Forest Hill

by Joseph Picatello


Born in 1961 in a small “hospital” on the corner of Broadway and Grafton Ave. Lived in a 3 family house at the corner of Grafton and Woodside Ave. Grandmother down stairs aunts and uncles upstairs. Walked across the street to Woodruff’s store with 50 cents for 2 gallons of milk in glass containers. Kindergarten in Elliott St school, Good Counsel grammar school, Summer Ave library, Lin’s Chinese store on Summer Ave ( a nickel for those wax tubes with juice in them), walked to and from school too.

Watching Cobblestone streets paved over (Mt. Prospect Ave) street sweepers once a week, the produce guy with a green truck and scales hanging off walking behind it yelling something in Italian, seeing “tripe” on ice in the truck, the “beugelene” guy (know I misspelled that) coming in the house (basement) yelling and carrying a couple of jugs of something. Setting up the cases of Brookdale soda for when the guy delivered, once again just walked into the house where the doors were always unlocked, the Good Humor truck, doctor visits to the house, Branch Brook park, 4 diamonds, Mill St (baseball fields) dead man’s hill, (sledding) Bocce courts. Rental boats near Park Ave and the skating rink. The feast of St. Gerard, St. Anthony’s feast, the subway at Franklin St. going downtown to shop at Bamberger’s and S.Klein.

The smells out of a chocolate factory somewhere near Park Ave. Watching a guy slaughter and prepare a chicken at Zeppo’s (I think) near Belmont Ave. One stop in many for shopping back then. The German deli on Mt. Prospect Ave was another, Capri Bakery on Bloomfield Ave, ( Black and white cake) Kielb’s on Sunday for donuts (franklin Ave). Liss pharmacy, eating out at Beppy’s on Verona Ave, Vinnies barber shop, (Mt. Prospect Ave) Engine 13 fire dept. screaming down the streets.

Attended Essex Catholic for 1 year before transferring to Immaculate Conception H.S in Montclair all I know is my parents said tuition was going up to $750 dollars a year at Essex. (1976) just for the record I’ve seen Catholic H.S. tuition today starting at $14,000 (2015) LOL.

Thanks for the time and memories.


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