Schley Street Memories

by Sara Friedman Fishkin


I lived the first 2 years of my life in an apartment house on the corner of Avon Avenue and Belmont Avenue but then our family moved to Schley Street between Keer Avenue and Field Place. I lived on Schley Street until the day I married.

My Dad, worked in Bamberger's more than 40 years, and he also worked their Thanksgiving Day parades. I recall one year when I was about 6 years old. It was a bitter cold day. My mother, brother and I took the #14 bus to either Military Park or Lincoln Park and waited on the curb for him to pass by on his float. While waiting, "The Mummers", that great marching band from Philadelphia, passed in front of us. Their wild costumes scared me because the men were so tall and their costumes so wild looking. Just then my father's float arrived and he rescued me he scooped me up onto his float and we rode all the way to the finish line of the parade.

Another vivid memory the Christmas windows of Bambergers which were filled with animated displays for the holidays.

It was one of the Bauman brothers, of Weequahic Diner fame, Leo I think, who lived in the next house on the corner of Keer Avenue and Schley Street. When their daughter grew out of her "2 wheeler" I was given that Schwinn bicycle and it became my first bike. I used to travel with other neighborhood kids into Hillside and Irvington in expeditions of adventure trying to "get lost" but we always found our way back home.

More "knock hockey" during the warm weather in the playground of Chancellor Avenue School. Air raid drills under the desk and in the basement of that school. My first kiss in front of "The Rock" at school; well-done french fries in small brown bags with wooden forks at Syd's, my first "club jacket" bought from K&K Sporting Goods; my greatest birthday present going to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, for a double header with the Dodgers vs. The Cincinnati Reds; sitting in the stands of Untermann Field with a boyfriend who explained football to me and enabled me to be the rabid NFL fan I am today.

I can still name every teacher in Chancellor Ave. Grammar school, starting with Kindergarten, Mrs. Herman, up to 8th grade Mrs. McCaffrey. Mr. Abe Kaplowitz was my 6th grade teacher and by far my favorite but I also adored the 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Dorothy Bonda. I started taking the #14 Clinton Ave. bus, alone, when I was 10 years old.

Fast forward to the present Several years ago, on a Sunday morning, I dragged my husband and neighbors down memory lane as we traced the route I remembered of that #14 bus by driving down Chancellor, across Clinton Place, down Clinton Avenue, around Lincoln Circle, past the old Medical Tower, past the old Mosque Theater (where I went to see Fred Sales, Junior Frolics and Costa French Ice Cream on Channel 13), down Broad Street to the new NJPAC. Note that my father worked more than 40years in Bambergers and was in their Thanksgiving Day parades, and my mother worked at Ohrbachs. I graduated from Rutgers, Newark. I didn't leave Newark till the day I got married.

Now I am about to move to Florida and I wonder why! So this past Sunday we did the mini version of Memory Lane. We drove to Lyons Avenue, down Leslie Street, then drove 2 blocks on Chancellor Avenue to Schley Street. Chancellor Avenue is what it always was-a collection of small neighborhood stores. I saw tiny reminders of the old times a few facades with faded yellow tiles peaking out above the top of some store fronts and the familiar slope uphill of the street leading to the high school. Then the turn left into Schley Street and voila...a pleasant surprise. The street looked quite good. The houses seem well kept with manicured lawns and plenty of trees. On the corner of Keer and Schley I pointed out the house where Leo Bauman lived to my husband. The one-family and four-family houses looked the best. We continued into Hillside to the Monroe Gardens and felt I had gotten a nice little Newark "fix".

Thanks again, for creating your wonderful Newark website.


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