Ralph Grasso


Cardillo Fitzgerald, Mary Ann


Ennis-McMillan, Michael , Skidmore College

McKee, Elijah , Skidmore College

Cardillo Fitzgerald, Mary Ann

Document Type

Annotated Transcript

Creation Date

May 13, 1999

Annotated Transcription Publication Date

September 2, 2020


Italian immigrants, childhood memories, Beekman Street, Grasso's Italian Ice, Korean War


Ralph Grasso (1933- ) was born in Saratoga Springs to Italian immigrant parents. The conversation includes childhood memories of growing up on the West Side, playing games, serving as an altar boy, and working as a shoe shiner and assisting in his father’s store on Beekman Street. He explains adult life, including playing bocce ball and card games. The conversation includes information about the origin of Grasso’s Italian Ice business, and Ralph describes other community activities, including wedding receptions, making wine, caring for neighborhoods, and raising a family. He served in the Korean War. The conversation includes Dolores Grasso, Ralph’s wife, and Marge Van Meter. (Interview duration: 1:12:08)


The West Side Oral Narrative Project is voluntary, community initiative to document oral heritage of long-term residents of the West Side neighborhood of Saratoga Springs. The collection began with 62 interviews recorded from 1998-1999 that explore the experiences of working-class and immigrant residents living and working on the West Side. Interviewees reflect on daily life and community events from the 1920s up to the 1990s, particularly focusing on African-Americans, Irish-Americans, and Italian-Americans. The West Side Narrative Project Collection is available at the Saratoga Room at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. The annotated transcripts are presented as the West Side Oral Narrative Project: Transcribing Discourse and Diversity, a series of documents and other digital material organized by faculty and students from the Department of Anthropology.

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