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
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.