I was born in Newark in 1940 and lived
down neck (ironbound section). My dad was born in Newark in 1917.
I still remember the cobble stone streets and the horses pulling
wagons (rag man and vegetable man). We used to step in the horse
manure for good luck. The best hot dogs were sold out of a wagon
pulled by horse. When we finished swimming, we always got one of
his hot dogs and then on our way home stopped at the Nabisco bakery
for discount donuts (couldn't past up the smell of freshly baked
bread in the air).
During World War II, my Dad had a war garden and chickens - imagine
that in a city. My favorite memories were down the Newark Bay, meadows
and dumps. We used to go there to crab, swim and collect mushrooms.
The bay was polluted but there were still crabs, eels and some small
fish. We'd catch kellies and use them for bait to catch crabs and
cook them on the beach. In the fall my dad would take us to find
mushrooms. I remember bird hunters there at the same time and I
used to retrieve their birds (something that helped me to decide
not to be a hunter). When we used to go down the bay past the stink
house (waste processing plant) we knew we were close to our destination.
I remember building an eel trap and bringing it down the bay on
my bicycle. After hurricanes we would find many interesting thinks
such as boats that went adrift. I also learned to ice skate on a
pond in the dumps with a pair of skates a buddy of mine stole from
the basement in his three story multi-family house.
All that changed once the oil companies moved in and started discharging
their sludge into the bay, and I guess I started growing up. Our
private swimming hole, which was an inlet, was filled with sludge
instead of water and the whole bay eventually was covered with oil,
killing everything that lived in it. So as things changed I spent
more time on the streets playing kick-the-can, buck-buck how many
fingers up, roller derby on the newly paved street, fishing with
one of my best buddies, sand lot ball, and pole vaulting in a lot
next to the public bath house. That's also were I earned one of
my first dollars shining shoes. I had a route going to the Pubs
and then ending up at the bathhouse to shine shoes. We had our pecking
order and had to get there the right time. Certain nights (I believe
it was Wed and Friday) were the best since people would go to the
bath house and have their shoes shined before going out that evening.
That bathhouse was also a place where you could go to swim. Alternate
days for boys and girls since you had to swim in the nude. On girls
day we'd play ball in the lot next store and fight over who would
retrieve a ball when it wound up on the roof of the bathhouse. I
never made it up there but what stories the guys told that did go
up and looked through the sky light.
Anyway, those are some fond memories from a boy from Newark. I
bet my Dad who is 87 could tell you even more.
Question: Can you tell me what happened to Fidelity Union Trust