School Playgrounds

by William Russo


I guess that my fondest memories were that of our school playgrounds. I attended 14th Avenue Elementary School until 1960 then went on to Arts High School.

The greatest part of growing up in Newark were the playgrounds. As you can all remember they were open and Supervised ever day till 9PM. There were many softball leagues and touch football leagues going on all year round.

Our school even had basketball indoors on Friday evenings and roller skating in the gym on Wednesday evenings. On rainy days we would go indoors and play ping pong, basketball, cards and many other activities.

Our Playground instructors, (as they were called back then) were Mr. Rosamiela and Miss Gasparini. These two people were the playground instructors at 14th Avenue school when my Dad and Mom went there, right on until my younger sister attended there, and then some. I remember going home from school changing quickly so I could get back to the playground in time for the school leagues, which ran until dinner time. Then it was back home to eat get the homework done by 7 so as to be back at the playground in time for the nighttime Pick up games. Mr. Rosamiela would hand pick each team so they would be balanced and fair.

Mr. Rosamiela would then umpire the games. His voice was really loud and strong and could be heard a block away calling balls and strikes. The evenings were enhanced by the cities own fragrances. When the wind blew just right you could get the appetizing smell of Jimmy Buffs Italian Hot Dogs or on some evenings, the Pizza being cooked at the Reservoir Italian Restaurant. These are the little things that made Spending those nights at the playground are among my fondest memories of Newark.


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