Every weekday morning about 5:00 AM the
big trailers from Dugan’s Bakery would come rumbling down
North 4th Street past our house, heading for Bloomfield Avenue and
points all over the city and county. The noise would vibrate my
bedroom in the front of our red brick, two family house. Those trucks
were my early alarm clock. I didn’t mind though because I
knew what was inside those trucks------the best baked goods in town.
My wife grew up in East Orange, and also had a sweet tooth for
Dugan’s products, especially the cupcakes. There must have
been a glaze of icing 3/8th inches thick on those babies. We laughed
recently while both remembering how we used to peel off the icing
and eat that last. At the plant, which occupied a block and a half
at the end of 4th and 3rd Streets, adjacent to the City Subway,
was a company store where you could buy their products. From my
backyard, I could see the tops of the Dugan’s buildings, just
down the street. But I had it better than most, my Uncle Mickey
lived upstairs and worked for a while at Dugan’s. Many times
he brought us a treat from work.
Their local delivery trucks were small, funny looking, two-toned
vehicles, the front of which always reminded me of a squashed nose.
For some reason the brand name on the vehicles has stayed in my
mind- “Gertenschlagger”- most likely German. These stubby
little vehicles zipped around neighborhood streets, replenishing
local store stock on a daily basis. Sometimes inquiring local boys
and girls managed to liberate a few items when the driver went inside
to deliver his products. Hey the power of a sweet tooth is not to
be taken lightly.
Often we would play street softball between the factory buildings
on Abington Avenue. The street was wide and plenty long enough.
You just had to make sure the ball didn’t go down one of the
covered corner sewers. There weren’t many trucks as they were
all out delivering goods, so it was safe to play there. Sometimes
the workers would take their break and watch us.
Dugan’s has been gone now for over 40 years. I seem to remember
that Carvel Ice Cream bought them out. But, how I would like to
see a Dugan’s bakery box again and taste their cupcakes. They
probably would taste awfully sweet to me now, but I’d sure
like to relive that moment one more time. My wife wants to taste
their tarts again…... me too, the pineapple ones.
I can almost hear those trucks.
I think I smell confectionary sugar.
Response by Debbie Dugan