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Moving to the West Bronx and my stepfather


Childhood memories
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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We lived... New York, East Bronx and West Bronx is like, I don’t know, it’s like moving from... I guess, it would’ve been like moving from Parkside Avenue to Mantua, from Mantua to Parkside, okay, in those days. We lived... at first we lived in this, you know, when you’re a kid, you know, you don’t, you don’t think it’s so terrible that we lived in the... East Bronx was a, a pretty rundown... they used to, they had these old tenement buildings that were all walk-ups. There was no such thing as an elevator. And, my mother, being a single parent, placed us... they tell me that I was the first infant in the, what they called the first Jewish Lady’s Home Nursery. There’s a street called Fulton Avenue in, in the Bronx, which several years ago, I drove through there to see, to see the old neighbourhood, some of the things I could see, but it was right near the corner of a... of Crotona Park in the Bronx. The Bronx has several parks but Crotona Park is a fairly big park, and right, that corner is where Crotona Park is, so I can remember that, and so we lived on the St Paul’s Place which is a street that’s still there. But what they have on that street now, they’ve torn down all those buildings, basically, they have a big housing project, okay, although some of the street is still, still intact. There was a... when we were kids the corner of... there was an elevated train on what I think was Webster Avenue, is what it was called, and that was eventually torn down, but on the corner was a candy store. In New York the concept of a candy store is unique. It’s not, you know, when they say candy store they mean, like, a... it’s, it’s more like a, a combination store for... candy store, soda, you know, soda fountain. You’d go there if you wanted... They had pinball machines that you could play, and you bought school supplies there, sort of, penny candies, and so on, so a lot of people used to hang out at the candy, corner candy store. Now, my mother, when she would, would take us to the nursery, and every day when, when she came home she would take us to that candy store and we would, my sister and I, would share a, a chocolate milkshake. That was, you know, in those days you could probably buy it for a nickel or a dime, and I grew up on those things. Actually, it took me decades before I got out of the habit of drink, drinking milkshakes. I, I still, once in a while I crave them, you know, but... when I went, when I went to college in, in Colorado where by the time I... when I was a freshman, they had a, a dairy in the, in the centre of Boulder. I forget the name, but you could go down there and for 11 cents, this is 1942, for 11 cents all the milkshake you could consume, loaded with ice cream and everything, you know, so you could, you could live off of that. Anyhow, so, but we, we didn’t have milkshakes. We had malted milks, okay, so we also added malt to it. And, so, my mother would take us there, and she, she had a, a job doing what they call... those days poor working girls could, she, she didn’t have any, any training or anything, well, she was 15 when she got pregnant. She graduated from grammar school but she had no particular skills, so she went to work doing piece work and she work, did... what she did was if you buy costume jewellery, costume jewellery is made out of something with... they just take rhinestones and you put these rhinestones in, in, I guess they’re prefabricated, moulded settings and they make costume jewellery out of it, so that was her job. She’d get a batch of these moulds and then she’d get the, a whole pile of, of stones or beads, or whatever the hell they were, and, I’ll never forget, and banana oil. Do you know what banana oil smells like? If I smell banana oil I get - it’s instantaneous, I was imprinted with that smell, because she would come home and we would sit around the kitchen table and help her put these stones with the banana oil into the thing, you know, and she’d get paid for every, you know, I don’t know what they paid her, probably a, a couple of cents for every one she did and she’d bring them down. That’s how she managed to... she worked in... my uncle helped her.

Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) was an American scientist and publisher. In 1960 Garfield set up the Institute for Scientific Information which produced, among many other things, the Science Citation Index and fulfilled his dream of a multidisciplinary citation index. The impact of this is incalculable: without Garfield’s pioneering work, the field of scientometrics would have a very different landscape, and the study of scholarly communication would be considerably poorer.

Listeners: Henry Small

Henry Small is currently serving part-time as a research scientist at Thomson Reuters. He was formerly the director of research services and chief scientist. He received a joint PhD in chemistry and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career as a historian of science at the American Institute of Physics' Center for History and Philosophy of Physics where he served as interim director until joining ISI (now Thomson Reuters) in 1972. He has published over 100 papers and book chapters on topics in citation analysis and the mapping of science. Dr Small is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, and past president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Infometrics. His current research interests include the use of co-citation contexts to understand the nature of inter-disciplinary versus intra-disciplinary science as revealed by science mapping.

Duration: 5 minutes, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009