Christmas Lights

by Marianne Pepe-Murray


Harry T. Roman's story about Newark and the Christmas lights brought back many beautiful memories. My uncle, a bachelor who purchased a new Cadillac every two years, would always take us for the Christmas light tour. We lived in the Roseville section of Newark back then and we would start our "cruise", as my uncle would say, looking at the lights in our neighborhood and gradually work our way to the Forest Hill section.

The beautiful homes with lights and decorations on the right and the park on our left as we rolled down Lake Street was even more exciting if it was snowing. The grand finale of the tour was the viewing of Madame Jeritza's estate on Elwood Ave. between Clifton Ave. and Parker St. Every inch of her property was decorated with lights and Christmas characters. Cars would pull over and park so the children could take pictures. Happy faces were everywhere. Our family "cruise" would end at Ting-a-Ling's where we would get pizza to bring home. Ah, what a magical night!

In 1965 my family had to move because my grandmothers property on North Seventh Street was needed for the service road of Route 280. You can just imagine how thrilled I was to learn that our new home was going to be on the most wonderful street in the world - Lake Street! Our house was between Elwood Ave. and Heller Parkway. My husband, (who grew up on Summer Ave.) and I are still here.

We can't seem to find the "character" of this old house anywhere else.

So "thank you" for your memories of Christmas in Newark. By the way, the park is still beautiful when the snow falls. :)

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