St. Patricks

by Maryanne Van Sant


I wrote an earlier memory and mentioned we lived on Summit Street just off central Ave., about four blocks from downtown. My sisters and I went to St. Patrick's grammar school. We would walk down Central Ave. to school, home for lunch, back to school. My mother & her sister who lived on Burnet St (now the site of the new St. Michael's Medical Center) thought nothing of walking downtown at night. I used to walk to school alone at times when I was eight years old. We passed Lustic's Soda Fountain Shoppe at the corner of High St.(now MLK Blvd) and Central Ave. After school my sister and I would walk over to the Newark Library and the Newark Museum. The Museum had an after school program for children and we would attend this, probably once a week. 

My father, Ted Mack, worked at Bingo for St. Patrick's from the early 1950's until the late 1980's. My whole family would perform in the annual variety shows St. Patrick's would put on for the community. Freddy Sleckman was the piano player. It was like a small town - everyone knew everyone else. Every Easter we would drive to Branch Brook Park to see the cherry blossoms. 

My father was born in 1908 in Newark on 5th st., but I am not sure what section of town this is. He lived above a cabaret. My mother went to St. Bridget's grammar school, and St. Vincent Academy where she graduated in 1931 I believe. She would walk from Summit St., across Warren to the school. Newark was very safe. I remember she told me that the higher up you lived above the downtown area, the wealthier you were (this was in the 1880's and turn of the century). These were truly the glory days of Newark. What a wonderful town this was.


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