14th Ward

by Fred Petrozzi


I was born on So 16th Street, and shortly thereafter my family moved to Fairmount Ave. I attended Camden St and 14th Ave. Schools, as well as Cleveland and then on to West Side High.

My fondest memories were of my friends and the way we grew up as a close knit group of boys. We attended schools together, played together, and gathered in our club (Fairmount Athletic and Social Club ) on Fairmount Ave, corner of So Orange.

Many of our members entered service, but always returned to our beloved neighborhood. Many married the young ladies who lived only blocks away and most have remained with their wives till this day.

I was a parishioner at St. Rocco's and still carry the pleasant
memories of the fabulous feasts that were celebrated on 14th Ave.
Nearby stores carried freshly made macaroni , bread , pastries, ricotta and mozzarella, and the grocery stores carried the best lines of Italian products. There were numerous fruit and vegetable stores, butcher shops, shoe repair, and barber shops.

On our block there were Italians from Southern Italy, Northern
Italy, and Sicily. and we all knew and respected each other. The corner sweet Shoppe was owned by a wonderful Jewish couple,
name Dubin, and the hardware store by two Jewish men named Sokolov, who would go out of their way to help us with our problems.

Our local theater was the Congress, and in 1939 the admission price was 11 cents for kids. On Saturday they had a picture and a chapter of a serial. One of my favorites was Flash Gordon, and another was Don Winslow of the Navy and at other times westerns.

My first job at 16 was at New Jersey Tobacco, filling orders, then on to Bamberger's as a stock clerk, for 2 years till I went into the Army.

My neighborhood has given way to condos, but my thoughts are always of my block and the best years of my youth.

I lived at 255 Fairmount Ave,

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