Weequahic Park

by Dolores "Dee" Boutureira


Weequahic Park was for me and my friends, our playground during the weekends and all summer. I remember the Race Track and Stables too. Really is funny how you remember things, especially the ones that you enjoyed so much as a kid. I too remember a horse that was stabled there by the name of Vies Waybill, loved that horse! Another horse who's name was something Lady, or Lady something. She was pure Black, beautiful, but a biter. Bit one of my friends (I wasn't there that day), she was with her parents. There was a very visible warning sign on the stall door of that horse, so really was her own fault. Especially since Lady had then, recently foaled, and was even more reticent to let anyone near. I remember the Barracks housing too, as one of my Dad's co-worker's lived there with his family...funny, his name was Al Capone.

I remember one Summer evening, when I and my brother were so very young, my parents taking us to the park to watch a parade there. I think it was the 4th of July (day before my birthday). There was a man (Guest of Honor, I know now) who was riding on the back boot of a convertible waving to all. Remember my Mom saying, "That's Walter Pidgeon, the actor!", funny how her saying that stays in my memory. But the best part of all of that day for me, were the colorful FIREWORKS exploding into the air, I was in awe.

I remember masses of us kids going winter sledding down, what we called, The Sugarbowl and The Teapot Hills, in the park. Trying to watch out not to crash into a big tree at the bottom. Some did. And the snowball fights. I was such a Warrior at times :-) But all in fun!
The Lake, the Gazebo, the Golf Course, the Playground. One summer in 1958, my Mom and one of my Aunt's had taken me, my brother, and 2 cousins to the playground. A man approached us all with a camera and Hula Hoops. He was a reporter for the Newark News, and wanted to take a couple of pictures of us kids using them (Hula Hoops were the new craze). Our Mom's said it was OK. So there I was on top of a sculpted stone, that to me looked like a huge ant, working three Hula Hoops at once, like a Pro. Was the first time I ever tried a Hula Hoop. Our Pics and a little story (with our names) made the Newspaper...our 15 minutes of fame! Besides, we each got to keep a Hula Hoop...how was that for being the first in your neighborhood to have something no one else had! I was about 9 yrs old, or close enough to it.

I loved that park. It was a whole wondrous world of imagination for all of us kids that played there. We would spend all our summer days/daze, doing so. Was within walking distance for us via Dayton Street (where we then lived before moving DN), so we just stayed on the side walking first past the Evergreen Cemetery (explored the cemetery many a times too), which then would become Weequahic Park (of course a fence separated the two). Ahhhh..The Wonder Years!!

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