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Theodore Carino

Oral history interview conducted by Patricia Pasick

June 2007

Call number: 2013.001.04

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T. CARINO: There.

PASICK: Where?

CARINO: They were all sitting there; you have other chairs now. So I sat there and I told 'em: "Would you like to hear about the Carino family?" [laughter] So I told them all about the Carino family.

PASICK: You did!?


PASICK: What did you tell them?

T. CARINO: I told them that my Dad was from the Philippine Islands, you know, and I was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and Jean's from Tennessee…and we met in the service, and…all that.

PASICK: That's nice…. that's very cool.

T. CARINO: Well, they didn't know…. and they were sitting here, and I wanted to tell them all about the family….

PASICK: Did they ask questions?

T. CARINO: And I wanted to tell them all about the family what they were getting into. I told them…you know when I used to go with Pop Pop…well, he would 1:00always get on my back about getting a haircut, so I'd say, 'yeah, I'll go with you. We'll go down to Sands Street, to the Filipino barber, down there. Pop Pop would walk in there like he was John D. Rockefeller. Three or four Filipinos could come up to him, to 'touch him' you know, for money. He'd 'no, no, you get outta here---you work.' He didn't have Filipino friends, my Dad. He never had.

PASICK: But you had all those Filipino men who came to the house.

T. CARINO: The ones that came in there? He never brought Filipinos home, Pop Pop.

PASICK: Really.

T. CARINO: Um-ump. The only ones that came in there was when Pet run for Miss Philippines, and we met all these Filipinos, and then, uh…they were the only new Filipinos I ever met, with Aunt Pet running for Miss Philippines. And the 2:00first one was….Dom Briosa. He was the artist.

PASICK: Right.

T. CARINO: He was a kinda…those silhouettes that you see of Mom, he cut…

PASICK: Yeah, yeah… yeah.

T. CARINO: It was on the Hudson River, the Dayline Boat. He'd do your profile and put that profile in a little thing like that. And then he, uh…through that Miss Philippines, that's where Amelia met Mattie…Ventura. And then Mattie brought this Bob Ignacio. That man used to take a block of solid plastic, and with drills, dental drills, he used to make roses, and then he'd stain them, with dyes. Beautiful! Looked like a real rose imbedded right in that thing.



T. CARINO: That was Dom. I mean, that was Bob Ignacio. Nice man. And during the war, there was a big headline that came to the United States: B25 crashes into mess hall in India, or someplace like that, killing a lot of whaddyacallit, and this guy Bob Ignacio was in there, and he was horribly burned on his face. When he came back from the service--he was a good-looking Filipino man, and he was…this burned face he had. And he lived with Meelly for a while, and Mattie Ventura.

PASICK: Really…. you said the first new Filipinos you met was with Pet…

T. CARINO: And one of the guys… what was his name…. he was a graduate engineer from the University of Colorado…and a lot of times when these Filipinos would come up with Pet's manager--I forgot who that was her 4:00manager--and they'd bring these Filipinos up--"A dollar a vote!" and it was a scam really; it turned out to be a scam--But anyway, he brought up this one Filipino and I was in high school then, doing mathematics and stuff, and one day they were all in the living room, and I was at the other end, doing homework, and this Filipino was interested in what I was doing, you know. Oh, man did he----anytime he came to the house, he always looked me up to see if I was doing mathematics, or physics…He was an engineering graduate! I forget his name, he had a funny name. But my dad never brought Filipinos home. He used to call them 'bums.' "They're all a bunch of bums down there." They're always panhandling.


PASICK: Those particular ones?

T. CARINO: Whoever they were. He never brought any of the Sand Street crowd.


T. CARINO: Pop Pop never brought any of those Filipinos home.

PASICK: But Grandmom had a lot of Filipinos to the house.

T. CARINO: But that was for Aunt Pet.

PASICK: But I'm talking about Primo!

T. CARINO: Oh, Primo. And Uncle Joe came to us in 1925, in Philly. He was a Navy man, and I think he and Pop Pop served on this USS Wyoming, and like, uh, he needed a room, and his home port was Philly, and they got to be friends. I remember it might be a whole year and we'd never see him, but he sent Mom like 6:0010 bucks a month, something like that.

PASICK: Uh-huh…

CAROLYN CARINO: What did Pop Pop do?

T. CARINO: In the Navy, he was a cook. From the Philippines Islands, as a teenager, I guess. He got in the Navy as a 'mess attendant' they called them.

PASICK: A mess attendant?

T. CARINO: Yeah. They, well, the Navy only used Filipinos and Blacks for gophers, mess attendants.

PASICK: Ward attendants, cooks.

T. CARINO: Yeah, just assigned to the food part. And Pop Pop rose from that. He became a cook--you saw that: chief petty officer.

PASICK: He did become chief petty officer?

T. CARINO: Oh, yeah! That was like a sergeant.


T. CARINO: And during World War II, when he got booted off that ship, he went 7:00back and they put him at Floyd Bennett Field and he worked there. And then he put in for this--"I wanna go back into action." And they put him on the ship and he couldn't handle general quarters, he was fifty-something years old. They put him off in Virginia and he went back to Floyd Bennett Field.


T. CARINO: And he had the whole Black group coming in. He was a big shot.

PASICK: He was in charge of training then?

T. CARINO: He was chief petty officer for that whole training battalion. He was Mr. Big down there for these new recruits. But they were all Black. And then Joey worked for some base captain or some base admiral or someone.

PASICK: Did Pop Pop ever attend a special admiral?

T. CARINO: Yah! In Philly. When he was on shore duty I remember going to this 8:00admiral's house, 1925, 1926.

PASICK: He was an attendant to an admiral.

T. CARINO: Yeah. When his ship came back in, the ship was there, it'd be in dry dock or needing repair--


T. CARINO: --all the sailors had shore jobs. And Pop was assigned to an admiral's house.


T. CARINO: As one of the cooks! I remember him taking me there, and I met a couple of them. One of them made a shoebox for me that we had for many years in our family.

PASICK: A shoebox?

T. CARINO: It was a shoebox, and you know, what you put your foot on?


T. CARINO: He made that all out of once piece of wood. It was like a foot stand. 9:00Built right on the box, in the shape of a foot.

PASICK: Yeah! I think you still have it!

T. CARINO: We had it for many years until you kids bought me one.

PASICK: What's the connection to the admiral?

T. CARINO: These Filipinos worked there. When Pop was based home, then go back and work around the admiral's all day until night. The admiral had permanent workers who stayed on the base, but Pop Pop used to come home.

PASICK: I see. I see.

T. CARINO: That's probably when I got to know my Dad. But I had never seen Dad 10:00until 1925. I can't remember seeing my father until I was around five years old.

PASICK: Do you remember the first time you saw him? Do you have a scene in your mind or anything?

T. CARINO: Not really…. I remember one time Aunt Cath, and Uncle Pete, and Mom…. On Sundays you can go down to 'da Navy Yard. It was open to the public. Mom used to take me down there so I could see all the airplanes and all. And this one time we went there--I'll never forget this. It was Aunt Cath who said, "Flo, I think that's Pio's ship!' 289--it was '289" on this ship, you know. And Mom said, "By God, that is!" They had just come in! In those days, you couldn't send a telegram. Today they know when the ships are coming in. Then, they would 11:00just come in. I remember him--and we're looking up at the bow of the ship, and somebody's waving like that. It was Pop Pop! You know, it was him! And we waited there, and he came down, and he said, "We just got in." I remember him saying, "we just came in." He was probably hoping to surprise us, but here we were out there. And that's what you used to do, walk all around and see the ships. And then when that ship was in, I remember him taking me aboard that ship. That's when he showed me the guns! And he'd open up the bridge, and then the torpedoes in there. And he showed me the props going around.

PASICK: Wow that's a great story, that's a great story.


T. CARINO: Yeah, I remember that. I'll never forget that, Aunt Cath saying, "That's Pio's ship!" the 289, the Flusser. They'd come in, but they'd go out, and they'd be gone for months, and they'd come back but only provisions or something like that. This one time they came in for dry dock, Pop Pop, while he's aboard ship---See a destroyer, it didn't have many men, maybe a hundred or something guys. And probably the mess attendants weren't many either, probably 4 or so, the whole kitchen group--


T. CARINO: --And we had a Jewish butcher--what the hell was his name--


PASICK: In Philly?

T. CARINO: In Philly, right on the corner there, and Pop, he had to order provisions for the kitchen---Rosenberg, maybe--this guy was supplying meat for that ship, a big order! And Mom used to bitch about it--"You never even bring us hamburger!" [laughter] Big order, big sides of beef. I remember being in that man's house, three stories, in South Philly, right on the corner of Johnston and Darien. And we went in there; he had a room like your Aunt Freda's. He had a 14:00living room with rope across the entrance. I'll never forget that, it was like going into a museum. [laughter]

PASICK: Well, he was pretty wealthy after supplying the Fleet!

T. CARINO: No, not the Fleet, just that ship.

PASICK: I know. I'm joking.

T. CARINO: Then during the war before Pop shipped out, Joey got caught. They used to bring--see, we had things like stamps, for gasoline, butter, and dairy products. Pop Pop and Joey--mainly Joey because Pop Pop never got into that---used to get into butter that was supposed to be put on the tables but 15:00wouldn't be put on the tables because they didn't need to because it was extra.

PASICK: From the ships….

T. CARINO: No, from shore duty, from the mess halls. Joe would bring this butter, see? So, one time, either somebody snitched on Joe and all, but he had put this butter wrapped in newspaper and put it in the [car] engine compartment, but it didn't get hot. And the MPs opened that up; the shore patrol opened that up and caught him… [laughter]

PASICK: [laughter]

T. CARINO: …But nothin' happened. But we--that was another man, friend of Uncle Pete, whose name as Asanan, a Filipino, I don't know his last name. He had a car too. Asanan. He used to bring Mom crates of cantaloupe.


PASICK: Really?

T. CARINO: Yeah, and to Aunt Cath, who lived right next door, he'd bring crates of cantaloupe, and a whole box of eggs.

PASICK: So this helped the family eat during the Depression, no doubt.

T. CARINO: No, this was the twenties, honey, we didn't leave Philly until 1927.

PASICK: I see, you were five or six?

T. CARINO: I could remember…I go back to four years old when my Grandmom dropped dead in front of me.

PASICK: That was your first memory?

T. CARINO: That was my first real memory of remembering. I was playing outside, I wouldn't come in, and she wanted me to come in, so she sent Freddy, Freddy and 17:00a friend of his, and he went out to get me, and carry me in. I wouldn't come in. [laughter]

PASICK: Where were you playing?

T. CARINO: Right out there, in the dump…

PASICK: In the dump?

T. CARINO: Where our house was, we had an alley, which was a row.

PASICK: Right, I remember the alley.

T. CARINO: And right after the dump started. I mean it was the City Dump. The trucks used to go out and dump garbage there, and all that. It got to be like when you were kids, and we used to go to Secaucus, the pig place, and Mom would give you orange peels to hold over your nose, and we'd go over there and say to the guy, 'Wow, what a stink!' and he'd say 'What smell?' Well where we'd live we didn't smell anything. You got it in your whaddyacallit…

PASICK: So you were telling us the story of your grandmother…


T. CARINO: They carried me in and I was kickin' and fussin' and all that, and standin' there cryin' like all hell, my Grandmom--they had washboards--in a big tub, and she went like that --and she fell right down. She fell right down…


T. CARINO: And then Aunt Cath came in, and they gave her whiskey, hoping to bring her back but--

PASICK: She must have had a massive coronary.

T. CARINO: In those days, they buried from the house. I remember the casket.

PASICK: Yeah, laying out…

T. CARINO: But I remember my Grandmom before she died.

C. CARINO: Which side?

T. CARINO: My mother's side. Yeah, I remember before that. I remember before she died, we had a Victrola.

PASICK: [laughter]

T. CARINO: Victor Victrola--you can see the dog, like that.

PASICK: Yeah--the RCA dog.

T. CARINO: Yeah. And she would play one of the marches, I don't know which one it was, and we would march around, I had a flag!


PASICK: [laughter]

T. CARINO: She died. And it was not too long after that, we moved to Brooklyn.

PASICK: You moved to Brooklyn, yeah.

T. CARINO: But I started school there. I remember starting, I still remember my first day of school. Crying. Screaming and crying.

PASICK: That was PS…?

T. CARINO: No that was the Fell School. F-E-L-L. Right there, the Fell School, it was both elementary and the junior high. That's where Freddy went to junior high. I remember this teacher--I forget her name. This teacher came down, and she talked to Mom, and she was talkin' to me, and I got to--you know---she calmed me down.

PASICK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

T. CARINO: And she said, 'I want you to come meet children, somebody that you 20:00will be playing with. [laughter] So I--sniff--went up there, and she introduced me, and she said, 'This is Theodore, and he's going to be coming here…' Like that. That was my first day. Then we went back to the principal's office, and went home from there. And then the next day, we'd go to the principal's office, and this teacher would come down again, and all like that. I got indoctrinated. And then I got into that. But that teacher…. I can remember…she had like no chin. [laughter] But she was so nice. I had her for 1A and 1B. And then I had a real …Miss Katz! I was just startin' to feel my oats then. What we used to 21:00do--they had short skirts in those days, and I'd be at my desk and she'd be talking to another kid, and I'd get down. [laughter] I'd look up her skirt! [laughter] And that teacher--

PASICK: You were kind of a rat there, Dad.

T. CARINO: That teacher, one day she got me up and said, 'Theodore, spell wheel!' W-E-E-L…W-A-E-L. And she had me standin' up for that---you had an arithmetic period, this is your writing/penmanship period, this is your spelling period--I don't how long it was but I couldn't spell that damn word for nothin', and my sister Pet was probably the most well-known student in that elementary 22:00school. She was not only smart, but Mom put a bow in her hair, she was well-dressed, she could play the piano, my sister could, and the teacher said, 'I'm going to call your sister!' And she called Pet down, and she said, 'Will you spell wheel for your brother?' W-H-E-E-L! And my sister said, 'You shouldn't have made him cry.' She said that to that teacher. And Pet came over, and she kinda hugged me. I'll take that to my grave. Wheel, whatever. Who would ever put an 'h' in front of an 'e?' [laughter]

PASICK: So will you tell us about the best parts of growing up in Brooklyn?


T. CARINO: Oh, right Brooklyn. When we moved to Brooklyn, we were moved right in with Aunt Mamie, Mom's sister. We were in the same, uh, --oh, not originally, we moved to 70 Johnson Street, and Aunt Mamie still lived on Hudson Avenue, and Aunt Mamie she came up there. And there was Filipinos: us, and Aunt Mamie there, and my godmother, who married a Filipino, Astorga was his name.

PASICK: Your godfather?

T. CARINO: Yes- no! She was my godmother.

PASICK: Her first name?

T. CARINO: Astorga. I don't know what her maiden name was, she was an Irish, or a German, I forget.

PASICK: Married a Filipino, though…

T. CARINO: Yeah, Mr. Astorga. He was a Navy man who retired and worked for the post office. And they had three children: Stanley, Alice, and--whatever the 24:00youngest one's name was. But Alice would be like my age, Alice Astorga. And she would be a mestiza…. all of them there. Then I went to PS 5. There was no problem. I just went to that school. But then Zachy and George---That's a sad story about my cousins. I was friends with the two of them. The two brothers never spoke to each other, all of their lives. Well, my Uncle Gomez who was full-blooded Filipino. They had a cat-o-nine-tails--Do you know what a cat-o-nine-tails is? A stick with nine leather things on it? He used to beat the boys with that. You got beat with cat-o-nine tails, that's what he used to do. 25:00One of them broke a window, and he beat the Jesus out the other, and the one that he beat was not at fault. He beat the wrong one, see? And those two boys, from whatever age that was, never had anything to do with each other, though they lived together. But anyway, Zachy was a better ball player, but-- We used to play punch ball. He got me into this punch ball, though I was a little young, but there were other guys Zachy's age who had younger brothers I got to know, like the Jewish boy Louie Soebbel--I remember Louie Soebbel, and the Gruber boy. Louis Soebbel, the Gruber boy, and I--my first two friends in Brooklyn were two Jewish boys. I gravitated to Jewish kids my whole life.

PASICK: Me too!

T. CARINO: And then we uh, I grew up in that. I learned to play ball in Philly 26:00when I was a kid, you know throw a ball up in the air and catch it, and I got real good at it. I was only five years old. But anyway, when we got to Brooklyn there--in Philly a guy would throw you the ball, and it would bounce and you would hit it. But in Brooklyn, it was like tennis: you threw it up in the air and you would whack it, like tennis player would. And I got real good at that. And then I got so good at it--well, Zachy was probably 13 or 14 and I was only 7--and all his friends, they used to call the team the Pearlites, 'cause of Pearl Street and Johnson. And every Sunday there'd be neighborhoods, and guys 27:00who'd play each other. Everybody would put up a nickel and dime, and they'd cover it, and whoever won got the money. If you put in a nickel, you won a nickel, and if you put in a quarter, you'd win a quarter. And they'd write that down: 'how much did you put it' and they'd write that down. 'Nothin'?' then they'd write that down.

PASICK: What would they write it on?

T. CARINO: A piece of paper, or chalk, like 'Zach, how much you put down--a dime--okay a dime.' But I got to play with them big guys. I was pretty good…I got to play with the big guys. Zachy was good…Zachy could really catch. We used to have a playground up around Public School 5. It had swings.

PASICK: It's still there. Remember you and I--


T. CARINO: Yeah, I showed you that school. Had long chains--we used to get on that. You'd get horizontal on that thing…hell, you used to get 12-15 feet in the air. And then take off! You'd see who could go the farthest out there! You'd get a little scared at first when you're trying to learn it, but you'd swing so you're horizontal, and then you'd take off.

PASICK: Oh, you'd fly off of it.

T. CARINO: Yeah! You'd get off that damned thing. You'd get all these cinders in your hand…then we'd play thing game called Ring-A-Livio. Ring-A-Livio, you 29:00couldn't leave the block. You had to stay on the block, you'd hide somewhere on the block.

PASICK: And a block is like--?

T. CARINO: Both sides of the street. That was Pearl Street. This was Pearl Street this was Johnson, and this was Myrtle Avenue. There was stoops you could hide in, stuff like that. You couldn't go up on the roof. You weren't allowed on the roof.

PASICK: Could you go inside a house?

T. CARINO: No, you couldn't. You had to be outside someplace. Like you could hide behind somebody, some guys hanging around. See Zachy's age guys, they had a group that would hang around Grubert's Candy Store. About five or six of his guys hanging around there.

PASICK: I see.

T. CARINO: And you could hide anywhere you wanted to, like behind a garbage can, 30:00or something like that. And you had to go find the guy. The sewer plate was home base. And you'd try to find the guy, and if you saw him, you'd say, "I see you, Joey." And he would have to go beat me to the whatdoyoucallit. If he beat him, he'd go hide again. And you all took turns. And if you caught everybody, they'd have to sit around until you caught the last guy.

PASICK: How old were you about this time?

T. CARINO: Oh, I was probably gettin' around to be eight or nine, in there. Then we used to play another game, Kick the Can. Sewer plates were again home base, they were everything, 1st, 2nd, 3rd…no, sewer plates were home base and second 31:00base, and we'd have to make a chalk line for first base, and third base.

PASICK: And there weren't any cars parked there.

T. CARINO: Well, it got to be on Saturdays, all over Brooklyn they would designate 'play streets,' see. And they'd have a No Parking sign. We'd run that out there…but we used to run that out there on Wednesday, Thursdays… [laughter] …til the cops came and said, 'Get that outta here.' Every time we wanted to play ball, we'd run that sign out. Cars'd come down and they'd have to go around.

PASICK: Did you have a neighborhood cop?


PASICK: Did you have a neighborhood cop?

T. CARINO: Yeah, Torpi. Something like that: it began with a 'T' and ended with 32:00an 'I." And in those days, those cops had nightsticks. Of course, they had pistols, but they also had nightsticks. And during the elections--why it happened--the big guys, I wanna say like my cousin Zachy, what the big guys would do, during election, they would steal the newspaper stand. See, all candy stores had a newspaper stand, which had newspapers on it. And if you wanted a newspaper you'd go in, and pay for it. The big guys would steal these stands and burn them, see. And this Torpi, he was a big guy who'd say, 'get the stand back 33:00up on the place again,' you know. He was the neighborhood foot cop, foot patrollers these guys. They had these sticks, they'd run them like yo-yos. They could spin them, so everything like that. One day the guys that burned that thing, there was me and my friend Joey Molinari, and the fire's burning out, and we're standing there watchin' it, and then all of a sudden Jesus Christ I got this whack right across the base of my butt. It knocked me…here was Torpi. He'd hit me with that nightstick. "Where do you live?" He grabbed by the neck, the collar, and took me to my Mom. He said, 'your son, he burned the newspaper stands. One time, this Torpi--it was the time when the Communists would put up a 34:00stand, a little box, say, and they'd put up a flag, and they'd talk about Communism, right on the corner there, in English! And there'd be a few people around. That was very prevalent then, in my day. Well, it was around the Fourth of July, or around then, we could get firecrackers. We used to get things like torpedoes, from Mrs. Grubert's candy store. The only firecrackers you could buy were like these one-inchers, these 'torpedoes,' not the big ones. I don't who--Eddie Weldon, or Louie the Greek or Joe Molinari--says 'Next time the Communists come, let's go get the torpedoes and go up on the roof and throw the damn things down on 'em,' you know? Well, we went up on the corner roof, and 35:00they'd be right down there, and we'd throw them--POW! And Torpi the Cop-he'd have to stand there to be sure there was no, uh--

PASICK: --Interfering with Freedom of Speech--

T. CARINO: --And he'd look up, you know, and see us throwing these things, and he never did a damn thing about it. [laughter] So you know what side he was on. They were just--well, you know the things Mom with the sugar, and Aunt Freda--

PASICK: Sugar plums.

T. CARINO: Yeah, they'd look just like that. I remember when Mom made them; I thought they looked just like the torpedoes. Torpi--I mean we had like a dozen we'd throw down there--Torpi, nothing. But that guy, he's still talking, he never stopped and then we finished.



T. CARINO: But there were some bad times there. See, all neighborhoods have a gang, and you really didn't just walk around Brooklyn any place you wanted, see. Not in the Borough Hall section, in the areas called Red Hook, and the docks, which is the Italian neighborhood. And we were just on the edge of the Italian neighborhood, and around the corner was the Greeks. They had a tenement house there, they must've had 300, 200 apartments, and there must have been four or five of those, and they were all Greek. No, I'm wrong. Maybe 96-97% were all Greek, because Mrs. Grubert was there and she was Jewish, and that neighborhood 37:00up there--up around Tillary and Congress, all Italians. Up from us, all Puerto Ricans, a whole tenement house. That's where I used to run the numbers. There was four or five of those buildings, four stories, all Puerto Ricans in there.

C. CARINO: Was there a Filipino enclave?

T. CARINO: Us, there was three Filipinos: Carino, Gomez, Astorga. And that's it. Three Filipino families there, in that area.

PASICK: Where were the Filipinos in the pecking order?


PASICK: In the pecking order.

T. CARINO: Oh, when I first went to PS 5, they used to call me Chink. Hey Chink.


C. CARINO: Really? Chinese?

T. CARINO: Yeah, Chink. Guys who were not real friends, who didn't know my name. 'Hey, Chink.' That's when I used to get in a lot of fights. Me, and Cliff….

C. CARINO: Were you part of gang, Ted?

T. CARINO: Well, it's not a formal gang, like you're part of a gang gang, you know. But this was our neighborhood, see. Two or three guys walked into our neighborhood that we didn't know, you know, the big guys would, you know. There used to be a Turman Street Gang. The Turman Street gang were all Irish.

PASICK: Were they top of the heap?


PASICK: Were they top of the heap?

T. CARINO: They were a tough gang. They came from the Red Hook District way 39:00beyond Borough Hall. These guys were a roaming gang. They'd go into an area and look for trouble. Someone would yell out, 'Here comes the Turman Streeters!' Zachy and George--though Zachy and George never spoke--they had mutual friends in the group. Zachy had a couple, and George had a couple. In those days in the Greek tenements there, you know, they delivered milk, and you put the empties outside, in the hallway, the empty milk bottles. And somebody put out, 'Here come the Turman Streeters' and the Pearl Street guys would grab those milk bottles and bring them to the top of the roofs. Man, those bottles would come raining on them, and it'd have glass all over that street. And it used to flush 40:00those guys outta there. If you ever got caught in that Red Hook district, I'm telling you, if you couldn't fight you sure as hell better be able to run.

PASICK: You didn't venture too far, did you…?

T. CARINO: No, you didn't. I remember a couple of times, getting older, when I got into 17, 18, and 19, and I liked to date some of those girls, but you'd say 'I'll meet you.' You didn't go there and pick them up. You'd say, 'I'll meet you at the movie,' or something like that.

C. CARINO: Irish girl?

T. CARINO: Something like that….For four years I went with a Jewish girl from Erasmus Hall. Yeah. Rose Brustein. I got her in my yearbook. Yea, Rose Brustein! She'd forget her damn book and come sit with me…. in class, and I remember the 41:00teacher would come over and say, 'If Theodore doesn't mind, I don't either….' [laughter]. She'd sit with me, you know.

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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 father, a Filipino who worked for the U.S. Navy and immigrated to the United States, growing up in Philadelphia and the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood of Brooklyn, street games he played growing up, juvenile gangs in Brooklyn, the multi-ethnic composition of working class neighborhoods, and his time in Brooklyn schools (PS 5 and Erasmus Hall High School). The interview was conducted by Carino's daughter, Patricia Carino Pasick, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Carino's daughter-in-law, Caroline Carino, was also in attendance during the interview and occasionally interjects.

Please note that the transcript includes only the first forty minutes of the interview. In the remaining portion of the interview, Carino further discusses growing up in Philadelphia.

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, June 2007, Patricia Carino Pasick collection of Johnson Street Filipino-American oral, 2013.001.04; Brooklyn Historical Society.


  • Carino, Imogene
  • Carino, Theodore
  • Erasmus Hall High School
  • Floyd Bennett Field (New York, N.Y.)
  • Pasick, Patricia
  • United States. Navy


  • Filipino Americans
  • Games
  • Gangs
  • Play environments
  • Racially mixed families
  • Racially mixed people
  • School children
  • Schools


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Downtown Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Johnson Street (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)


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Finding Aid

Patricia Carino Pasick collection of Johnson Street Filipino-American oral