Remembering the Stephen Crane Village

by Lois Ann Dodds


I thought I lived in a very poor was, but we had good friends and lots of fun. After all these years I can now say I had a wonderful childhood on a dime! I remember looking out of my girlfriends window and watching the young boys practicing their music skills. Later they became the Four Seasons. I remember Dickie Dees and their fabulous hot dog and potatoes sandwiches in a La-Bettes roll. Another favorite was a lunch that was in Branch Brook Park on a hotdog cart where the hotdogs were covered with red hot onions and a little mustard.

My friend Willy and I climbing the beautiful blooming cherry blossom tree that caught the eye of a Newark Star Ledger photographer. On that Sunday my picture was planted on the front page climbing and sitting in the tree. Everyday in the summer, Willy, Joann and I spent walking and exploring the park, never a care about our safety and we were only in our very early teens. Those were the days...nobody bothered friends had big brothers and we were from the Village...need I say more.

We dressed in tight Levis and wore our father's white shirts with the sleeves rolled up and shirt tails hanging low. Oh..Don't forget our "softie" that only lasted a few months but we couldn't do without them. Even if we had to put cardboard inside our ballerina shoes to protect our feet from the streets, these were a major part of our attire.

Oh, back to the food.....Then there were those wonderful eggplant or meatball sandwiches from Uncle Zips deli on Bloomfield Avenue. What about Ting-a-Longs and their lemon ice and the Charlotte Rouses filled with whipping cream on 6th Street. I wonder where I picked up all these fat cells the years past. At that time I tipped the scales at barely 100 pounds.

Our fun also consisted of hanging around the boys who carried the "monkey wrench" that opened the hydrants that cooled us off until the police came and turned off our fun. Later I would get hell because the water in the Village was rusty for days....oh what a blast.

Lois Miele Dodds hanging out in California.


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