My name is Bob Lasher. I lived on Bergen
St from 1950 till 1960 above the stores in between the Universal
Food Market and the firehouse and right across the street from the
Park Theater. The number was 1024/1026. The three stores were Goldstein's
Shoe Repair, Horn's Hardware Store and Heineman's Radio and TV Repair
Walter Heineman was my step dad and owned the building. There
were two apartments upstairs. Walt used to sell records and repair
radios before TV became popular. He had listening booths in the
store and sold the 78 rpm records for 79 cents. Then along came
the little 45 rpm records with the big hole in the middle. As time
went on, TV repair and antenna installations took up most of his
time and records were no longer much of a money maker, so the records
were discontinued. I used to help a bit in the store, but not all
that much as it was closed a lot as Walt was busy making house calls
and carting the heavy tv sets back to the store when he could not
repair them on the spot with a changing out of a small tube or so.
Mr Goldstein at the shoe repair shop never said much. I still
remember the smell of his shop from the glue and polishes and god
knows what else he used to repair the shoes. I also remember the
giant lathe machine with brushes and other devices for trimming
the soles to the right size. I did not go in there much because
old Mr. Goldstein did not seem to like kids.....or anyone else very
much. He spent all his days alone unless he had a customer in there.
I never knew his first name!
Mr. Jack Horn had the Hardware store. He was also not too friendly
to kids. I don't remember going in there much at all! It was a typical
hardware store, pots and pans, screws and nuts.....Not much else
to say about that.
The Fire house was always a pleasure to me. Being a kid, I looked
up the those guys but never had the urge to be a fireman like them.
I remember a few of them would always be sitting out front with
their chairs leaning back against the building just watching the
flow of folks and cars go by on busy Bergen St.
I had a special relationship with most of the firemen and if they
were on their way back from a call going down Hunterdon St. and
I was walking home from Peshine Ave School, they would always pick
me up on the fire engine and take me home. I felt like such a big-shot
on those occasions.
My bedroom looked out on the second floor of the fire house and
I could see into their sleeping quarters with the narrow cots and
the top of the pole they used to slide down to the engines. Many
a nights sleep was interrupted by the clanging of the bell (a series
of clangs that would indicate the box that was pulled.) There was
a huge list of the codes and the corresponding box to tell them
where to go. The lights would automatically come on and I would
run to my window to see them run to the pole, grab on and disappear
as they slid to the fire engines down below. They let me slide the
pole many times.