Oral-History:Anne Lucietto and Ledo Lucietto

About Interviewees

Anne Lucietto received a mechanical engineering degree from Marquette University. Anne received a Ph.D. from Purdue University after working in industry and teaching as community college adjunct faculty member for over 20 years. Anne is a Fellow of the Society of Women Engineers.

Anne's father, Ledo Lucietto, co-owned Byron-Lambert Co. for 50 years, a family-run tool and die shop outside of Chicago that made wire forms and metal stampings.

During their interview, Ledo and Anne reminisce about Anne's experience growing up in her family's machine shop, asking her father how things worked, and taking toys and household appliances apart. Ledo explains that other men at the time didn't understand why he supported his daughters pursuit of college. They also discuss the Italian American neighborhood in which they lived.

About the Interview

An interview conducted by Anne Lucietto and Ledo Lucietto for the Society of Women Engineers and StoryCorps, November 7, 2008.

Interview LOH002110.8 at the Walter P. Reuther Library and Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University.

Copyright Statement

This interview was conducted as part of StoryCorps (www.storycorps.net), a nationwide initiative of Sound Portraits Productions to record and collect oral history interviews. The content of this oral history transcript, including photographs, audio and audiovisual clips, and biographical information, and are intended for noncommercial educational and personal use only. Copyright restrictions apply. Commercial publication, redistribution, or use of the content is not permitted.

Anyone wishing to use the text, image, or audio or audiovisual files associated with this oral history transcript for publication, commercial use, or any other use not expressly permitted, must contact Sound Portraits Productions directly.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

[Interviewee Name], interviewed by [Interviewer Name], SWE StoryCorps Interviews, Walter P. Reuther Library and Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, [Interview Date].

Interview

INTERVIEWEE: Anne Lucietto
INTERVIEWEE: Ledo Lucietto
DATE: 7 November 2008
PLACE: Baltimore, Maryland

Ledo Supports Anne's Interest in Engineering

Anne Lucietto

My name is Anne Lucietto. I’m 45 years old. Today’s date is November 7th, 2008. We’re in Baltimore, Maryland at the Society of Women Engineers Conference, and I will be talking to my father.

Ledo Lucietto

Name is Ledo Lucietto. My age is 80, 80 years old. Today’s date, oh, November 7, 2008. Baltimore, Maryland. And I am the father of Anne.

Anne Lucietto

So we’re here because I wanted to get⎯find out more about when I was growing up. So tell me when you first thought that I should be an engineer? (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Well, I have to say it was right around that you were probably five years old. You started to ask me many, many questions, and the questions were all related to⎯first it was, “Do you think I can do the work of an engineer? Do you think I can be an engineer?” [01:00] And my answer to that was yes. And then, another question that came up was, “Can a girl be an engineer?” And I said, “There’s no question why there should not be⎯any problem with being an engineer.” So then from there on, we started to go. [To facilitator] And the funny part about it all was the fact that she started to talk about becoming a mechanical engineer.

And the big story started, "How do you do this and how do you do that?" And if I did not know the answer, I would turn around and hunt and search in order to get some information so I could tell them to the best of my ability and as true as I could go. And it was a constant story in the car, no matter where we went, and how we did it. Coming home from work, I had two girls and the same conversation over and over again. [02:00] And today, I got to the point where I’m very, very proud of the results, and if I had to do it over again, I would do it the same way.

Anne Lucietto

So what did you tell us when we were little about all of the things that we could do? Do you remember those conversations?

Ledo Lucietto

They⎯well, I did say you could be an engineer of any sort, and you could become a doctor, or you could become anything that you wanted to do, and it’s just a matter of putting it in your mind and do it. And I said, “Don’t give up. Once you start, don’t give up.” And it was hard for them to get over the first hurdle. And after that, it was pretty much go. And that was the way that story went.

Anne Disassembling Household Objects As a Child

Anne Lucietto

So when I was a little kid, what did I do that made you know that I should be an engineer?

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, you were interested (laughs) in taking stuff apart. That was the funny part about it. You’d take it apart and “Daddy, how does it work? And Daddy, can we put it together?” I said, “You took it apart, you put it together.” [03:00]

Anne Lucietto

So what did I take apart?

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, little toys, little things. It was very elementary. And then one day, you started to look at a clock and you wanted to take it apart. You did it, and I put it together for you. (laughs) That’s how that went.

Anne Lucietto

So what else did I do when I was a kid?

Ledo Lucietto

Well, you started to get a hold of some tools and you started cutting wood and started doing things. They might not come out exactly square or otherwise, but we managed to get it to go. Now, I don’t know what happened to that stuff. So that’s how that inspired me to keep helping you, both of yous.

Anne's Experience in the Tool and Die Shop

Anne Lucietto

So why don’t you talk a little bit about what you were doing when we were little and what I used to do when you were doing that?

Ledo Lucietto

Well, are you talking about when you became of age?

Anne Lucietto

When⎯no, when you were⎯when you were working at your shop.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Oh, I’d take you with me and you’d watch the machines run, and you’d look and you’d ask me a lot of questions, and there were times when I couldn’t do much because I had to get that job done, get it over with. [04:00] I couldn’t spend the time. So I remember that. But then, I also remember another time when you did get quite a bit older, you would come to work with me and then you’d want to do something. So then you would be packaging parts, if you remember the packaging parts.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, I do. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

A hundred to a bag or whatever, or maybe looking them over to find out if they’re all okay or not. That, I remember. It was really a comical thing.

Presence of Ledo's Father, Luigi

Anne Lucietto

Who else did we go to the shop with?

Ledo Lucietto

With⎯with who⎯

Anne Lucietto

Way back when I was little, really little.

Ledo Lucietto

When you were little, well, I just held you by one hand and walked in there and looked around and⎯

Anne Lucietto

Do you remember the apron hanging in the shop?

Ledo Lucietto

The acorn. Yeah, I remember that.

Anne Lucietto

No, the apron?

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, the apron? That one there, yeah. That was my father’s apron.

Anne Lucietto

And what was he originally?

Ledo Lucietto

Originally, he was a mechanical engineer and he worked at that profession for many years, until he started his own business. And he was in⎯he owned the Venetian Marble Company, and⎯which is gone today. [05:00] The Depression wiped them all out. And then, he had the⎯worked with the Henderson [?] Engine Company, and that was over on Clybourn Avenue in Chicago, and that folded up because of the Depression. And then finally, he wound up⎯got a job and stuck with it, because he was afraid to lose. He had two kids⎯three kids at home, and he didn’t want to be without a few bucks. That’s⎯he had to work, and that was it. But that was sure heartbreaking to see what happened with him because of that.

Anne Lucietto

And then when he retired, he came and hung out with you guys at the shop.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, that one there, he used to come to work. And I’ll never forget the time⎯he’d come. He wouldn’t⎯“No, I don’t want no money. Just keeping busy.” So I’d come, keep him busy. And now, he would come up to me that one day and he says, “I’m going outside,” he says, “I got to get a little fresh air.” [06:00] And we were near a railroad track, so he took out some cardboard and laid down the cardboard. And I turned around and I said, “Look out there, he’s laying there.” And this guy come up from the train and he says, “This is a dead man.” I said, “No.” I said, “That’s my dad,” I says, “He’s just sleeping.” And the police came, you know, and I says, “What’s up?” He said, “Well, we’re going to have to haul him in.” I said, “Haul him in?” I says, “I’ll wake him up for you.” So I grabbed him by his hand I said, “Pa, hey, come on. Wake up. Wake up.” So then he turned around and he woke up and said, “What’s the matter?” He said, “What’s this police guy doing here?” He said, “What’s that train doing there?” The train stopped on the track because they saw him. Because we had this piece of ground on the side of the shop that was a pretty good size piece of grass there, right along the railroad, you know? And he was lying there, and I tell you the truth, it was funny, comical. (laughs) The police saw him lying there, he said, “We got to haul him away,” I said, “No,” I says, “I’ll wake him up.” [07:00] So then, he got back on the microphone and he said, “No, don’t send the ambulance.” And that’s how close⎯if we wouldn’t have walked out, I tell you something⎯we would have been looking for that poor old guy. Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

So what did he do at the shop for you guys?

Ledo Lucietto

Well, he just kept us occupied. And he said, “Let me run a machine,” or he’d make a part, or he’d make part of a tool or something. And that’s how he spent⎯he didn’t want to work heavy anymore.

Anne Lucietto

No.

Ledo Lucietto

You know? But he did make tools. He did spend the time. They weren’t finished, but I had to finish them or my brother finished them, but we were doing it.

Anne Lucietto

And I was there some of the time, wasn’t I?

Ledo Lucietto

And you were⎯and you were there many, many times. I tell you, it was really comical. And then, you’d go and say, “Hey Nonno.” And you said, “What is that?” Nonno, that means grandpa. “What is that? What are you doing?” [to facilitator] And that’s how she would spend the time, maybe have lunch with us or something. And then when she got tired, I had to take her home.

Anne Lucietto

And then he hung up his apron.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, well, he’d hang his apron right by the door. [08:00]

Anne Lucietto

And you guys had it there until the day you sold the shop.

Ledo Lucietto

That’s right. It was there. In fact, I think I might have brought it home. I think, I’m not sure.

Anne Lucietto

I sure hope you did. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, so⎯(laughs) Yeah, that was⎯

Anne Lucietto

I know that’s one that I looked at, and⎯

Anne Lucietto

You used that.

Ledo Lucietto

No, I looked at it. I wouldn’t touch it because I knew that was when he hung it there that last time, that was⎯that was him.

Anne Lucietto

Oh, you⎯oh, I see, OK. Yeah, so anyway, that’s the way that went. It was great.

Anne's Early Interest in Mechanics

Anne Lucietto

So what other things did we do as kids that made you think that I probably would end up as an engineer?

Ledo Lucietto

Well, if you remember, we’d go to the zoo, and the zoo was not quite the thing for you. You wanted to go to the science and industry museum. And we had to drive a good hour in order to get to it, but we went there as many times as we could. And if you remember, we used to go up to where the machine shop was and all those other pieces of equipment, and [to facilitator] she would spend a lot of time asking me, “I want to know what this is and what that is. And how would they make it?” That was the funny part, when you said, “How do you make this?” [09:00] You’d get a factory to build that stuff, you know? So⎯and that’s just how that worked out. It was great. I enjoyed doing it. I never⎯your sister did the same doggone thing, you know.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

(laughs) I really⎯it’s a laughing thing because when I remember back, those are memories. I really like every one of them. It was fun.

Anne Lucietto

So when you laugh, what are you thinking of?

Ledo Lucietto

What?

Anne Lucietto

What are you thinking of as you laugh?

Ledo Lucietto

When I laugh, what I think is the results. You became an engineer.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. Right.

Ledo Lucietto

You know?

Anne's Initial College Pursuit of Medicine and Music

Anne Lucietto

And where did I start when I left high school and went to college, that rebellious 18 year old that I was?

Ledo Lucietto

[to facilitator] Anne, she went over to Saint Teresa’s in Winona, Minnesota, in the medical⎯in the medical department. She got in the class⎯

Anne Lucietto

The music, right?

Ledo Lucietto

Well, music, too. And you've got a heck of a voice, so that’s quite nice. But I have to tell you one thing. If you remember that Saturday we came up here, you were dissecting this rabbit. [10:00]

Anne Lucietto

No, it was a cat.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, was it a cat?

Anne Lucietto

It was Eleanor the cat.

Ledo Lucietto

Okay. [to facilitator] And she said, “Daddy,” she says, “I don’t want to do this no more.” And then from there on, then she went to Marquette [University]. She went over to Marquette, and she excelled in what she was doing. She wanted to do that, and she became a mechanical engineer. So all that strength that we spent at the time, it was worth it regardless, whether you were going into medicine or not. That was well worth it. So, those are the memories. Sometimes I, shall we say, tear with joy, you know? So⎯.

Anne Disassembling Household Items as a Child

Anne Lucietto

Do you remember when we were kids, we used to ask you how you’d make something?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, all the time.

Anne Lucietto

And then the problem was we went to other people and started asking them that, and boy did they get frustrated.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

Remember those?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Those are the things that I never forget. It was really great. So, and I’m really happy that I did everything like that because this way, it really inspired you to keep going. [11:00] You know, that’s where the⎯the most important thing, that’s what it was. And then I’d work on the car. That one there, too. If you want to follow that one there, that was something. You take a car apart, “What is this, Daddy?” Yeah, it’d add on two hours no matter what I did. You’d take a starter out, “What’s that for? What happened to it?” You know? And that’s how it was. And the starter was easy to take out and put back in. But I had a problem. I’d put new brushes in, and then I’d turn around, and you fought like heck to get everything in place. You had to clean it all up, put it up, and the car ran after that, you know? But the thing that was really bad, sometimes, you’d take something apart and I’d sit there and wonder, What in the world did you do here? And then I’d talk to you and [you would] say, “Well, I took it apart. Daddy fix.” Remember that phrase?

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, but did you ever watch, when you fixed it, what I was doing? [12:00]

Ledo Lucietto

You were watching every move.

Anne Lucietto

I was watching real careful so I could take it apart and put it together myself the next time. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Right. You were very careful, very careful watching every move. So that’s how we did that. Yeah.

Working on the Family Vehicles

Anne Lucietto

Do you remember when you guys taught me how to adjust the carburetor in my truck?

Ledo Lucietto

Oh yeah. Yeah. It was tough at the beginning, until you turned around and really found out that this screw would work better if I turn it this way or that way, until you got it down to a balance.

Anne Lucietto

So we literally took the carburetor out of the truck and brought it in the shop.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh yeah, we took it out. I had trouble with it. So we took it out, and we took it out many, many times until we finally discovered it was a hole in the casting, so I had gone down to get a new⎯a new kind of part.

Anne Lucietto

New casting. Yeah.

Ledo Lucietto

New casting. Yeah. And that was all taken care of after that. So⎯but that was a big problem because when you’d stop the truck and turn the key off, and you’d go away for awhile, the car⎯truck wouldn’t start right away. You had to wait. And then after that, we got that fixed up, the carburetor worked well. [13:00]

Anne Lucietto

So what happens when I go to⎯when I go to the car place and I tell them what’s wrong with my car?

Ledo Lucietto

Well, they don’t want to mess with you.

Anne Lucietto

(laughs) They don’t believe me half the time.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, they don’t!

Anne Lucietto

And then, they come back with their eyeballs popping out going “Yeah, look at that.”

Ledo Lucietto

You know more than they do. That’s the funny part about it.

Anne Lucietto

It’s pretty scary, and it’s because we took the cars apart, isn’t it?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. That was all the experience. Past experience. It was⎯

Anne Lucietto

It’s too bad they don’t make the cars like that anymore. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Well, it’s going to get a lot worse if you really think about it.

Anne Lucietto

It’s true. It’s true.

Ledo Lucietto

So yeah, I’m waiting for the hybrids to come out, if they’re ever going to come out. You know, because I have to say, Are they going to come out? Because there’s a few of them out there, but I really don’t know if they’re going to make it. So yeah.

Italian American Neighborhood Pastimes

Anne Lucietto

Right, right. So what else did we do?

Ledo Lucietto

Well⎯

Anne Lucietto

You got to think a little bit, huh?

Ledo Lucietto

For recreation, we played bocce. Yeah. We made wine. And every⎯

Anne Lucietto

Right. Do you remember how you related all that to science?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, we used to talk about it that way.

Anne Lucietto

Bocce, we talked about the physics behind it. [14:00]

Ledo Lucietto

I remember you wanted to know the science in making wine. What happens to it after the grapes are crushed? It goes into fermentation stage.

Anne Lucietto

Right, and then we had to figure out how that all worked out. That was kind of fun.

Ledo Lucietto

(laughs) Yeah, and everybody liked to drink my wine and nobody wanted to help me make it.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, but remember when we were making it and you told us about fermentation? We thought maybe it was like it was rotting.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

It was pretty gross. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

It was a long process. The first stage, actually seven days. Eight days? Seven days? And then after that, then you⎯you go on a little further and then it’s time to put it in the barrel or carboy.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, but coming from an Italian family, that’s what we did.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, that’s the way it is.

Anne Lucietto

And Nonna and Nonno did it, too. Remember that?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. It was a family tradition that was handed down. And it stayed that way and it kept going. And it’s still going.

Anne Lucietto

Right. Yeah.

Anne's Choice of Engineering Over Music

Ledo Lucietto

So, I’m glad you enjoyed it. See what it does, it makes you more knowledgeable on what’s going on. So⎯ [15:00]

Anne Lucietto

Right. But then people think you’re a know-it-all.

Ledo Lucietto

We are. But I really don’t know it all.

Anne Lucietto

No, that’s good. See, that’s the sign of intelligence, right?

Ledo Lucietto

I guess that’s what it is. Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

(laughs) When you realize what your limitations are.

Ledo Lucietto

The what?

Anne Lucietto

When you realize what your limitations are.

Ledo Lucietto

Well, there’s a limitation to everybody.

Anne Lucietto

Absolutely.

Ledo Lucietto

You know? If you know that, then you’re in good shape.

Anne Lucietto

I think so. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

If you don’t know then I’m sorry, but there’s an awful lot of people missing the ball game, let me tell you something. They raise their kids as wild as you find them, you know? And then they say, “Boy, are you lucky.” Yeah, you’re lucky all right. You work at it. And that’s the part.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, we’ve had a lot of that.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. So⎯I don’t know.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. I’ve been told many times I’m lucky and I tell them, “You know how hard I had to work for that? You know how messed up I was coming out of high school going into music and biology?” (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. You know, I really thought⎯remember when I told you about music? It’s a good thing to know and a good thing to enjoy, but very few will make a good living. [16:00]

Anne Lucietto

Right.

Ledo Lucietto

And the few that do make a living, they’re way on top. But in the middle? Unh-unh.

Anne Lucietto

It’s difficult, I know.

Ledo Lucietto

You struggle, struggle. So anyway, that’s the way it goes. Anyway⎯.

Early School Lessons in the Shop

Anne Lucietto

So what else? Think about⎯think about when I was a kid and what were some of the other things that we did?

Ledo Lucietto

What we did?

Anne Lucietto

Do you remember before I went to kindergarten, everybody⎯and I was the only kid in the family?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

Do you remember what everybody did with me? (laughs) I was probably the only kid who could read and do math and everything else at that point.

Ledo Lucietto

You struggled like⎯you wanted to learn your mathematics. Because if you remember what I used to say, the most basic thing is your mathematics and your English, and some history. And when you look at some of the people you deal with, even if they’re 30 years old, they don’t know what’s going on, you know? And especially when it comes in to a lot of this stuff. So we talked about it, that’s all. [17:00]

Anne Lucietto

That’s right, and we did it, too.

Ledo Lucietto

We did it. We did it. And if I ran it up against the wall, I would research it and tell you later. And then somebody would say, “Well, we’re not interested in that. I’d say, “But you asked me about it, and here I spent all that time figuring it out.” So I got educated as well, you know, when you think about it.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Now, I’m happy. You changed so many jobs, and⎯but you’re successful at it, so I’m not going to complain about it.

Anne Lucietto

So you don’t worry about me anymore, huh?

Ledo Lucietto

No, I do worry about you. You’re my buddy. So, I do think about you a lot and I’m very happy you’re successful. So that’s all.

Anne Lucietto

That’s good. That’s good. You guys pushed me as a kid and I needed that.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, and I had⎯I met many of your friends and I like them. They’re very nice.

Anne Lucietto

That’s good.

Running the Lathe

Ledo Lucietto

So anyway, but anyway, you started the⎯you started to work on a lathe. [18:00] I forget⎯I don’t remember how old you were. Oh, I think 15 or 16 years old, something like that. And I always told you, “Wear your glasses, cover everything up.” I said, “Be very careful, and don’t push hard and just go easy. And if something is wrong, you call me right away.” And that’s what you did. So⎯

Anne Lucietto

But it was cool running the lathe.

Ledo Lucietto

What?

Anne Lucietto

Because you put the metal in and you actually watch it change.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. So⎯

Anne Lucietto

And it’s your hands that do it.

Ledo Lucietto

Well, you have to be careful not to get them on your hands.

Anne Lucietto

Well, no, I know. But I mean it’s you actually controlling the machine and making it happen, and that’s the cool part.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

Anne Following Ledo Around in the Shop

Anne Lucietto

Did you ever notice that I always followed you around the shop watching and then I’d play around?

Ledo Lucietto

You followed⎯I thought there was a magnet hooked up to me and to you.

Anne Lucietto

(laughs) Yeah. When you got tired of me, I went over to Uncle Lambert, (laughs) and I’d just bounce between the two of you.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. So anyway, yeah, we did a pretty good job on that. I really enjoyed. [19:00] If I had to do it over again, I’d do it again.

Anne Lucietto

Yep, same here.

Ledo Lucietto

I would have no problem with that.

Anne Lucietto

Same here. It was pretty cool.

Ledo's Pride in His Daughters

Ledo Lucietto

So I only have two girls, and I struggled with both of them, but then it got very easy and you finally made up your minds. And then you both reached the pinnacle of success, if I have to say it that way. So I have to say, I’m proud of both of yous, and I have no questions about that.

Anne Lucietto

Took a little while, huh?

Ledo Lucietto

Well, it was a little while. It took a little work. But it’s worth it, it’s worth it. Because I look at some others, I’m sorry for them, you know? So what bothers me is so many people don’t want their children above them. And me, I know I never felt that way. I wanted my children above me.

Anne Lucietto

Well, we pull you with us.

Ledo Lucietto

So, you know. So, anyway. So what else was there?

Anne Lucietto

Can you think of any other little stories from when I was a kid, things we did and stuff we did?

Trip to See Liberty Bell and Niagara

Ledo Lucietto

Well, we’d go to Grandpa’s farm, or we’d go traveling to Canada, and go see Niagara Falls. [20:00] Oh, there’s one I’ll never forget, it just come to my mind. I drove all day long to get to Pennsylvania, because I wanted you to see the Liberty Bell. And you know, driving all day and then I was supposed to go straight north. It was tough. So I got to the place, and there I got in there. We parked the car out on the street. I knocked on the door because the door was locked, and this gentleman, this watchman turned around and he opened the door and he says, “We’re closed.” And I said, “No, mister.” I said, “I traveled all day long for my children,” I says, “and I just couldn’t make out at all.” I said, “Now you tell me it’s closed.” I said, “By how much?” He said “Twenty minutes.” And I said, “Listen,” I said, “Can’t you kind of break the law a little bit, bend it?” And I said, “All I want them to see that we went to the Liberty Bell.” [21:00] And so anyway, he opened the door and let me in, and I went over there and I got my kids out of the car and the wife, and then I⎯they saw the Liberty Bell. He said, “We just brought it down today and it’s going to be moved tomorrow.” So I remember telling my kids, I said, “Go ahead and touch the Liberty Bell.”

Anne Lucietto

Right, and the man told us to stick our finger in the crack.

Ledo Lucietto

Yes, and there was a crack with a peg in there to keep it from cracking any further. And I said, “Put your finger in there.” I said. [to facilitator] And so both of them put their finger in there. We came back a week later, and he told us that it was going to be across the street in a new location. I didn’t even believe him, you know?

Anne Lucietto

And it was, wasn’t it?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. We came back and there it was. And now, what I’m proud of, you touched the bell, put your finger in the crack, then when we came back a week later it was across the street and we saw it in its new location.

Anne Lucietto

So we were really like the last civilians to touch that Liberty Bell before it went into keeping. [22:00]

Ledo Lucietto

Exactly. Exactly. Nobody knows it, but this is really what happened.

Anne Lucietto

Well now they know.

Ledo Lucietto

Now they know. (laughs)

Anne Lucietto

Do you remember where we ended up that night?

Ledo Lucietto

Did we go to Canada or⎯no.

Anne Lucietto

No, we were on our way to Rhode Island, but we stopped in New Jersey. We did not continue on because you were tired.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, well that was a long haul.

Anne Lucietto

It was a long haul. Do you remember going to Rhode Island?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, I remember going to Rhode Island.

Anne Lucietto

What did we learn how to do in Rhode Island?

Ledo Lucietto

Fix my sister’s wiring on the outdoor lights.

Anne Lucietto

So what did I do?

Ledo Lucietto

You helped me.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, I held your tools, remember?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, you helped me.

Anne Lucietto

So what did I learn how to do then?

Ledo Lucietto

Electrical work. So⎯.

Anne Lucietto

You do know I do quite a bit of electrical work in what I do, right?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Well, you were able to do that anyway. You put a wire in and tighten it up on the screws. Oh, I’ll never forget that. There was a lot of things we did. I just don’t remember them all, I tell you. It was really⎯really a joke. You know what? I’m surprised that we wound up doing that repair work and Uncle Richard didn’t do it. [23:00] But I think he was busy as a professor over at the University of Rhode Island.

Anne Lucietto

He may have been gone. Right.

Ledo Lucietto

So anyway, what are you going to do? I mean, it was just a lot of work. And then from there, I never⎯after we left that, we were going to go to Canada. And we took off and we went through New York. I was so shocked to learn that the State of New York was so big.

Anne Lucietto

(laughs) It would be in that direction.

Ledo Lucietto

It was over 500 and some miles, you know?

Anne Lucietto

It’s a long ways.

Ledo Lucietto

But the funny part of it is we got in the middle and there was a convoy. Do you remember that convoy?

Anne Lucietto

Yes.

Ledo Lucietto

There must have been two or three, 400 hundred trucks moving a bunch of guys up in that⎯there was a fort up there and I don’t remember the name of it, but we were heading for Niagara Falls. That one there was a long trip. Man. [24:00] We got to Niagara Falls it must have been about 10:30, eleven o’clock and we were going to get to Kitchener, Ontario, which is another⎯and it started to rain. I couldn’t maintain that speed anymore because I was tired.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. It slowed us down.

Ledo Lucietto

Well, we were going 35 miles an hour, you know? So anyway, we had⎯

Anne's Aspiration to Be Like Ledo

Anne Lucietto

So every⎯every time we went to Canada, any time anybody needed anything, who did they go to?

Ledo Lucietto

Uncle Peter.

Anne Lucietto

They went to you.

Ledo Lucietto

It was me?

Anne Lucietto

You. Whenever you go somewhere, they need help, they go to you.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, it was me.

Anne Lucietto

You’re at home, they need you.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. So anyway, we did what we⎯

Anne Lucietto

Do you realize⎯do you realize that when it was you, I wanted to be that way?

Ledo Lucietto

I know you always were⎯

Anne Lucietto

I wanted everyone to come to me.

Ledo Lucietto

You were mimicking me. You wanted to be there and learn whatever you could.

Anne Lucietto

Right, but I still wanted everyone to come to me, just like they came to you. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. And then when you wound up, you stayed for two weeks or was it a month in Canada?

Anne Lucietto

I was up there for a month.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. [25:00] And you helped them out.

Anne Lucietto

Absolutely.

Ledo Lucietto

So. No, you were a good⎯you remembered everything. You did quite well, you know, what you did. So⎯.

Anne Lucietto

But see, that bit with everybody coming to you and always asking you what’s going on and helping them out and what have you is what I really, really wanted to do. And the other thing is I learned later on that when⎯I was following you around like a magnet.

Ledo Lucietto

You were!

Anne Lucietto

And I did that all the time. It wasn’t just at the shop. And did you ever realize that I copied you in just about everything you did?

Ledo Lucietto

Everything.

Anne Lucietto

And do you realize I walk like you, too?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, I know. I know that.

Anne Lucietto

I’m told, when you walk. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

No, you did⎯you followed my footsteps and I thought it was great.

Anne Lucietto

It’s pretty cool.

Ledo Lucietto

So at least⎯at least I showed you good things.

Anne Lucietto

Oh yeah.

Ledo Lucietto

And you didn’t learn bad things from me.

Anne Lucietto

No. And that’s why I wanted to do this interview.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. So then another thing⎯I don’t know, I just enjoyed it. That’s all.

Anne Lucietto

I know you did.

Cycling and Driving Lessons Learned

Ledo Lucietto

Hey, remember⎯remember the bicycle registration? [26:00]

Anne Lucietto

Yes. Go ahead, tell the story.

Ledo Lucietto

You came home from work⎯I came home from work and you came home from the bicycle registration and you said, “Daddy, I want your bike.” And you took off. You went back in town again. They said, “What’s this doing here?” You said, “This is my dad’s bike.” So they gave me a number, too. So it’s on the bike.

Anne Lucietto

Right, so we both have stickers on our bikes. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Right. And then you took your mother’s bike over there and got that registered, so that was pretty good. We never had a problem with the bikes being stolen. And I don’t⎯no, we never had trouble with that.

Anne Lucietto

No, but you know what I did when my bike didn’t work, don’t you?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, you’d take it apart, and fix it.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. And then I’d go ride it some more.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, and then it’d break again. Then you say, “What’s the matter?”

Anne Lucietto

I got really mad when I was in Milwaukee because I rode it on the beach. That was really stupid. That was dumb.

Ledo Lucietto

On a beach? It was very dumb.

Anne Lucietto

I got sand in the bearings. Oh man, you have no idea; I got really good at replacing the bearings on my bike. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

You learned all by yourself.

Anne Lucietto

I did.

Ledo Lucietto

Well, you knew how to do it before. [27:00]

Anne Lucietto

Well, I got a book from the library.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, but you learned one thing, though. You don’t ride a bike on the sand. You know?

Anne Lucietto

No, I learned that lesson. So I didn’t ride it on the sand anymore.

Ledo Lucietto

You learned how.

Anne Lucietto

No, I just stayed away from the beach. It was better that way.

Ledo Lucietto

I know. I said⎯

Anne Lucietto

Because the wheels go too far in the sand. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

But I said, “You learned how.” You don’t go into the sand. You can’t ride the bike on the sand.

Anne Lucietto

That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. But you do realize I needed wheels, right?

Ledo Lucietto

That’s right.

Anne Lucietto

Because as soon as I could get around, I needed my wheels. Do you remember? When did I start riding my two-wheeler all over town? Remember that?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Yeah. I remember that. I’m trying to remember the age.

Anne Lucietto

I think I was about 12 or 13.

Ledo Lucietto

Twelve, or I was thinking⎯

Anne Lucietto

Because I think when I was 12, you said, “You can’t leave the street,” and I was really ready to hang myself. It was terrible. And then when I turned 13, boy, me and my bike, we were all over town.

Ledo Lucietto

Well, I’m concerned about safety. I don’t want to come home and find my kids over there. I don’t want to say, “Hey, she’s gone.” That I wouldn’t like.

Anne Lucietto

And then what happened when I got my driver’s license? [28:00]

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, you don’t even talk about that. When you got your driver’s license, you drove me crazy. You know⎯

Anne Lucietto

(laughs) And you know why? And you know why? Because I thought cars were cool, and I knew how they worked.

Ledo Lucietto

You’d come around the corner and I told you to slow down, I think you put the gas on.

Anne Lucietto

Well, that was a stick shift and it was a snowstorm.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

I got what I deserved on that one. The whole neighborhood came out, and I got to hear about family members who hit vegetable carts in Argentina.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. You ran the car right into the snowbank.

Anne Lucietto

Snowbank. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

And then we couldn’t get it out.

Anne Lucietto

So that was another one of those lessons I learned. I didn’t put the car in the snowbank again. You realize that, right?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. And again, I started to copy you and your driving.

Ledo Lucietto

You do drive the way I do.

Anne Lucietto

I do.

Ledo Lucietto

And I’m glad you learned the right way and the good way. You haven’t had any trouble, have you?

Anne Lucietto

No, not at all.

Ledo Lucietto

Right, so the only thing I get a big kick out of is the fact that you go in to buy a car⎯they’re all pushing four wheels, four-wheel drive. [29:00]

Anne Lucietto

Right.

Ledo Lucietto

I don’t believe in them.

Anne Lucietto

I don’t, either.

Ledo Lucietto

You get a good setup and you drive properly, and never get stuck.

Anne Lucietto

You’re okay. Yeah, it’s a crutch, I agree.

Ledo Lucietto

You figure in all the years I’ve been driving, two times I got stuck. Once, a guy helped me out, and another time, we had handled it another way. So you see, that’s what makes the difference.

Men Criticizing Ledo's Support of Anne

Anne Lucietto

So, you knew I was going to be an engineer.

Ledo Lucietto

Who is?

Anne Lucietto

Me.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Oh, I knew you were going to be an engineer. And you know how many turn around⎯how many people said to me, “What do you want to⎯what do you want to send her to college for? She’s only a girl, only good for making babies.”

Anne Lucietto

Well, I did pretty good, didn’t I?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. But I’m saying, that’s all they said. And people were not happy about me⎯

Anne Lucietto

Well, that’s a very⎯that’s a very common stereotype, unfortunately.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, I know, but I always tell them, it’s my money and I’m going to worry about it.

Anne Lucietto

That’s right. So we did what was right for me, and it worked out, and you’re happy. Okay.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Oh, I’m very happy. [30:00] So⎯

Anne Lucietto

That sounds good. Okay.

Ledo's Father

Facilitator:

May I ask a couple of questions?

Anne Lucietto

Sure.

Facilitator:

Okay. (laughs) I was wondering if you had any more memories of your grandfather’s apron.

Anne Lucietto

You know, it’s funny. He used to wear it all the time when he was in the shop, and I was trying not to make my dad cry. He hung it up and he got really sick and then he died, and I was⎯I’m trying to think. It was right after my ⎯I think it was fifth or sixth⎯it was right after my sixth birthday. I had just graduated from kindergarten and the whole nine yards, and every time I went in the shop, I wanted to cry.

Ledo Lucietto

Because of Grandpa?

Anne Lucietto

Nonno. I missed him so much.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, okay.

Anne Lucietto

And then when they got ready to sell the shop, it was really hard on me because I knew that apron and I⎯and I told the two of them, my dad and my uncle⎯they were in it together⎯and I said, “Keep the apron, I want the apron.” [31:00] So I don’t know where the apron went, but hopefully, one day I get it. But that was the one thing I kept looking at going, “Nonno is still here.”

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. It was hard because, see, you know, even I have to tell you the truth. My dad was a wonderful man, and my mother was a wonderful person, you know? [to facilitator] And really, I came from a good background, and I instilled that on them. I tried to, anyway, and so I think I did a good job in bringing the kids up and I really enjoyed that. To me, that’s a great pleasure, because we know people that are⎯they have their children but they’re savages, they’re wild. You know, and then they turn around and look and say, “Boy, are you lucky you went to school.” And that’s the word that I get from a lot of them. So, too bad I didn’t bring that letter I got from someone just recently. I just⎯I turned 80 and I got a letter of accomplishment, you know, what I did and all that. [32:00] It’s a fantastic letter from a person who⎯I like her. She’s a nice lady. So there’s nothing I could do. You read that letter. It was⎯yeah.

Anne Lucietto

I did. She’s always sort of looked at you like an uncle.

Ledo Lucietto

I know.

Anne Lucietto

Because you and her dad were best friends when you were little. And I⎯

Ledo's Desire For Children to Do Better Than He

Ledo Lucietto

So, you see, I spent a lot of time with this family. And their father, I hate to say it, but didn’t want their children to excel. I’m sorry to say that. And I wanted my children to be above me, smarter than me. And as you progress in life, you know, in education, that’s just the way it is. That’s the way it should be. There’s no question about that. Just keep going.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, you do everything for your kids to try to make them better than what you got.

Ledo Lucietto

Right. What I did, I tried to do for my kids. I don’t care.

Facilitator:

Is that what your father did for you?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. Pretty much, it was transferred down. Because, you know, you learn it from them. That’s all. [33:00] And I think what was a big learning period was the fact that when my father lost everything in business because of the Depression. The Depression destroyed him. I hate to say that, but it really, really destroyed him. So I know we tried to pick up as a family, that much of the money that was lost in Chicago. And like he said, the lawyer said, they wrote these things up in such a way, you’ll never get a dime out of them. So we quit. We quit trying. You know, we tried, but it’s the way it goes. So I hope we don’t ever repeat.

Anne Lucietto

Just kind of as a cap, remember when I went for my interview at Caterpillar?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

What did you tell me?

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, (laughs) she sent you to Caterpillar. [to facilitator] She got one⎯one call, and I said, “You’re in.”

Anne Lucietto

And what did I say to you? Yeah, yeah, maybe, who knows?

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, you were⎯that right.

Anne Lucietto

Because I didn’t want to jinx it, right?

Ledo Lucietto

She said⎯yeah, you said, “Oh I don’t know.” [34:00] [to facilitator] She says, “We’ll wait.” Or something to that effect. She didn’t believe it. I said, “Hey, you got her, you’re in.” I said, “I can tell by what you said, by the way you said that to me, and my experience, you had that job.”

Anne Lucietto

Do you remember when I called you and told you I got the job? What did you say then?

Ledo Lucietto

I said I was happy for you.

Anne Lucietto

No, you said, “I told you so.”

Ledo Lucietto

Oh well, I did tell you so.

Anne Lucietto

And you never ever said that in the whole time I was growing up. It was so funny when you said that. I thought it was cute. And then what did I tell you about my first day going in on the job?

Ledo Lucietto

You know, I went through a lot in this little period here.

Anne Lucietto

I know that. I felt like Nonno was with me.

Ledo Lucietto

Really?

Anne Lucietto

Like it was supposed to happen.

Ledo Lucietto

Well, it was meant to happen. You tried. You applied, and you tried, and you got it. And that’s all I got t o tell you. But the way you said that to me, the combination of words, the way you put it, I don’t remember exactly, but it said to me Annie is in. [35:00] I told you, I turned around and I said to your mother⎯you didn’t know this⎯I said to your mother, I says, “Annie is going to be working for Caterpillar,” I said, because (laughter) it was just my experience of knowing people, conversation, to put the words together. And that’s what I did. So anyway, I was so sure that you were in there, and you just kind of said you didn’t know. And you didn’t know.

Anne Lucietto

No, I didn’t, but I had hoped so. But you don’t want to say yes when you don’t know, right? (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Oh no, you never admit it to something that’s not there.

Anne Lucietto

Exactly.

Ledo Lucietto

And then when you got the job, you called up in jubilee, says “I’m going to be working for Caterpillar.” So I was genuinely happy. It was real nice.

Anne Lucietto

Oh, I know you were. You’re always happy when I succeed.

Ledo Lucietto

So yeah. Well I was more concerned of [there] not being work, and you got it. So⎯and I know you’ll handle it. You do a great job there. So anyway. What else did you want?

Anne's Trips to the Park With Nonno

Facilitator:

What was your father’s name? [36:00]

Ledo Lucietto

Luigi. We used to call him Louie or Louis. He’s quite a⎯ (laughs)

Anne Lucietto

He was funny. You know what? He used to take his wine in a bag, and they would go down and all those old guys from down the street⎯I remember Nonno Marko, he was your godfather. But we would go sit there, me and all these old guys, and they would sit there talking in Italian and drinking their wine and having a blast. And sometimes, I’d chitter-chatter with them and sometimes I would go and run and play with the geese. Do you remember that? And then I came home one day with ripped-up tights and Nonna was about ready to cry because she thought you guys were going to be really mad at her. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

There it was. Yeah, but you⎯when they used to go to the park, there was about six or seven guys, they were all Italian guys making their own wine. And the funny part of it is they’d all bring a gallon of wine, sometimes they said only half. So they’d bring a gallon of wine.

Anne Lucietto

In a paper bag. See, that’s why I never thought the guys on the street with the paper bags and the bottles was all that wrong. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

So then they would play bocce ball and when they got through with one inning, they turn around and have a glass of wine. [37:00] Then, they’d go and shoot another one, see? And I never saw my dad come home loaded or my godfather. None of them got loaded because they took⎯it wasn’t a, you know, bowl, it was a little glass of wine. And they went⎯.

Anne Lucietto

Oh yeah, and I’d hang out with them. It was fun.

Ledo Lucietto

And the funny part of it is in the⎯the cops used to ride by with their cars, you know, and stop and say, “How you guys doing?" "Okay. You want a glass of wine?” They’d say, "No, I can’t drink on the job. I can’t drink on the job.” And so there was one day⎯one day, one of those guys came along and they had taken off the hat with the star, and he came walking in from that parking lot on the side over there, right off of [Horton?] Avenue. He came in, “Well,” he says, “I’m unarmed.” He says, “I’ll have a glass of wine.” (laughs) But he had taken the hat, the star, and he had no gun, no nothing.

Anne Lucietto

Basically went out of uniform. Yeah.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, out of uniform. [38:00] That’s pretty much the way it was. See, whenever they had free time, they had a minute to go, they used to find those guys, you know?

Anne Lucietto

Oh yeah. Well, we’d go sit on the front porch and they’d collect on somebody’s front porch, too. But the park is what I remember as a little kid. Yeah.

Ledo Lucietto

Park, yeah, but I remember what happened, too. You’d turn around⎯my father would grab you guys, one hand on each side, both kids, and they’d go in there. And my wife, your grandmother, would dress them up in good, clean clothes, nice. When they came home⎯

Anne Lucietto

(laughter) And then, we went and played in the pond, the park. It was great.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. You guys, you went⎯you went to the lagoon.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, it was wonderful. We had a blast.

Ledo Lucietto

And then, we came home⎯

Anne Lucietto

Oh boy, did we get in trouble.

Ledo Lucietto

[to facilitator] They were in mud, and poor Grandpa would be in all kinds of problems.

Anne Lucietto

That would be Nonno would be in all kinds of troubles, yeah.

Ledo Lucietto

Nonno would be in a lot of trouble.

Anne Lucietto

And Nonna would be hanging her head and darning as fast as she could. Yeah.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, she would wash the clothes. [to facilitator] The dirty clothes they had before was cleaner than what they had on.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. (laughs) [39:00] So I hung around with those guys. What kind of influence do you think they had on me? Because I hung around with them before I had any siblings, so I mean, that was⎯I was around for awhile.

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, it was fun.

Anne Lucietto

It was cool. Very, very cool, the old Italian neighborhood in Chicago.

Ledo Lucietto

That used to be a strong Italian neighborhood, then it started to break down a little bit. Then you have quite a mixture. Yeah.

Anne Lucietto

Sure, it changed. They all have. Yeah, they’ve all changed, absolutely. It’s good.

Closing Thoughts

Facilitator:

Well, I guess to wrap up, if your grandfather and your father was here right now, what would you say to him?

Anne Lucietto

Wow. (laughter)

Ledo Lucietto

My father? That poor guy would break in tears and be so happy.

Anne Lucietto

Oh, he’d be thrilled because this year, I’m getting the fellow [award]. I mean, just⎯it’s kind of the pinnacle of membership in the society [Society of Women Engineers].

Ledo Lucietto

Oh, he’d want to be⎯he’d want to be⎯he would come and join you here.

Anne Lucietto

Oh yeah. He’d be thrilled.

Ledo Lucietto

I don’t know how we’d get him there, but we’d get him.

Anne Lucietto

Well, you know, realistically, he’d be 120 something, because wasn’t he born in, like 1895, or '4 or something? [40:00]

Ledo Lucietto

Ninety-four, '94. So that would make him how old? Oh, he’s over 100 and some years old.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, about 120, almost, yeah. That’s something, isn’t it? When you think about it.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. I tell you, those are days I⎯will live with them forever. I can only think if when I’m gone, that I can only have them keep repeating, I wouldn’t mind them at all.

Anne Lucietto

No. We’d have to⎯we’d a lot to tell him, though, because he died in 1969, so that’s a long time ago. Wouldn’t we?

Ledo Lucietto

It’s quite a while.

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. A lot of catching up to do. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Well, I wouldn’t mind spending time to catch up with him.

Anne Lucietto

That would be very cool.

Ledo Lucietto

I’d love⎯I would love to have my dad with me now.

Anne Lucietto

It would be very cool.

Ledo Lucietto

So that’s⎯when you come from a harmonious family, it’s just a pleasure to be around. So, and I want to be with my kids for as long as I can.

Anne Lucietto

That’s good. We want you here.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah, so I don’t know. How much more⎯how much more can a parent do and give to his children? [41:00]

Anne Lucietto

Nothing, it’s all giveback, now. We take you on trips, remember that. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah. They go out of their way to take me with them, you know?

Anne Lucietto

Yeah, it’s because we like you.

Ledo Lucietto

Do you really?

Anne Lucietto

Yeah. (laughs)

Ledo Lucietto

I know, I realize that. I appreciate that, too.

Anne Lucietto

That’s good.

Ledo Lucietto

Yeah.

END OF INTERVIEW