I was born and raised in the old third
ward of Newark. We lived first on what was 201 Bank Street and at
the age of five, we moved across to West Market Street where my
father operated the Charles J. Rotondo Funeral Home.
My neighbors and friends on these three blocks above High Street
were the Doctors O'Lini on my right and the dentist Dr. Lessen on
my right. Across the street was the cardiologist Dr. Antonius next
to the pharmacy of Mr. Papas. Further down the block was the travel
agency of Donato Colavita who handled all the neighborhood business
for the Italians in the area and arranged my honeymoon trip to Europe
after my marriage to Jewel Mazziotti of 569 Summer Avenue and our
marriage ceremony at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church.
I attended St. Mary's Parochial school on High and William Street
next to the Benedictine Abbey and later moved further down the block
to St. Benedict's Preparatory where I graduated in 1947 together
with three of my best friends, Larry Wyman of 31 Stirling Street.
Charles Fagan and Francis X. Kloss who were also from St.Mary's,
Class of 1943.
I lost track of them after I attended The Newark Colleges of Rutgers
University graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.
At the end of the Summer I joined the National Guard at the 102nd
Mechanized Reconnaissance Squadron on Roseville Avenue and spent
three years attending the summer encampment up at Pine Camp, New
York now Camp Drum. Because I went inactive one summer to attend
Summer school at Seton Hall University, I was drafted in 1951, had
my physical in downtown Newark spent three days at Camp Kilmer getting
shots and general indoctrination before shipping down to Fort Dix
for Basic training.
This was during the Korean War but they called it a conflict then.
After Basic Training, four of my buddies and I were selected for
advanced assignments since we were the only recruits who had a College
education. One went to Ft. Jay, Governors Island in New York, another
went to Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, for advanced Administrative
training and three of us went to Washington, D.C. While two of my
friends were assigned to Staff Communications, I was lucky to get
an assignment to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G -
3, at the Pentagon.
During my service there, Major John Eisenhower was sent back from
Korea and passed through our office when his father, General Dwight
D. Eisenhower took over over the Presidency from Harry Truman whom
I saw many times driving around Washington. When President Truman
was renovating the White House he was living across the street at
Blair House where Puerto Rican assailants attempted to assassinate
him. My barracks was in Fort Myer across from the Arlington National
Cemetery and I was privileged to witness the funeral services for
Br. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, the hero of Corregidor during the
second World war in the Pacific.
After my discharge in 1953, I attended the McAllister School of
Mortuary Science and then joined my family's business. After my
internship, I attended the night classes at Fairleigh Dickinson
University in Teaneck, N.J. and graduated in 1962 with a Masters
Degree in Psychology but still remained with the family in the funeral
service at 279 Roseville Avenue.
There's much more but that will have to wait for another time.
Thanks for listening.