Richard Sanetra: Christmas & jobs

I asked my grandpa Richard Sanetra how he celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas as a child. After this video clip, he said he didn’t remember having family over for holidays, because they lived far away. Richard’s family lived in Arizona. His uncle Ervin Sanetra lived in St. Charles, Illinois, and his mother’s family lived in Kankakee, Illinois.

These stories take place in Phoenix, Arizona area in the 1940’s. This was recorded 30 May 2018, and is spoken in English.

Transcription of audio file:

Julie: So, I want you to tell me about Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations, growing up.

Richard: When I was young, for Christmas time, because we were poor, I got one present. That’s what you got and you’re glad to get it.

Julie: Did you get one present from your family and one from Santa? Or just one total?

Richard: No, you just got one present, that’s it. One year I got a microscope set, another year I got a chemistry set. I was just young, it was kid stuff. I remember one year I got a wagon, a red wagon. But our Christmases weren’t really a lot of presents until we got older, and we left home, and got jobs and that. So then it was better.

June (Richard’s wife): Well, when you were in high school, your parents had built a big house in Phoenix. They had a nice house.

Richard: Yeah, they did. My dad, once he got working and building, he got to know some architects. And when he got his license, he would just go to the architect and say, “Do you have a job I can go bid on?” or whatever. And he would bid on it. He got a lot of contracts. But he had a hard time when he first started, making payroll, because it was just that way. That’s when he borrowed the money from me, he paid it back. But anyway, he would go in to contractors and say, “got anything I can build?” And they’d say, “Yeah, here give this guy a bid.” So, he built a lot of stuff that way. He started working for the unions. He would go to the union and remodeling offices, whatever, so he was strong in the union.