Growing up in Newark was so wonderful.
It gives me so many great memories. My family and I lived in a 6
family apartment house on 16th Avenue and Springfield Avenue. We
lived on the third floor. That is where I met my closest friend,
Doris Hatt. We were only 5 years old at that time. Her family live
on the second floor. My brother, Karl Naecker and I went to Camden
Street School in the 1930's. There was always something to do in
those days. Going to the parks - Westside Park, Weequahic Park,
Branch Brook Park and Olympic Park, where they had a free circus,
rides, concerts, a great skating rink and the largest swimming pool
in New Jersey. Or we would go to the movies. We had the Ritz Theater
on Springfield Avenue. For 5 cents you would see two pictures, a
couple of cartoons and the news. Or you could go downtown to a movie.
The Adams Theater on Branford Place had the big bands and singers
on Saturdays. Glenn Miller was always a thrill. Or you could go
to the Lowe's Theater or the Paramount Theater.
In the summer all the kids in our neighborhood would play games
like kick the can, mother-may-I, hop scotch, jump rope, stick ball,
marbles, hide and seek and red light, right in our backyards. Or
we would get on our roller skates and skate on Morris Avenue. On
days that it rained we all put on our bathing suits and would sit
on the curb and put our feet in the water that ran down the street.
We just loved to get on the Springfield Avenue bus and go downtown
to shop in Bamberger's, Hahnes, Orbachs and Klein's on Broad and
Market Street. After shopping we would stop in Nathens for a hot
dog and root beer. That was a real treat.
When I was 12 years old my friend Doris moved to Irvington and we
moved to an apartment on Springfield Avenue and Morris Avenue. My
friends father owned a motor store below our apartment called Hatt's
Motors. Next to that was Schinners Grocery Store and Reliable Electric.
Down the street was a deli called Mendles where you could get a
roast beef sandwich that was out of this world. Mr. Mendle had a
picture of Max Baer (Prize Fighter) all over his walls. They were
good friends. At night all the neighbors would sit on the milk box
in front of Shinners Grocery Store and talk for hours. Sometimes
in the summer we would all pack a picnic lunch and meet up on the
roof where we would have our picnic. On the fourth of July we would
go on the roof to watch fire works. You could see all over when
you were on top of the roof. My brother Karl and I belonged to an
athletic club in the mid 1930's called National Turners on Bruce
Street. At one time we gave an exhibition at Montgomery Park. It
was very exciting. Once we even had a celebrity come to the club,
it was Johnny Weissmuller. They took pictures of us and one of the
pictures was of my brother standing on Johnny Weissmullers shoulders.
They did that because my brother was the smallest boy there and