This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Luci Cunningham was conducted in Hudson, New York, on June 5, 2013 for the Oral History Summer School 2013 project. Luci was born and raised in Hudson, living first on Allen Street and then at 254 Union Street. She now lives in Ghent.
Luci is the only child of Italian immigrant parents. She tells the story of her parents’ immigration from Italy to Hudson and their work in local Hudson industries, including the mushroom factory and the sewing factories. She describes life in Hudson’s Italian immigrant community below Third Street, touching on family life, Italian food, St. Mary’s school, Mount Carmel Church, community fund raising, Don’s Confectionary Store soda fountain, evening walks to visit with neighbors on the front steps, bocce games, dances, scopa card games, parades and roller skating. She tells about trips to Italy and compares visits with extended family to life at home as an only child. She describes the night St. Mary’s grade school at Allen Street and Third Street burned. After Luci married, she and her husband lived in an apartment in her parents’ house for several years. She describes the new stores opening on Fairview in Greenport, the boarding up of businesses on Warren Street and the impact on Hudson. In 1989, Luci, her husband and young children moved to Ghent. Luci compares her life in Hudson to that in her new home in the country and the life of her children growing up in Ghent to the way she grew up in Hudson. She describes the recent revitalization of Warren Street and changes in the community. Three years ago, Luci became active in Below Third, an organization promoting business on Warren Street below Third Street, and talks about their activities. She describes “Spout” the whale, a popular parade float from her Childhood that was found in storage and returned to the Flag Day parade line-up. Luci talks about her hopes for the future of Hudson and her grown daughter’s desire to move back to Hudson.
I lived in four different states before moving to Houston, Texas in 1980 during the oil boom to teach in the inner city. I returned to school for a law degree and since 1986 have practiced law in Houston. I switched from renter in a “transitional” Houston neighborhood to owner when I purchased my house in 1987. I have been active in community projects since 1993, most recently co-chairing the process to obtain historic designation for our neighborhood. I attended Oral History Summer School 2013 to learn how to develop an oral history project for our neighborhood as well as a project for my family.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”