THE FARM

"Hard work and good food makes for a long life," my Aunt Toni says.

“Hard work and good food makes for a long life,” my Aunt Toni says. My grandfather and grandmother bought the farm with Zia Mack and Zi’ Pasquale in 1912. They “went in together.” They bought small pieces of land, a little at time as they had the money from Mrs Piersall. First they bought the house, then the land around it, piece by piece. There might not even have been real floors when they first bought it. The kitchen was in the basement. They cooked in the fireplace. The root cellar was there. There was no running water. Then Grandpa and Zi Pasquale were fighting and Grandpa bought Zi Pasquale out. When Mrs. Piersall moved to Florida she tried to talk my grandfather into buying all the rest of her land. “Send me the money when you have it.” But my grandfather wanted to only buy the land he had the money for. He would have owned a major section of Waterbury had he taken her up on her offer.

When they first bought the farm my grandfather had an artesian well built near the slaughter house. The oven used to be in a kind of a wood shed next to the house—and they couldn’t get insurance with the oven so close to the house so that’s why they had to build a new one down by the road, because it had to be a certain distance away from the house.

One year they had so many tomatoes Grandpa tried to sell large baskets of tomatoes for 10 cents a basket and people were so poor at that time they wouldn’t buy them. It was the depression—what they didn’t eat or sell they canned. And they’d make u conserve too.

They had a German mid-wife come to the house when my grandmother was due to give birth—all the children were born on the farm (except for Ag who was born in Italy). The expression was that, “She brought Vitoria out.”

The house was built in 1837 as a country club. It was fully functioning farm until 1978. It’s still completely intact, all the land, and the well and the oven are still there if not in use. My brother Rocky has cows on the farm for half of the year. There is still a huge kitchen garden. My Uncle always sends me home with huge bags of tomatoes, zucchini, mint, corn, greens beets in August. Aunt Bea and Uncle Rocco still can the raspberries and can the pears from the tree.

The pigs are no longer on the farm. And there are old rusted out farm machines stranded in some of the fields. But the land and the lakes and the oven and the well are still there.