Uncle Pat

by Jack Keegan


Uncle Pat had very little, if any, formal education, but was a very bright business man. He traveled through the country, doing many jobs as they became available. Receiving many learning experiences, which he used later in his many ventures. Returning to Newark, he rented a large house on Mulberry Street. In it he ran a rooming house, it was between the Stove Factory and the Fire House on Mulberry Street.

The Fire Station on the corner of Mulberry and Lafayette Street at that time, the 1930s, housed the Water Tower, Truck #1, Engine #1 and First Battalion Chief. Over the years my uncle got to know practically all the fire fighters attached to the different companies, many on a first name basis.

Visiting him I had the pleasure of clambering over many types of fire apparatus, Pumpers, Hook and Ladders and the Water Tower. I think that most kids at that age glamorized Firefighters and would love to be one.

At the back of the station, the firemen had constructed a three walled handball court. It was there in place of the stables that had housed the horses, that originally pulled the fire engines. I spent many a pleasant morning or afternoon, playing handball with my father and uncle, sometimes joined by one of the firefighters. Hitting that black hard rubber ball against the wall, we did not use gloves, bare handed it stung at first but after a time you felt no pain. My father was a very great handball player and competed in tournaments through the Metro area. It was a fast and tricky game. And he apparently did well at it. He sure taught me many things about the game. I do remember well those days of my youth.


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