My "Little" Memories of (West) Newark

by Kathleen Trotta


I was only 6 years old when we left Newark to move to Iselin in 1952.

We lived on South 7th Street in a 3 family house. We lived on the first floor, the Greiners lived on the second floor, and the Chalmers lived on the 3rd floor.

I have fond memories of the Chalmer's home - they had a piano which I played with my feet!! Mr. Chalmers yelled at me for doing that!! Mrs. Chalmers had a sewing room - and I loved the smell of it. She baked with "Crisco" and it looked like vanilla icing to me. She asked me if I'd like a taste of it and I said "yes"!!!!! YUCK!!!

When my brother, George, was about to be born, (May 1950), I was whisked up to the Greiner's during the night. I remember Eileen Greiner being so nice to me.

The Chalmers' were wonderful to me, too. Rita Chalmers walked me to school at St. Antoninus when I was 5 years old.

Across the street from St. Antoninus was the most wonderful "Lemon Ice" that I've ever had!!!

Then there were the McGuire's who lived next door to us. The McGuire girls took me to the library and I loved the covers of the books.

My best friend was Bernadette Crane, her father worked for Coke-a-Cola. When I moved at 6 years old, I never thought I'd see her again, but I did. When I attended Woodbridge High School, Class of 1963, Bernadette was a school mate of mine. Small world!!!!!

My mother would give me a shopping list when I was 6, and I was to go to the A&P on Central Avenue to buy baby food for my brother. I couldn't read at the time, so I'd ask some nice looking woman to help me decipher what my mother has written. I can still see one of the woman's face who was kind enough to help me.

I remember the toy store on the corner of S. 7th Street and Central Avenue. I'd get one of those paddles with the ball and bounce it back and forth. I remember the A&P on Central Avenue. I remember a place that stuffed animals - real animals - and they were shown in the front window!!! I remember a little store, next to the A&P, that had saw dust on the floor. When you'd ask for a product, such as "Spic and Span", they'd get it off of a shelf with a utensil that had "claws".

I remember the first African-American family to move in by us. Mr. Jenkins - he had a straw hat, suspenders, the most starched white shirt I'd ever seen, and he lived directly across from us.

I had a friend named "Gracie". We sniffed glue - we had no idea what it was, but it smelled good!!!! Remember, we were only 6 years old!!!

I have lots more memories - and I'm surprised as I write this - seeing as I'm now 57 years old!!! I'm going back 51 years!!!!

If I think of anything else, I'll let you know!!!!!!

I'd be so happy to hear from any of the folks I mentioned here!

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