by Sharon


It was wonderful reading the other people's reminisces about Newark. I, too, grew up in Vailsburg and remember swimming in the summer at Olympic Pool and then going out on to South Orange Avenue and getting a lemon ice from a tiny vendor store. I lived on Stuyvesant Avenue at the time and one of the things that I remember that I'm sure most people have never seen was a milk machine across the street from my house. If you forgot to go to the store the day before, you could run across the street and put some change in the machine and out would come a quart or half gallon of milk.

Another memory I have is the butcher on South Orange Avenue just up from Stuyvesant. When you went into the store it was covered in saw dust that got swept clean each day. We would go to Olympic Park to ride the rides and go swimming and the Good Humor truck got everyone's attention each night. We very rarely locked our doors and we played out in the streets. When it was supper time, our mothers would go to the back door of the house and yell out our names until we came home. Everyone looked out for the kids and if you didn't behave someone else's mother would give you a whack if your own mother wasn't around. We stayed outside till it got dark and even then we often wouldn't go home until the call came. We would walk down the Avenue late at night and never worried about our safety.

I went to Lincoln Public School until sixth grade and then St Ann's Catholic School until the summer of 1968 when the riots took place and it wasn't safe any longer to go there. My family lived in Vailsburg until 1982 when they finally moved out.

Another favorite memory was driving through the streets of Vailsburg just before Christmas and seeing all the Christmas decorations. There was one house (I don't remember what street) that was just incredible! Every year there were more lights than before and the man who owned the house would dress up as Santa. He had a sleigh on his front lawn and at night would hand out candy canes to anyone who stopped in front of his house.

My grandmother was a waitress at Kresge's and we would go downtown to visit her and do all our shopping at Broad and Market street.

I have wonderful memories of growing up in Newark, NJ. Thank you for letting me share some of them.

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