARINO: And a chink is a type of Oriental, I guess.

PASICK: It's meant to be, it's a racial slur.

CARINO: You take that as a racial slur. But I've always had a lot of respect for Chinese as I was growing up. They were smart and everything.

PASICK: Oh really. What was your experience with the Chinese growing up?

CARINO: Oh no. Only in Chinatown. I never had a Chinese friend. We didn't have any Chinese in the neighborhood. We were Greeks, Puerto Ricans, and Italians, and Jews. That's what we were.

PASICK: So how do you think you came to have respect for the Chinese?

CARINO: Oh. Later in life and school. Going to school.

PASICK: Oh, yeah. Going to school.

CARINO: They always seemed to be a lot smarter.

PASICK: Umm. Looking back, the fact that you were raised a little bit among 19:00other Filipino families, in other words you grew up around the Gomez's, you grew up in Philly among other mixed-race families like Cliff's family, Mabel Quinto, as you can tell. Did that make any significance to you?

CARINO: You know what, I saw no difference between a Greek woman marrying an Italian or a White and a Filipino. To me it was, those were, you're different. An Irishman did an Irish. Hey you're German and Italian. I used to think it very odd, a Polak marrying an Irishman. I never could understand that. And even when I heard about football, Notre Dame. All these Polish. What the hell's a Polak doing in with the Irish? They're Catholic, that's why they're united. Religion united them.

PASICK: Do you think your growing up years would have been different if, for example, your family had been the only Filipino family in the neighborhood?


CARINO: Oh no. But in Flatbush, we were the only Filipinos, I think, in Flatbush that I can remember.

PASICK: Alright, so you did have that experience.

CARINO: Yeah. Oh yeah. And dad would make damn sure that our house was better looking than-dad had a lot of pride in--not being proud as a Filipino, but being proud that we are, that we keep a nice house and we're pleasant people.

PASICK: The story about grand mom going around to the neighborhood.

CARINO: She did. When we moved to Flatbush she talked. I remember her telling me that I, why she did I don't know, it's just she asked that real estate agent that it would be all right because "I'm married to a full-blooded Filipino." If the neighbors, mom wanted to know what the neighbors would think about it. And I guess this woman must have said, "Hey, there's going to be a Filipino." And Mrs. 21:00Linder was our neighbor. I don't know what that name was, German or whatever. She was that. Then this one next to us was, I don't know who they were. But I remember one time, this woman on that side--see we were a duplex we were joined with this house. There were two house, then you had a garage and a garage. And uh, that lady, her name was Mrs. Nickerson or Mr. Nick-- they were having a big fight and this lady was very loud outside using bad language and was home, Pop Pop went over there and Pop Pop says, "I don't want you using that language in front of my family over here."


CARINO: So that day, we never had friends with them. But Mrs. Linder I remember she was -but anyway, a long story short

PASICK: The real estate agent-

CARINO: She was coming there that the neighbors knew that we were coming in there.


PASICK: Do you think, did she do it, that as a sort of test, before she made the decision?

CARINO: No. I guess she. Well, because I'm sure she felt that, when she, way back with her father. Probably. She wanted to make sure. That, that's a thing that stayed with her, you know, like that. So.

PASICK: So is the idea that after, after you moved in she went around to the neighborhood, or before?

CARINO: No no. Before we moved. Before we moved there. That's why we moved. When Mom had assurance that is was okay. That the neighbors-

PASICK: I see, I see, I see. Wow.

CARINO: And then I became friends with the Nickerson boy, Larry. We were good friends. And another kid moved into the street called Bonawan and his parents were immigrant Germans, they were -that's that Bonawan kid ­

PASICK: Oh yeah. Right, right, right. That guy you still think is alive.


CARINO: I never contacted him again, so. But anyway, that was. And then I, through being good at baseball and football, you know at school, basketball. For the neighborhood, you know, I was always asked to be on the teams and all that. Then they started dating and that's, well I never, in Brooklyn I was a child, then Lora Martinez that was a little, we were nine, ten years old.

PASICK: Is that, was she Filipino or Spanish?

CARINO: She was part Filipino. No, Martinez, she was not. She was, Caucasian. Her mother remarried to a Filipino. But she was not a Filipino girl.

PASICK: Did you go out with her?

CARINO: No, we didn't go out. We were nine or ten. We'd meet in the neighborhood, you know. And that's all. Then when she'd go to school we'd come home. You know, you always came home for lunch and when you went back. She went to the Catholic school and I went down to PS 5, and if she was going that way 24:00we'd walk together.

PASICK: So with someone like her, or, any other Filipino kid or kid raised in a Filipino family, was there ever any acknowledgment between you that, "Hey, we're Filipino"?

CARINO: Urum. You know, at that, we never discussed any things like that. I remember Chicky, when I first saw Chicky, when I was in fifth grade, I guess or something. Santos, she looked very Filipino. And-

PASICK: What does looking very Filipino mean?

CARINO: Oh, she had Oriental features to her. Chicky had very Oriental, very pretty, very pretty. And I think I might have said, you know, "I'm Filipino" or "her name was Santos" and I don't know if I might have told mom and mom knew them before or whoever knew them, or Aunt Mamie. But I remember Chicky.


PASICK: Do you have a feeling that, well, let me ask you another question from the, picked up from an earlier part of this conversation. One is that, what you're saying if this is right, is that your Filipino heritage was never stressed.

CARINO: Oh no.

PASICK: Right, right. And why do you think that is?

CARINO: It didn't matter I mean when I was growing up, like I said, you know, if you weren't Black, you were--we were all, we had Puerto Ricans and Greeks and all that. Those were my playmates, like that. But if there was anything like, Black--you didn't associate with the Blacks. You know, we used to go down to the movie house that was right in a Black neighborhood, you know, like that. But, uh, even those people, if you interviewed a Black person, hell I wasn't allowed 26:00to do that, or if I did that, boy if I went up in that neighborhood. Any Blacks come up from that neighborhood, there's trouble. They would never do that. Or not only that, if we went to another neighborhood, not being Black, you gotta be very careful. It was, you know, it was real--

PASICK: Turf, turf.

CARINO: Whatever it is, yeah.

PASICK: So, what was stressed about Filipino, I mean, food, customs, dress?

CARINO: Well, what do you mean stressed? There was, we went into Filipino community center-

PASICK: What was, um

CARINO: Never at home. We never talked about--you gotta remember Pop Pop was never at home.

PASICK: So, who started cooking the Filipino food?

CARINO: Joe. Well it wasn't Amy. He'd cook great, chicken and-the only Filipino cooking he'd do was for himself, once in a while we'd have pancit. But regular 27:00things like spaghetti, or mom made anything. Joe only cooked like he would do the turkey or he would do the ham, ham thing. But for himself he cooked. We never had Filipino food for all of us. He only made his fish heads and what it was, that was his.

PASICK: So grand mom never made Filipino food?

CARINO: No, no, no. Grand mom never. No. Grand mom strictly was basic stuff, pork chops.

PASICK: How about things like Rizal Ball?

CARINO: Oh no. That was when I was a kid in Philly. I was, I used to, Cliff and I would have these little airplanes we'd fly there.

PASICK: Did your mother go to the Rizal Ball?

CARINO: Yeah. We, well, not all the time. If we happened to be, or, maybe Aunt Cath would say, "We're having a ball why don't you come over, it's the right time of the year." Or something. We'd go.


PASICK: Who do you think, in your family, was the proudest person about this Filipino stuff? The proudest of it.

CARINO: The proudest? Probably Patty Carino, is the only one really. Really I was never approached when I was. As I became an adult in Sperry we had, there was me and uh, I forget this other folk, there's only two Filipinos. Mestizos. Eddie Peralta, was one, but he was way, he was older than me, he was there. And then I came and we were the only Filipinos.

PASICK: How was that handled at work?

CARINO: Oh. No, no problem.

PASICK: Did anyone ever say to you "What are you?"

CARINO: Oh no. I had people say, "What nationality are you?" You know. Like this one time, I had to, you had to put your middle name, Theodore Roosevelt, 29:00[unintelligible] says, "Well, what nationality are you?" You know, there he -Theodore Roosevelt. So I told him. Said my dad was a Filipino, my mother was not. In fact you had to put in your application-­

PASICK: Oh, you did?

CARINO: --mother's place of birth, of mother. Oh yeah.

PASICK: Oh I see.

CARINO: When I started working, I, first job I had-

PASICK: Is that the first time the Filipino thing ever came up, is at Sperry when you had to write that down?

CARINO: I had to write that down. Yeah. My birth, yeah that was the first time. First time, yeah.

PASICK: First time that you had, were asked to identify your nationality?

CARINO: Well the first job I had, when I worked the liquor store, they didn't care they sat you down, "What's your name?", "Ted," that's it. I had a social security number, you know they, "What's your social security number?" But, uh. 30:00Sperry was the first time cause, I don't know, a lot of government contracts did that, because, I guess, the government wanted to know who the hell you were working for.

PASICK: So, since we're talking about government contracts and Sperry, this was around right before the war and during the war-

CARINO: Thirty eight, Thirty nine

PASICK: Right. How do you think, as America was drawn into the war with the Japanese, umm, how did that affect things for you as someone who was Filipino background?

CARINO: Well, there, worry about here, there was a terrible feeling, I said, "Jeez, I gotta be careful." You know, you gotta be real careful, you look like your, you know, you're Oriental, like that. People call you, drunk somebody, a Jap. Yeah used to be if I was out by myself, traveling in a subway or where, you 31:00gotta be--that, that I became aware. And they could be a little problem, I gotta be careful. You know.

PASICK: And do you remember talking about that with someone like Cliff? Or some of the other Mestizos you know?

CARINO: No. During the war Cliff and I probably never communicated.

PASICK: So did you ever discuss that with anybody? This sense that you had to be pretty careful, did that, were your parents aware of that?

CARINO: No. Pop Pop was in uniform, so he had nothing to worry about. Before I went into service, after I got into service there was no problem.

PASICK: Cause you had the uniform.

CARINO: Oh yeah, you had the uniform, there was no problem. It was when you were walking around as a civilian and there was all the posters.

PASICK: Were you aware that, this is just a little, just a point of information for you, out in California, right before the war where there are lots of Filipino farm laborers and some Navy men out there. That umm, people had to wear 32:00arm bands identifying themselves as Filipinos

CARINO: Well, of course it was a big population. A very big population.

PASICK: So that they wouldn't be mistaken as Japanese, because the Japanese were being-

CARINO: I can, I understand. No, we didn't have to wear that. No, we weren't that, no. There wasn't that many.

PASICK: Were you ever harassed by the public, because you looked Asian?


PASICK: Some story I'm remembering, chased out of a subway, what was that?

CARINO: Oh, I was on the subway train and the doors were closing and there was these drunken guys or something said, "Hey, there's a Jap, there" and the doors closed right away. But that was, that I used to be concerned about like if I was traveling late at night or anything like that, see.

PASICK: How would you handle that, would you stay and not be by yourself, move to a crowded car?

CARINO: Well, no if it was business time there was never any problems, only if, taking a date home at night or something like that, and you're traveling home alone. It depend on the neighborhood. It was sensitive times, aware of it, you 33:00know, just don't, if there looks like there's a bunch of problems, don't get over there. But I was prepared to say, if anything was gonna happen, I'd said "Hey, look, I'm Filipino." But anyway--

PASICK: Back to dating, that umm-

CARINO: Oh I started, one of my first parties when I was in Flatbush.

PASICK: Do you ever remember having any preference in your mind about, ah, I think it'd be nice to go out with Filipino girls versus White girls, or did you have any sense of preference?

CARINO: No. The only Filipino that really tripped my fancy was Chicky.

PASICK: Chicky, what was her last name again?


CARINO: Santos, Chicky Santos. She had a terrible marriage too.

PASICK: How would your mother have felt, do you think, if you had married a Filipino girl?

CARINO: No problem.

PASICK: How about your dad?

CARINO: No. Well, no my dad was only concerned about that when she was not a Filipino, might have parents you gotta, you know. Parents may not like the idea.

PASICK: Do you think he would have been okay with you marrying a Filipino?

CARINO: Oh, he wouldn't, it wouldn't matter, no. That would have been -natural. That's what you should do, you marry a Filipino.

PASICK: Tell me about that, why would that have been natural to him?

CARINO: Well, because of the experience I guess he had. I guess he felt if he had married a Filipino woman that would be no problem. Or Chinese woman or one who looked like him, would have been no problem.

PASICK: Right. People tend to marry their own kind.

CARINO: Kind, yeah. Sure, would have been no problem.


PASICK: Which is why grand mom and Mamie and Catherine's choice of marrying Filipinos was so outside of the box at that time.

CARINO: Oh my. It must have gotten, well probably the only one in the whole area of Brooklyn New York. Never heard of, there was never another family. In our neighborhood where we were on Johnson Street there was only three. There was mom and dad, and Aunt Mamie, and my godmother Astorga. The only Filipinos. Then around the corner was Ms. Martinez, she had married and left him, I guess, but she didn't have a husband, but Lenora was just her daughter. There were no, I went to school, when I went to high school, I was it.

PASICK: Were you really?

CARINO: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

PASICK: The only Filipino in Erasmus?

CARINO: Absolutely. And only two Blacks. I'll show you my graduation picture.


PASICK: Were there other people of color there, like uh -

CARINO: No Orientals.

PASICK: Puerto Rico?

CARINO: Puerto Rico, maybe, might have been. Yeah, I remember this one kid, I forget his name, I buddied with him in the summer. He was Spanish, Puerto Rican or so, but he speak fluent Spanish.

PASICK: Was his skin color different?

CARINO: He was dark skinned, but he was not Oriental looking. He looked like an Italian, but he looked Latin. That's the only one I know. And then of course in our neighborhood, Downtown Brooklyn. That was, but when I went to school, you remember Erasmus Hall there was thousands of kids there.

PASICK: Did the teachers ever make any note of you being Filipino?

CARINO: No. Never. No. The first time I ever went there and took Spanish and signed my name Carino and then put a tilde over the N,"ooooooo," I forget her, Vaughn, Sarah Vaughn, I don't know what her name meant, but she was a real Spaniard. Pure Spaniard, Castilian Spaniard. After school she says, "Mr. Carino, 37:00can I speak to you?" She asked me, I said, "no, my father's from the Philippines." And then she said, "Do you know what the name means?" I said "no" she said, "The name means love in Castilian Spanish, Carino means love." I said "okay" and then I proceeded to flunk Spanish [laughter]. I'll never forget, I was not doing good. I was alright with all the other stuff, but the other, and English, they passed me in English only because I honestly worked hard to pass. Grammar was a foreign language to me. That was like Sanskrit. I didn't know the way you talked, but now, put the predicate before the noun and all of that was something that just would not come to me at all. And then in Spanish the grammar 38:00was different than English, that's what killed me, grammar killed me in English and Spanish. But anyway, when I went to school I was the only, just me. Wrong. There was another one, Moses Boquiren, was his name, we used to call him Sunny Moses. I'm wrong about that. And he was the one that Zacky and I would play Monopoly with, he lived downtown ­

PASICK: Now what was his ethnicity?

CARINO: His father was Filipino. Moses Boquiren. Boquiren. I don't know how to spell that. I don't know if there was an L in it or not. Moses Boquiren he was a couple grades ahead of me in Erasmus.

PASICK: In Erasmus? Okay.

CARINO: And he went, eventually when he graduated, to St. Johns Law School and become a lawyer. But, yeah when I was a kid growing up he was the ah, only 39:00Mestizo, but he never played ball or anything. He just was casual. And our family was never close. But he lived up near the garage where Pop Popa put the car. Moses Boquiren, he went to Erasmus, it was just he and I. Yeah. It's funny that name would come to me. And then Zacky and I would be up there once a week, we'd play Monopoly. I remember going after school. Going right to Sunny's house there to meet Zacky, and Zacky never worked hard, I don't know why, and he was older than us. But we played Monopoly, that's what I remember, we played Monopoly. Funny that should come to me. Sunny Moses.

PASICK: So how did you handle -so now we're kind of, you're kind of thinking about high school and ­

CARINO: Well in Flatbush I started dating first and I know. But in fact, when I was invited to this party ­


PASICK: How about the first White girl you dated?


PASICK: How about the first White girl, full White girl you dated?

CARINO: I didn't date, I mean, at a party. The first White girl I dated, I don't know. Well like, oh jeez, let's see, Flatbush. The one I liked was Mary Liddell. But it wasn't, we always went together, and I liked her.

PASICK: Right. But I mean, you know, someone who you went with. Who was the first White girl that you went with?

CARINO: I didn't go with. The one I used to see a lot in high school was Ruth Bernstein, Bernstein. But we never dated, just from school, I met her in school, went to lunch.

PASICK: Now did the fact that you were Filipino ever come up between you?

CARINO: No. No, in fact, I was going to say the first party I went to in Flatbush, Waller, I think it was Waller Munse said "Hey, there's gonna to be a party." But the way you do a party, the girls would babysit and they'd have 41:00friends over, but they'd have permission on that. And she said, I forget who the girl was, it wasn't Mary Liddell, says, asked me if she would like to come, there. So I remember I went. I only had knickers and I remember all the other guys got long pants. Mom wouldn't let me have long pants. But no I never, my youth in Flatbush was really sports. Yeah, I was out playing baseball, out playing football.

PASICK: So was Alice the first serious White girl that you went with?

CARINO: Uh. I-I guess. I had, there was Trudy Moore. Oh I, Trudy Moore, I used to date Trudy Moore before that. And I remember her brother. Yeah, Moore. We had 42:00a settlement house and there used to be dances there, when I moved into Emerson Place, that settlement house was still going, they had dances there. We used to have a team called the Pearlites, you know the Pearls when I was playing. And we used to play basketball, but­

PASICK: How did you get to, did you ­

CARINO: Yeah I met Trudy through this other guy-

PASICK: Did the idea of race come up with her or with her parents?

CARINO: No. No, no, no.

PASICK: Nothing.

CARINO: Oh, and then there was another one. Margie Keenan. Margie Keenan, who lived on Emerson Place. Yeah, I dated Margie Keenan. She was Irish, and so was Trudy Moore, they were Irish. I had a thing for Irish.

PASICK: I guess. You had a note about, in that little outline, that you made 43:00about this family interview, something about the Filipino American Community Center.

CARINO: Oh yeah the Filipino Community Center, they had dances there.

PASICK: Now how old were you then?

CARINO: Oh I was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. Nineteen. Yeah, Chicky would be there.

PASICK: How did you get introduced to that, to that community center?

CARINO: Oh I forget how that, we lived on Emerson Place. Mr. Bayunan, I guess, who lived across the street, he was Filipino.

PASICK: Oh, so there was another Filipino family there.

CARINO: Across the street, Bayunans, and Aunt Mamie was up above us. But we were the first Filipinos in that area.

PASICK: Oh, you were?

CARINO: Oh yeah.

PASICK: How do you know?

CARINO: Because there was nobody on the block. [laughter] You know what people you see coming out. It was all Italian.

PASICK: So you're thinking maybe Mr. Bayunan --

CARINO: Yeah something about coming to the Filipino Community Center. And it was down on Fulton Street above the Sunsire tavern, way the hell up on the top floor 44:00up there. And they started that community, and I don't know who was ­

PASICK: Do you remember the first time you were there?

CARINO: [unintelligible]

PASICK: Doesn't stand out. What stands out in your experience at that point?

CARINO: We used to go, I remember the Astorgas, we'd dance young Alice Astorga was, I never dated her, but I'd go to movies once in a while with her.

PASICK: So all the people there were Mestizos like you were.

CARINO: There was a lot of full Caucasian young girls came up that way. Freddie was there, Freddie come up. Rita would be there, you know. And they would bring a friend, who was a full Caucasian friend. My cousin Rita Ackerson would come with some Jewish friends of her's there, they were all White. So-


PASICK: Now up there, was it purely social or was there something about Filipino there? Like was there Filipino food, Filipino music, dances?

CARINO: No, never any food. No just come up and the bar was downstairs and they'd just have a dance. That's all.

PASICK: And what was the name of it again?

CARINO: The Filipino Community Center. They rented this up there. I don't even know who became members.

PASICK: Or what all started it

CARINO: Who started it or whatever. But there'd be an announcement. Every time you go there's an announcement, gonna have a dance and get a what do you call it. But that's all you do you go up there. It wasn't just guitar music, Willy Pacanza borrowed a sax, he had a friend who played guitar and a guy that played-

PASICK: So this sounds like a real gathering spot for young Filipino people. Young people.

CARINO: Oh, once in a while. Not for young people it's for families. Filipino families

PASICK: Oh they were families.

CARINO: Yeah Aunt Mamie and Gomez's never came. Once in a while Aunt Cath would 46:00come over. It was not a big. It was a dump like place there. It was a fire trap really.

PASICK: So there would be little kids running around?

CARINO: No, not really. I can't remember teeny little kids running around. But the other Filipino families, the Astorgas would be there, Chicky would be and Ella Lucian, Ella was Chicky's sister. Marion would occasionally come there.

PASICK: Tell me when you think about that, dad, do you think that that was a good thing?

CARINO: Oh I never looked at that as "Hey this is good for fostering the Filipino." Patty, I was never into that. I was, I was an American and if the 47:00Filipinos were Filipinos then that was that.

PASICK: Just people?


PASICK: Just people.

CARINO: Just people. The only time I, I got a feeling that I didn't. I wasn't proud of the heritage or anything, is they got their independence and they didn't do a damn thing with it. Not because, you know. They had all this opportunity. And that's what I don't like about this community here. These are doctors, real professional people. What the hell. They had a country in trouble. What do they-they run out on them, to me they run out.

PASICK: You're talking about the Filipinos here in the Villages?

CARINO: Yeah, these ones here. Yeah, sure. Here. They're not just working as food, these are professional. They're lawyers, doctors, these people. They run out on their country. That's the only, they don't have anything, support, we got to send a big fund back there. They run out on them, so. And Pop Pop, we never. 48:00I used to go with Pop Pop down to Sand Street, to the Filipino barber shop and it was a hang out. That little area there. They'd always come to Pop Pop, touch him up for a buck or two, or like that. Pop Pop used to call them bums. "There's Filipino bums down there, that's all they are down there." But he never brought any of them home.

PASICK: Do you think Pop Pop was proud about being a Filipino?

CARINO: Pop Pop was proud of being a Navy, having served his country in the Navy.

PASICK: So that the Navy was more a part of his identity?

CARINO: That was his life. He was proud of that. But he was proud of the way that he conducted himself, the way he presented himself. I remember, Pop Pop once told me, "You don't walk through a door, you knock first, you don't walk through a door."

PASICK: [laughter] That's an interesting piece of advice.


CARINO: Yeah, but he ah. The only Filipinos that came in the house were through Pet, you know she'd date, they'd come up there, but there were no new families except Joe, of course the Salvadors, you know. And then if the Salvadors and musicians, like how we ever met Andy Donnelly who played with Cugat, that was through Sal Cabral. And, uh the artist, I forget the artist's name. The one who did these silhouette cutouts, you see there. I forget his name, don't know who came first. One came up ­

PASICK: Came to the house?

CARINO: Oh yeah came to the house. Oh mom loved Sal, Sal was like a real jazz pianist. [unintelligible]


PASICK: Do you think your mother more than your father attracted Filipinos to come to the house.

CARINO: No. It wasn't to. It was through Pet. It was through Pet and like the Espina girls who dated a Filipino said, "Hey I have a friend who's" well, and that's how that stuff all evolved.

PASICK: Your sister got had more Filipino friends than you did?

CARINO: Pet had - well no, she didn't.

PASICK: She did

CARINO: Well she had Johnny, you know, and then Sal, but she dated, her first real date was Harry Fagen, a Jewish guy, in Brooklyn, Downtown Brooklyn, Harry Fagen. Then Willy Cononus, a Puerto Rican. And then I, for a Filipino she was very adult, you know. Through that Ms. Philippines contest. And how we got into that I don't -I don't even remember Pet, very much, at the Filipino Community 51:00Center, being up there. I really don't, I don't remember Pet. Mom would go, sometimes Pop Pop, usually Pop Pop worked in the summer.

PASICK: What difference do you think it made, dad, to be living in New York City as a mixed race person, as opposed to other places in the country?

CARINO: Well, we were, it just happened by circumstances, we moved to Brooklyn because-

PASICK: No, I'm saying, well do you think if --I'm thinking about your experience in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the Midwest for example. How was that different than your experience in New York, in terms of-

CARINO: Well the reason why we went, we went to New York when Dad -I don't know why we left Philly, really. I don't know why we left Philly. I know why we went 52:00to Philly. Mom went there because dad's ship was going to be based there and Aunt Cath was already there. So that, kinda, hey, that made sense, you know, like that. But I don't even, I don't know why we left Philly, but we went to Brooklyn, because Aunt Mamie was in Brooklyn, you know, and Uncle Andrew was in Brooklyn, see.

PASICK: When you moved from, you know, we're skipping ahead here. We're skipping ahead a little bit. But when you moved from the New York area, which was a true melting pot, everybody was there -

CARINO: Who, Jean and I?

PASICK: Yeah, and, well let me back up then. When you moved out to Long Island, when you moved, began to leave New York, first to Queens and then to Suffolk County, did anything change about how people noticed that you had Oriental 53:00features, as you say? Did anything change as you moved?

CARINO: If they did, they never asked about it, when we moved out there. But I do remember the time we were going to move out to West Islip, there. I told, I says, "Hey, I'm part Filipino, I'm coming to stay, do you think there's gonna to be a problem with that?" He said, "Nah, no problem." In fact, my down payment was five dollars. But no when we met all our friends, no.

PASICK: Friends, and neighbors. No.

CARINO: No, no. If they ever knew about it, I offered and told them, you know. Cause even people around here think I'm Italian, they don't even think I'm Filipino. Whatever. But they verbally would say, you're probably Italian. You're Italian.


PASICK: So you would correct them? I mean you would say, "No, I'm part-"

CARINO: Well, I guess, sometimes I didn't. I would tell. I would be pretty occupied probably if that's what --I don't care.

PASICK: Yeah, right. Now how about moving to Grand Rapids?

CARINO: No, that was, no, no. That was not a problem. Grand Rapids had had some Japanese when we come in there and former Nazis and everything else. But I never considered that.

PASICK: Yeah, that wasn't a consideration?

CARINO: No, no. I just. I never thought I'd consider it. Then, you'd never put down on an application, those days. In fact, Claire Barcalo probably told em, might have told em what I was. But I never do that. I don't even remember telling Claire Barcalo about it. To me if you never asked, I never said anything. I didn't make it a point to say, "Now, to let you know, I'm Filipino."

PASICK: Except when you were moving.


CARINO: If I thought it was gonna to be a problem.

PASICK: Right, right, right. So in Grand Rapids, did people ever ask you what you were, or you know-

CARINO: Oh, I'm sure people eventually asked me what I was. But I don't remember who they were I'm sure they did I think, Eddie, Ed Lang had to tell this guy, Barfield, "Hey, this guy's from the Philippines, he's not a nigger." You know. [laughter] And that's how I got to be a member. I don't think I coulda walked in and said, "Yeah I want to be a member." But Ed Lang interviews from the FBI, and I was playing with guys from the FBI, and all that, so.

PASICK: You were in.

CARINO: But that was, turn around events. I became well acquainted with the owner. My mentor, my teacher.


PASICK: So, so as you moved to Grand Rapids there were not as many problems.

CARINO: No, there was no. You had problems.

PASICK: Yeah, I did.

CARINO: You had problems.

PASICK: Was that a surprise to you, that I would be teased?

CARINO: No that was not a surprise to me.

PASICK: Because you had been teased.

CARINO: In fact, if I thought about it, I might have felt, you know, that there's a possibility, and probably turned out. I never knew immediately that, unless I forgot about it, that when you come home, some of the kids really chastised you about it. Well, how did some of those feel? You know, when they used to call me chink and all that, I don't know how you felt about it.

PASICK: Well, you know, you feel terrible

CARINO: They said it like it was putting you down.

PASICK: Exactly

CARINO: It wasn't lifting you up like, "Oh, you're Filipino." You know, like 57:00that. So, you've had some of those problems. But they after, it was never a lot of people. It would be one or two, you know, like that. But that was all it would take. Not a whole consort of people telling the Italian that you're a dago. No one person's sayin that you're a dago, you know. But that, I had after that, in my --I had no professional problems with it. But if people were curious, if I could see on their face they're probably wondering, if I really thought it mattered and they were wondering, I'd say, "Look, I'm from the Philippines."

PASICK: So, did you get pretty good at figuring out, looking at those faces and figuring out who was sort of eyeing you?

CARINO: I could, you get a vibe, you know, that -I remember this, I'm playing golf with these couples, whoever they were. I, you know, I used to doin my 58:00golfing alone.

PASICK: And what time, where are we talking?

CARINO: Well it's right here.

PASICK: Here. Okay.

CARINO: Like a vibe for somebody. This woman was dying to ask me how old I was. I could just, you know, the little phrases we're talking about it. And I said, "Ma'am, I have a daughter in her sixties and I don't mind saying this." I says, "I'm eighty four years old." In fact, not to change the subject too much, the one who directs our band. This guy, Thomas, who was in our church and all, he knows I was eighty four, and he's in the band. And we have a big day here, Cinco de Mayo, that's a big time here.

PASICK: Right, your birthday.

CARINO: My birthday. So it was the day before we had the fourth rehearsal, May, rehearsal. So Jean came over to me very quietly she says, "I just heard a story about you, you're eighty four, you're eighty four years old." She got up in 59:00front of the whole band, you know. Says you know tomorrow's Cinco de Mayo day and one of the members of this band it's his eighty fourth birthday, Ted Carino. And it was something, undoubtedly. Wow, so. But anyway, go ahead and get back to your story.

PASICK: Well I was just interested in this vibe idea, I mean, so you got from the time you were how old, were you good at picking up the vibe that people were wondering?

CARINO: Oh not till I was, probably senior. Not senior, but very adult. When you're really. You've had those experiences, you know. Not as a young person, like that. I might have said to somebody, "What are you lookin at? You want to fight or something?"

PASICK: [laugher] Do you have a memory of that?

CARINO: Oh no. But if I did, it didn't matter. When it mattered, it would be, when I thought it would matter. Some, not, like, you know, I know this person, I 60:00don't think what's going on, he's just curious. But, anyway, go ahead with your stuff.

PASICK: Yeah, well we've been talking for an hour and a half maybe we should stop.

CARINO: No, I don't care. I ain't got nothing to do.

PASICK: Take a break, here. Umm, well let's see

CARINO: You gotta go to Rita's yet

PASICK: Yeah. Umm, what we haven't talked about, is about marrying into mom's family, we haven't talked much about that. And we haven't talked much about having children, and what it meant, around race, to have kids. So, so, we could talk about that. We could talk about, when you got married to mom, now, you already had an experience with Alice and her father


CARINO: Well I talked to Jean about that.

PASICK: Alright so tell me about that­

CARINO: Well, Jean knew I was Filipino.

PASICK: Yeah, when did that come up in your relationship with mom?

CARINO: Oh, when, well, when I thought this is a girl that I would like to marry and all that. But I said, you know, "Jean, I'm Filipino, you better talk to your family about it." And I guess she did.

PASICK: When in your dating did you tell her you were Filipino?

CARINO: Oh, when I was in the service.

PASICK: No, but did it come up on the first date, third date, fifth date?

CARINO: Oh, no, no.

PASICK: When did it come up?

CARINO: No, in fact. I was wrong. It was not in the service. In service I was engaged to this so called Georgia gal. You know, we were kinda engaged, back, uh-

PASICK: How did it come up with her family, because that was a big relationship?

CARINO: Oh that was, that was bad. Cause her father, I confronted him one time. I said, you know, "I'm thinking of asking Rosemarie to marry." He says, "I 62:00really don't prefer that, because of your race."

PASICK: Really?


PASICK: Wow, well, what did you do?

CARINO: Well, I told Rosemary, "wW're going to have a problem." It was a problem. So it was kinda. I says, "I'll just stop coming down." You know. Then anyway, she got to talk to her father, or whatever and, she called me up and said, "Ted, my dad wants you to come down."

PASICK: So then what happened?

CARINO: So I came back down, you know.

PASICK: Okay, and then what happened? With him and the race, I mean.

CARINO: Well, it was not gonna be ­

PASICK: Did you think he had changed his mind, or did you think-

CARINO: Oh, I think he was probably compromising. Oh no, he wasn't. It was compromising. It was never gonna be a good situation, I could see that. Not only 63:00that, because they were all other members of that family. You know, and this was the deep south.

PASICK: Absolutely, this is the deep south.

CARINO: So, I don't know, that kinda-

PASICK: So how about the mother, how did she handle it?

CARINO: Well, fine I guess, as a mother daughter would be like that. But uh­

PASICK: Did she have brothers? Did Rosemarie have brothers?

CARINO: Oh, she had a little brother. Who came up, when Jean and were married, he came up. Looked us up and uh-

PASICK: I know, I know.

CARINO: But, uh. It wasn't any idea, with Janet. And then, Rosemarie, Rosemarie came up to Brooklyn, and, I think Rosemarie was only eighteen or nineteen. She'd never been off the reservation like that.

PASICK: What did her father -what, were these people working class Southerners?

CARINO: No, they're just common working. Nothing, not business owners, just hard working.


PASICK: Working class people.

CARINO: He was hard, I don't even know what he did. I don't know what he worked at. And then the idea of Brooklyn, was not, living up here, I was fine to live down-

PASICK: You don't have to answer this question, do you think that this, uh, Rosemarie's father's and that family's distrust, or fear about her marrying someone form another race was a determining factor about why it didn't work out?

CARINO: I think that's, pressure probably, family, and uh, too with Janet, she was only eighteen, at the time. So, and then being away, and being alone all there with.

PASICK: Now when she, when Rosemarie came up, did she meet the whole family?

CARINO: She met Pop Pop.

PASICK: Pop pop.

CARINO: She met Pop Pop. Because he worked [unintelligible] in the fields, so he 65:00had to be there. She met Aunt Cath, Aunt Cath came, Aunt Cath came. She just came over to the apartment. There was a Filipino family, in Long Island, Maros Suller, Sullers, whatever his name was, and uh, we went over to his, he worked out there, when, where John used to work, Patricia worked.

PASICK: Now, was your family worried for you in terms of marrying someone from the deep south?

CARINO: Well, again Pop Pop, I think Pop Pop was really very concerned about that.

PASICK: Do you remember speaking with him about it?

CARINO: No, other more than what he told me, you know, about family-

PASICK: More a vibe, picked up a vibe from Pop Pop, that this is not going to 66:00work out?

CARINO: Exactly, I think Pop Pop did say, you know, about "Ted, you're from the Philippines, and you're down in the deep south there." Anyway, it probably was for the best, I'm sure. But it kinda just petered out.

PASICK: Now, you then met mom, right, in there, quite shortly there after.


PASICK: Jean, you met Jean.

CARINO: I met Jean in the service.

PASICK: Right, now she was also from the deep south. Did you have some of those same concerns?

CARINO: Oh yeah. I was, you know, really, I said after that. But-

PASICK: So anyway, we were talking about mom

CARINO: Should I talk to her -talk to her family, I guess.

PASICK: Now when did you talk to mom, when did the idea of you being Filipino first come up between you and mom? In other words, first date, did you tell her, 67:00or did she ask? What do you remember there?

CARINO: I don't know, I don't remember when I told mom when I was Filipino or, probably, we dated, not really, in the service, I mean, if I was at base I'd come up, see, you know I'd meet her on the way, "I'll be in town, are you going to be in town?" We'd walk up and walk around. I'd bring a big pocket book, put a liquor bottle in it.

PASICK: [laughter] So when ­

CARINO: I probably told her, that I, I'm sure I told her ­

PASICK: Early on?

CARINO: Early on, yeah, before that. Before I became real serious.

PASICK: Okay, alright. So, when it became real serious how did you-

CARINO: Then I talked about Jean, I said, "Jean, you better talk to your family about that. Make sure your family knows that." I'm sure I asked mom, told mom about that. So I guess she talked about her parents. I might have known about 68:00it. I don't know.

PASICK: Do you have any memory about that, about letter, talking?

CARINO: Well, you're going to become privy to that whole history, one day, you know. I told mom, why don't you get them all out and put them in, I probably wrote the first one, put them in the date, one after the other.

PASICK: Oh, you're talking about your love letters.

CARINO: Yeah. That's [unintelligible]. You'll be privy to that whole courting, that's how we courted, by mail.

PASICK: By mail.

CARINO: Yeah. Then I made two trips there. Went down on a Valentine's trip one time, then Easter trip one time. Then we courted by mail.

PASICK: So you don't, not sure you remember writing her parents a letter?

CARINO: I-I think I did. I think I did. I think I did when, when it was assured that they ­

PASICK: Could accept you?

CARINO: There were no really objections to it. I'm sure I did. Cause I'm sure I 69:00asked mom to do that, to make sure that. But I always had a feeling there that her brother, Buck, I'll never forget her brother, Buck. We was out in the yard there, and something and Jean said something to Buck and Buck says, "Boy, you're running with the devil now." You know. [laughter] I don't know what he meant by that. I remember saying-but, they were kinda, I never got close to them. But then I-but I remember Buck we'd go there, Buck said "Come on, Ted," and we'd go the tavern up there, and I'd go up here and he'd introduce me as his brother-in-law. My brother-in-law, wants his time with Jean and all that. And probably they queried him, he probably said, "Yeah, his dad was Filipino." I think surprising.

PASICK: You think it was surprising, yeah.


CARINO: That he had to explain away, you know, who I was. You know. But it fit in-

PASICK: So, meeting your in-laws did you get any vibes or did you talk to mom's dad about that? Did it ever come up in conversation?

CARINO: No, no, never came up in conversation.

PASICK: But you did end up with mom in your fifties, you know, in the, well, late the forties, early fifties, you did end up spending quite a bit of time in the south. You did.

CARINO: When we were married?

PASICK: Yeah. I mean you had summers­

CARINO: Well, we used to go on vacation.

PASICK: Right, so as a Filipino American in the deep south, did you have any experiences which sort of highlighted your difference?


PASICK: Or did you have any worries about looking like a person of color?


CARINO: I was always sensitive to, when we'd go into a place like that, that the people are wondering what the hell I am. And I was more concerned about you know, but mom, it never affected her, it affected me. I'm sure it never affected your mom. Naturally it wouldn't. Wouldn't affect her at all, if fact. But I was always kind of sensitive that, ehh, people are gonna look, Christ there I am, you know. What's he? But I always had, I still have that feeling. Oh, among strangers, and strangers. Only because they wonder, "What is this guy, what is he?" But with your generation and generations after that, that's, there's still a lot of, there's little pockets of that segregation still. It's always going to be there. That's natural. That's natural, you know. I remember many years ago, 72:00many years ago my mom didn't think too much of the Jewish people. In fact, she hated this guy she dealt with, "that Jew," "that old Jew cheated me," you know. But, uh. But then mom had the Jewish neighbors in uh ­

PASICK: Bellrose.

CARINO: Bellrose. Gosh she loved Mr. Minefield, whatever his name was. But it was just kind of situation born like that. Had it been the Italians she probably called him that old dago, you know. Mom never had feelings of things like that, you know, she was rather pleasant. Except the Republics and Democrats, she didn't, she would never given that up, she was a black Republican, boy. That she would have never given up. That she was biased about. That's her only real bias.


PASICK: Was around political affiliation?

CARINO: Yeah. She - "I'm a Republican because that's what my mom was, a Republican." You know, and I says, well.

PASICK: So, if she had the chance to vote for a Black Republican she would have voted for him?

CARINO: Oh sure, oh yeah. Capone, he could have run, yeah, she don't care.

PASICK: Did your grandmother ever make any reference to race, like Primo, for example?

CARINO: My grandmother?

PASICK: No, your mother, I mean.


PASICK: She never said, "He's Black" or "He's this, he's that"? She never never made any -he was accepted?

CARINO: I didn't become really aware, Patty, Primo was Black, until it must have been well after the war. Oh it might have been because I was, I might have been talking to Primo about the Georgia situation, like that. And I think Pop Pop told me, said, "Ted, well, be careful, Primo, his mother's Black." And I never 74:00knew that. I thought he was Filipino.

PASICK: What did he mean, you need to be careful around Primo, or you mean not to offend Primo?

CARINO: Yeah, not to offend Primo, you know. Cause I, that's when I became aware, after the war, about the Black part. In fact, I remember one time I went to pick up Primo, I drove up to his house to pick him up. And I knocked on the door, and this woman opened it, and Primo kind of shoved her out of the way.

PASICK: Really?

CARINO: Yeah. But mom knew Primo's mom ­

PASICK: So your mother really had very little racial prejudice, you're thinking?

CARINO: Mom, no, she had no racial prejudices. No she loved that mailman, Jerry. She was real pleasant, he'd come up.

PASICK: So your mother was really a very, a very much unusual person for her time?

CARINO: Yeah, absolutely.


PASICK: Not only just in terms of marrying Filipinos but in terms of not having very many racial prejudices.

CARINO: Oh no, I don't think people even. The reason why you never. People never talked about that, those were kinda closet information stuff.

PASICK: Though, you know, at the time you know there was still quite a bit of racial prejudice going on in the United States.

CARINO: Just, the Blacks.

PASICK: But I'm saying that. For your mother to have not had any prejudice against the Blacks, was unusual for that time.

CARINO: Well way back, in like, and even now. Interracial marriages was always ­

PASICK: Always what?

CARINO: But like Filipinos got off the train in the south or down in Virginia, they didn't say Oriental bathrooms. If you weren't B1ack you used the White bathroom, only the Blacks used the Black bathroom. Colored, that's all. Filipinos used the White.

PASICK: Except in the service they were not allowed.

CARINO: Oh, in the service they had their own, what do you call it.


PASICK: So, umm, so that, that story about Primo is interesting in terms of -

CARINO: Primo stayed with the family until he died. Yep. He'd come over. In Philly I remember Primo, on the ship, he come, in between ­

PASICK: Do you think Primo was passing as Filipino and was, had hidden his Black identity?

CARINO: He wasn't all Black, he was Filipino

PASICK: But in this country one drop of Black meant you're Black.

CARINO: Oh yeah. He never. Yeah, he never invited anybody-

PASICK: So you think he was hiding that part of himself?

CARINO: He never talked about it. Yeah. Oh I'm sure he was. I'm sure mom, and mom, they all knew that. I don't know, it has, to go back in years for them. Primo, I don't know how Primo came in. Like Joey did, when he was off a cruise, he needed a place to stay, so he used to send Aunt Cath money for that room, you 77:00know. So that's how he got in, that's how we got to know him. And I guess through Uncle Pete, his affiliations up and around the Filipino areas in Philly where he got to meet other Filipinos from the ships and all that, I remember one used to come to our house, his name was Costello. He'd give me and Pet twenty dollars.

PASICK: Do you remember when I asked you who in the family was most proud about being a Filipino? I'm wondering what you think about Uncle Pete and that. He seemed to have the clothing, the music.

CARINO: He hung around up there in an Irish bar, Uncle Pete. Used to play in an Italian place up there. And uh, on Oregon Avenue, and Seventh Street, whatever it was. No, he didn't uh.

PASICK: I guess I don't mean proud, I mean celebrated. Who in the family 78:00celebrated Filipino heritage the most? That's what I mean, celebrated.

CARINO: Oh, I don't know. I guess, when we would have, a lot of times, a lot of musicians. I guess Uncle Pete kinda gravitated toward Filipinos who were musicians. Then he'd come down, and I remember there'd be three or four of them playing guitars and all that. But I don't think. He worked for Excite Battery and there was Filipinos, most of whoever worked up there were Filipinos. But we used to go to their picnic. And it was not just a room full of Filipinos, we just intermingled all over the place.

PASICK: Did you used to go to Filipino picnics?

CARINO: Oh yeah.

PASICK: Where there were almost all Filipinos?

CARINO: They were all Filipinos, you get a whole bus load of them.

PASICK: Right, right, right. What's your memory about that?

CARINO: Some were full Caucasian friends. Oh, I used to love that. We used to go 79:00up to, what the hell was that part?

PASICK: Indian point?

CARINO: [unintelligible] Park over Shamany Falls, in Philly. And those picnics, they were good. There, Clifford -

PASICK: I don't know if you can reflect on this, I mean, but what you're saying, you know, I was not aware, but here you were in Filipino picnics, almost all Filipino picnics, can you remember what that felt like as opposed to being in situations where you didn't have to have that awareness, that you talked about?

CARINO: No, because we were all in the picnic on the grounds. It was all Filipinos there, and then Cliff and I we'd be swimming, and we were, you know, you're only nine and ten, eleven. Nine, ten years old, those are not situations where, you're not-

PASICK: No, what I'm trying to ask you-

CARINO: They didn't mind, they, I don't know. To have a picnic you had to go get 80:00a license, I guess. But they, had Mr. Beatty, who was a full blown Cauc-he was the driver through all these picnics, Beatty.

PASICK: Was he a White guy?

CARINO: Oh yes, he's White. He used to drive the bus and bring out the kazoos and all the woman and booze going on, it was prohibition time and yeah it was Filipinos, nobody had cars then, Uncle Pete used to drive himself, he had a car.

PASICK: Can I ask you another question, this just came to mind. You've been telling me a lot of stories about how you handled things when you got a vibe or people would wonder "what are you", that sort of thing. What did you explain, would you say, "I'm Filipino," or would you say-

CARINO: My dad.

PASICK: "My dad, is Filipino." Now is that all you would say or would you say something about your mother?

CARINO: Oh yeah. I'd say my mom is Norwegian German.

PASICK: So that was always part of the phrase?


CARINO: Oh yeah. I'd always just-- Cause that would complete how come. You know, you're not full blooded. Yes, and my mom's Norwegian German.

PASICK: So, in a sense, you'd be saying "I'm a mixed race person."

CARINO: I didn't say I'm a mixed race. I never used that word.

PASICK: No, but I'm saying. No, I know that. Right, but that's how you would identify the mixture. That's what I'm saying.

CARINO: Oh yeah. Yeah, we have here a German club, you know. Right down the street, Joe Dodell. I said, "Gee my mother and my grandmother has German" and he says, "you gotta join the club." I said that's me, I walk in there and I'm the German club, right. And I told him, "look at me and I'm German, right." But I knew the guy whose president of the German club is in our golf club, and he's an immigrant, he's first generation here, German, I forget his name. But anyway, I 82:00said "I got a German Bible I think you'll have, I'd like if you could read it." That's where we found that letter from the Civil War, in there. So, uh, I think mom has that Bible there.

PASICK: I have all the Bibles now.

CARINO: Oh you got them. I guess the pages, I guess there's like this ­

PASICK: Well listen, well let's wrap up with this part, I think I'll follow up with another part. But, can you just, do you want to say, dad, umm, a little bit about what this has been like for me to be this focused on the Filipino stuff with you?

CARINO: You're focused on it?

PASICK: What's it been like for you, for me to ask these many questions about your Filipino origins?

CARINO: Oh nothing, Patty. I mean to me, you like to write and this is for you, I guess this is what you gotta do. This is your research time. You're researching or whatever you want, you'll refer to later, things like that. To me, I feel, I would never write about inter-racial marriages being a problem as 83:00much as what it fostered, you know.

PASICK: What do you think it fostered?

CARINO: Well, I don't know. I think I became what I became because of the opportunity of uh, wanted to, that if you feel that I'm not equal, that I'm gonna be as good or better. I always felt like that, like that time I used to watch them play. They didn't want me to play, but if I'm gonna play I'm gonna ­

PASICK: So it fostered this strong motivation ­

CARINO: For competing, you know, I wanna, I'm gonna be better than you think I am. You know, or what you think, not of Filipinos, but me.

PASICK: Yes, yes. Right.


CARINO: You know. I didn't say, "I'm gonna prove to you that Filipinos are better than anybody." No, Ted Carino is as good or better than any of you guys that can play this game.

PASICK: What else do you think it fostered? I think that makes a lot of sense.

CARINO: Well, I think it, I think just the, to do something, to make yourself better, not worse. You know, that's, you always feel, I know what you think, we're just a minority, we don't have brains and all that stuff. We didn't have great inventors, we didn't have nothing, we didn't invent this, we didn't invent that. But to me it was personal competition. You know, I think, well you're just not good enough. No, I am. So it was kind of a, to me it was a, what do you call it?

PASICK: A motivating force.

CARINO: Yeah, that's what motivated me, yeah.


PASICK: Yeah, motivating force, yeah. Do you think there were other advantages to growing up in a family that had that many differences all blended together?

CARINO: No, I don't think there's any advantages to that. I think people, today, right now, I think if you say if you say, "I'm Filipino" and one says, "I'm Chinese or Japanese." I think, that people are going to probably think more of the Japanese. In the order of Japanese, Chinese, and then Filipino.

PASICK: You feel, where do you think ­

CARINO: If you want to put people the value basis.

PASICK: Or a pecking order.

CARINO: Or a pecking order, I put Japanese Chinese, then Filipino.

And then Black, you know.

PASICK: Where would you put Korean?

CARINO: Well, I mean like Oriental. Well I don't know, well Koreans seem to be right about equal with the Chinese. I don't see any Chinese cars, you see Korean cars here, you know? Korean has a Japanese genetic thing there. There're part of 86:00the Japanese part.


CARINO: No? I don't know where they came from. I always thought they were, they're taller than the regular Japanese.

PASICK: No, they're part of the Chinese main land.

CARINO: They are? I thought they were more Japanese.

PASICK: They're part of the Chinese main land.

CARINO: Well, but you take this thing, here, you got it right here. I don't see any Filipinos doing this stuff. No Filipino market company affiliated with that. Filipinos are not into that kind of thing. They're not into the grandeur of technology of all that.

PASICK: Do you think there is this idea that Filipinos are not as smart?

CARINO: Yeah, I don't think they have the intelligence level of the others. They don't, I think it's because of their dialects, they could never unite as a 87:00group, like China. China is very big because of population, as from an academic standpoint that's the ruling group right there, that brought the Filipinos off the southern islands. It's only the Manila crowd, you know, they're the, I don't know who told me this, you gonna have a heart attack you have it in Manila chances are three people around you are medically educated, they only do clinical work, that's all they can do. Unless they go out and become country doctors and all that, see. I think that's what held up China. In Japan, they're all together.

PASICK: So is there a question you wish I would have asked you?


PASICK: Is there a question you wish I would have asked you?


PASICK: Okay, alright. Well let's stop I have to get ready for my ­


PASICK: Did you enjoy doing this?

CARINO: Yeah, well, it's for you. Yeah, it was fun to help you out. The thing, 88:00the tone should never concentrate on ­

PASICK: On problems.

CARINO: The grief thing of inter-racial, no there's not a great, I don't think there's a great thing of that. Still, today it's looked upon, well I don't know, I guess what's going on today. It's hard for me to evaluate it, but this same gender marriages and all that. The whole world population, our American population, it's all changed, now.

PASICK: A lot of change, a lot of change.

CARINO: You know, it's very odd, television now, I see a lot of inter-racial stuff here on television, dating and stuff. So, but there's still, I mean I golf and a lot of guys still, they hate Blacks, "boy, them Niggers." I look upon, if Colin Powell ran for president, I'd vote for him, he's an American to me. But I 89:00have no respect for the African, Black community. To me, their role model is Mike Tyson, they don't have Colin Powell, but there's some very famous neurological surgeon who's a Black man. Foremost surgeons in this country, those men, I stand in awe of them. But if I look at the Black community, I don't have much, I don't want to have much to do with them. They won't pull themselves up. They'll take a free handout, and that's it. Quick way to the Cadillac, you know.

PASICK: Shall we stop?

CARINO: Yeah, I don't care, it's up to you.

PASICK: Yeah, thanks, thanks dad.

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0:00 - Introduction to the interview process by Patricia Carino Pasick

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4:50 - Identity as an American of mixed heritage

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8:55 - His parents' mixed marriage and race relations

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15:35 - Race relations, growing up in Brooklyn, and moving to Flatbush

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24:06 - Filipino identity and culture growing up

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30:17 - Effect of World War II on Filipinos in US

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33:33 - Dating, race, and Erasmus Hall High School

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43:04 - Filipino community center on Fulton Street, his father, his sister

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51:18 - Being Filipino in New York City versus Grand Rapids and other places

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60:32 - Conflicts in interracial dating

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66:24 - Courting his wife and her family's reaction to his heritage

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71:59 - His mother's views on race and half-Filipino/half-Black friend

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77:29 - Filipino pride in the family and Filipino gatherings

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80:29 - Explaining his race

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82:22 - Proving his worth as a mixed race person and thoughts on Filipinos and other Asian cultures

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Interview Description

Oral History Interview with Theodore Carino
Theodore Carino was born in 1920 in Brooklyn to a Filipino father (from Bauan, Batanaas) and a mother of Norwegian-German descent. As a young boy his family lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and then moved back to Brooklyn. He lived on Johnson Street in the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood, Emerson Place in the neighborhood of Clinton Hill, and later moved to the neighborhood of Flatbush. He attended PS 5, Erasmus Hall High School, and the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. After attending college for several years, he joined the Army Air Corps. Carino then had a long career as an engineer in the defense and aerospace industry, working for industry leaders such as Sperry Rand and Lear Jet. He was briefly married to Alice (Tomkins) Lamont, with whom he had one daughter, Janet Stephanie (Carino) Seibel. He met his second wife, Imogene "Jean" Rainey while he was stationed in Tennessee with the Army Air Corps. They lived in Brooklyn, then Queens, West Islip (Long Island), Grand Rapids (Michigan), and finally Florida, where they retired. They had three children, Patricia, Peter, and Phillip.

In the interview, Carino discusses his identity as an American of mixed Filipino and Norwegian-German heritage, his experiences with interracial dating and marriage, growing up in the Downtown Brooklyn and Flatbush neighborhoods of Brooklyn, the Filipino communities in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, World War II and anti-Asian sentiment, and the effect of his heritage on his life. The interview was conducted by Carino's daughter, Patricia Carino Pasick, in The Villages, Florida.

The collection contains nine interviews (with eight individuals) who were part of a Filipino-American community that was located at 72 and 74 Johnson Street in the Downtown neighborhood of Brooklyn in the early twentieth century. In addition the interview recordings and transcripts, the collection contains digital images relating to some of the narrators.


Carino, Theodore, Oral history interview conducted by Patricia Pasick, August 26, 2004, Patricia Carino Pasick collection of Johnson Street Filipino-American oral, 2013.001.03; Brooklyn Historical Society.


  • Carino, Imogene
  • Carino, Theodore
  • Pasick, Patricia


  • Filipino Americans
  • Interethnic dating
  • Interethnic marriage
  • Interracial dating
  • Interracial marriage
  • Race identity
  • Race relations
  • Racially mixed families
  • Racially mixed people
  • Racism
  • World War, 1939-1945


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Downtown Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Flatbush (New York, N.Y.)
  • Grand Rapids (Mich.)
  • Johnson Street (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • Tennessee


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Finding Aid

Patricia Carino Pasick collection of Johnson Street Filipino-American oral