I went to Avon Avenue School. I recall
the principal, Dr. Edith Gann, a very diminutive (but very strict)
lady who lived at 738 High Street. She was also principal of Maple
Avenue School during my last year (8th grade) when I attended there
as well. I believe her father was a rabbi with a connection to the
Oheb Shalom synagogue on High Street.
In Avon Avenue School, I had a fellow classmate, one Paul Milmed,
whose family name was originally Melamed, and whose family were
all in the legal field. I recall him telling me he was related to
a Kussy family, who first helped establish Congregation Oheb Shalom
around 1850, they being from Germany. I believe the name Kussy is
an important one in the early Newark Jewish history.
I also attended Avon Avenue School with a Steven Gabbe (formerly
Gabrowitz), who is now a very famous infertility doctor, once associated
with the University of Pennsylvania. I believe he is now on the
West Coast, I have seen him several times on television talk shows.
His mother was a substitute teacher, and he had a sister Maxine.
The father, I believe, was some type of dancing teacher.
I have been told that Jerry Lewis (nee Levitch) used to live at
#1 Hillside Avenue, corner of Avon, prior to his vaudeville parents
moving to #1 Lehigh Avenue, a large and elegant apartment house,
also on the corner, looking over Weequahic Park. The family lived
on Hillside Avenue, also an apartment building, sometime in the
late 20s or 30s. I recall Jerry Lewis had a favorite aunt living
on Chancellor Avenue, Irvington, whose address he gave, in order
to attend Irvington High, after he was expelled from Weequahic High,
for some type of "funny" remark made to the principal,
during an assembly program. It was this same aunt who was viciously
murdered in the 1950s, out for a walk on Chancellor Avenue, and
mugged and robbed. I recall Jerry Lewis offered a fifty thousand
dollar reward leading to the capture of his aunt's murderer, but
I do not believe the murder was ever solved, or the murderer caught.
Another name comes to mind: this person came from a brilliant
family, who were all attorneys, and she, too, was one of the first
women attorneys to practice in Newark. She was considered to be
an eccentric. Her name was Miss Lillian Clawans, and she used to
have a storefront practice on Clinton Avenue. What made her so eccentric
was that she kept many types of animals, in the store, living quarters
being in the rear of the store. I recall even her having live chickens
as pets, as well as an assortment of cats and dogs. It was said
that she was very reclusive in her old age, but she owned a great
deal of real estate, near East Orange, N. J. and rented out many
of her properties. She was a spinster, never married, and she was
supposed to be a very sharp cookie.
I also attended Weequahic High, with a daughter (Susan Finkel)
of the Finkel Family, whose several brothers were judges in Newark.
Her father was also a judge, and her brother, a young attorney,
died tragically of a heart attack in his early thirties. The family
lived in a beautiful home on Hansbury Avenue, complete with uniformed
maids. Susan invited me for a luncheon at their home one time. We
were classmates at Weequahic High and she felt bad that I lived
as an orphan in the Hebrew Sheltering Home on Chancellor Avenue
opposite the "Y". We were excellent friends, and I recall
being dazzled at all the wealth this family had, and yet, were such
kind and unpretentious people. Her mother, Anne, was an elementary
teacher at Maple Avenue Elementary School. She was a beautiful blond
haired lady, very kind, a little bit on the "zaftig" side.
My half-brother married into the Dr. Aaron H. Haskin family. He
was the director of the then Newark Health Department, and the former
Martland Medical Center (City Hospital).