Scary Memories

by Newark Talk Collective


Caroline :
What "scary" memories do you have from childhood that relate to the Newark scene? We tend to deny that anything "bad" existed in the Newark of decades gone by, but all children have fears of certain things. Some scary things for me were: walking down Rose Terrace past Woodland Cemetery on Halloween night; harmless drunks sleeping on the sidewalk and rag pickers -- I had to walk past them on my way home from the Hayes St. branch of the library and shook in my shoes doing so; the bully who lived on 14th Ave. near Hayes St. who would beat you up if you chose to go in his direction instead of going past the drunks; being sent to the principal's office. What scary memories do any of you have?

I lived in Newark from 1942-1953. I was 11 when we left, and I never found anything scary. I would take my cousin to Olympic Park, by bus, walk through and play in West Side Park, and really was not afraid of doing either. Perhaps the scary stuff happened after I left Newark. In my short 11 years, I found it to be a great place. My mom and I even walked, at night, to Springfield Avenue to go to the movies.

Do any of you remember the really big twisty trunk trees in Branch Brook Park? Does anyone know the correct name of the tree?
My scary memory: My sister and I would climb up high in those trees and look down as people walked by. We laughed and sang songs and just had fun. I always feared that one of us would fall out of the tree or someone would call the police and we would be told to climb down, and then be arrested. We really enjoyed climbing. I guess it was fun and scary too!

Besides every teacher I ever had ,it was the dreaded "cellar" with those eerie very scary coal bins....

Caroline...The only memories of Newark that were scary to me were those warning sirens that went off on Saturdays after the last War (WWII) When I was a kid, they were loud and scary.

Mary Ellen:
Hello! Boy Tommy O...did you bring up a very scary memory! The air aid sirens and pulling down your shades...was so scary! If you didn't do as you were told...a warden would come to your house and possibly arrest you. My dad was very stubborn and
wouldn't turn off the could see the light from the back of the radio. The warden came to our house and almost arrested my dad. You could hear the planes and people being was a very unsettling feeling. Do you remember when food was rationed?
I do...although I was quite young...some memories do not go away. I remember when the war was over...and I remember when President Roosevelt died.
And yes Caroline, I remember seeing the drunks in the doorway of the stores by us. The Cemetery scene was another scary thing...but while it was also was thrilling too! Thanks to for reminding me about what we felt in the years gone by!

Thank you for your scary memories.
CT--Our cellar was scary too. I had to go down there to get kerosene. The front part of the cellar had been my great grandfather's bakery (turn of the century era) unused for many decades. It had lots of old equipment and was always pitch black--very spooky.
Mary--Your neighborhood experiences in 1957-1963 feel like a time warp to me back to how my neighborhood was in the mid 1940's. I lived on Camden St. (extension of 2nd St. for you North Newarkers) just in from Springfield Ave. It was getting pretty grim there in 1957-1963.
Tommy "O"--I remember the sirens but they didn't seem scary. Maybe that's because I have no memories of the war except for a vague one about V-J Day.
Mary Ellen--Ditto as above about vague memories. I never heard about having to pull the shades down and a warden coming around. I was too young to have known anything about food rationing. Did you live near Springfield Ave.? I never saw drunks anywhere else but there probably were other places they hung out.

Mary Ellen:
Hi Caroline...I must be a tad older then you are. I think we all had our neighborhood drunks. Good guys but sad too. I use to live next door to a tavern that wouldn't let you get drunk...if you were thrown out. Then they would go across the street to finish up the job. Woman too...I think, unless you lives in the country...most of us have stories about them. Poor souls!

Jeanette Van Skike:
Does anyone remember the white lady in Branch Brook Park? I lived in Forest Hills near the railroad tracks. There were a few hobos who would come to the door looking for food.

John V. Fardella:
Caroline, I couldn't find Jeanette on Newark talk, but she mentioned the "white lady from branch brook park. I remember the story. She was killed there on her wedding night and comes back every year to appear at the dangerous curve. I've seen her a few times. Have you?

I remember the White Lady of Branch Brook Park. Kids used to put on sheets to scare people. When you came around the corner, you saw the tree painted white. Didn't she die on her wedding night, and her dogs were with her too.


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