I remember Newark and the 1st ward

by Robert Mangine



Living on 2nd Garside with my mother and father, also staying with my Grandparent at 32 Garside.

My mother taking me to the bathhouse on Clifton Ave. 5 cents for a bar of soap and a towel. Swimming at Rotunda pool and my aunt slipping sandwiches under the fence from her back yard so my cousin Ang and I could stay all day.

Christmas time my mother taking me to downtown Newark on the bus to see the Christmas window display at Bam's and going on the merry go round getting a stocking filled with toys and afterwards walk to Neidicks for orange juice and a hot dog or to Woolworth's 5 & 10 for a soup and a sandwich.

The man that came a round with the small pony and I had my picture taken on it with a cowboy hat on. Or riding the merry go round on the truck for 5 cents we called it the doolie dool.

Meillo's fruit and vegetable store, Geanine's candy store, Andy the bleach man, the Italians had a word for bleach but I can't spell it, the ice man, Marabella's 5 & 10.

Sitting on the stoop at 32 Garside and listening to a Yankee game from the radio coming out of the Garside GI Club next door and drinking coffee sport.

The Victoria Castle and later the Sorrento.

Coming home from St. Lucy's School and seeing the Duggan truck in front of my building and knowing my mother had pie waiting for me.

Listening to Martin Block on WNEW and the Make Believe Ballroom, listening to all the radio shows and especially the Luigi Bosco show.

The VE Day bar and later the Sports Rest, the many social clubs and the colorful names, such as, Charlie Yellow, Sergeant Louie, The Sheriff, Bob Tee, Big and Little John, Blackie, Jinxs, Tish, Brother, Meanna and so many more.

St. Lucy's church at Christmas time, with all the Christmas trees filling the Altar and the Manger, the special room that housed St. Gerard.

The feast that started at Clifton Ave. All the way down 7th Ave. and the bands that played the Italian music.

The Sunday dinners at my Grandmothers, a must, for all the family to be at the table.

The clean, warm, railroad, coldwater flats, burning tangerine peels on the kitchen stove, the four sided toaster, the special toys like the monkeys playing the metal drum and crashing symbols, the bubble gum with baseball pictures inside.

Watching the old timers playing boccie or moda with their fingers for wine, it was called boss and under boss, oh the arguments from those games.

My father bringing home slabs of chocolate from Hootens where he worked, it was so delicious and my mother would melt some down in a pan to make me chocolate milk WOW.

There was nothing extravagant or any today's luxury items in our daily lives, but when I think back, we were the riches people on earth, we had the love of family, the joy of friends and the richness of a place called the 1st Ward, what a magical time and place lost forever except in my heart and mind.

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