Madison Avenue & Avon Avenue School

by Florence Colandro


I grew up at 66 Madison Avenue between Peshine & Jelliff Avenues. I was born in 1945. There was a mix of all ethnicities and everyone got along very well. I remember playing in the backyard & in the alley between the two 6 family tenements. We played for hours on end & we were never, never bored. Such games as hopscotch, red light & giant steps. We even played in the rain just to get wet and cool off. Our mothers had to come & drag us in the house. We rode our bikes up Clinton Avenue to Irvington unbeknownst to our moms.

We had three corner stores to choose from on the corners of Madison & Peshine Avenues. We also had the Avon Movie which I think charged .15 at the time. I used to go with my mom & they would give away a piece of china and you could make up a set.

I went to Avon Avenue Elementary School & would go to Tony's Hot Dogs on Avon Avenue sometime for lunch or would bring lunch which was usually tuna fish. To this day I cannot get my tuna to taste as good as it did back then when my mom made it. There was always fish on friday for dinner since we were Catholics. Blessed Sacrament Church was where we worshipped every Sunday. Also I remember going to the butcher on Bergen Street near Avon Avenue and was always given a raw hotdog which I proceeded to eat as was. We also used to walk down to the Sears store on what I think was Johnson Avenue.

The best thing was Olympic Park where we would go on the #13 bus up Clinton Avenue. I remember the best caramel popcorn & going into the fun house and the mirrors that distorted they way we looked. The candy apples were unsurpassed. The best was the Loop de Loop and the whip. I could go on forever!

We all walked to school (no buses). The only big food store was the Food Fair on Clinton Avenue between Jelliff & Peshine. I also remember Dugan's bakery outlet on Clinton. They had the greatest cake which was yellow cake with pink frosting. There was also Silvercup bakery near Belmont Avenue which had a outlet where my aunt worked. We always had cakes & pastries which is probably why I am so addicted to sweets.

Do you remember the perfume in the navy blue bottle "Evening in Paris"? My mother used to buy this in the pharmacy on Clinton Avenue. I would love to catch a scent of it today. Nobody in our neighborhood had much of anything but we were all happy. Most all of the moms were stay-at-home mothers. We used to grocery shop with very little money but we ate pretty good. Many nights were egg nights. I could go on forever. We had no phone, a coal chute to the basement and an iceman who brought us ice.

I was nine years old & very sick so my mom used someone's phone to call the doctor, the doctor came to the house & drove me to the Babies' Hospital (Coit Memorial) in Newark to have my appendix removed. It was an emergency.

Like I said I could go on endlessly. It is wonderful to have a forum where we can share our memories! Thank you so much!


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