Fond Memories of the Forest Hill Section

by Sharon Gesell-Casale


Fond memories of my childhood growing up in the great city of Newark.

Originally I was from the Ironbound Section and attended Saint Columbia. My parents decided to move on up so we rented an apartment on 683 Broadway right next to Broadway Jr. High. That place was a real dive so we really didn't stay there to long.

My parents had saved enough money to buy a nice little house on Coeyman Street. There we would settle in for the next 30 years. We loved that little house. We would walk around town with no shoes on in the summer time.

We would go around the corner to Gambino’s bakery early in the morning to get fresh Italian bread. I was good friends with Louann Gambino and would go in her back yard and pick bing cherries from the great big tree that was in the center of her yard. We also would go over to the “lot” where all these really cute guys would hang out including my brothers who didn’t want me around.

I had some good friends that I wish I could find today. One girl named Gracie Santistaban was my very best friend. She wore the coolest clothes. She had a brother named Archie that I heard years later died from Hodgkin’s disease. Gracie, if you’re out there, Hello, How are you?

I went to Our Lady of Good Counsel through grade school and had some great friends. There was Wands Rodriguez, Virginia, Kelly Carlucci, Arlette Cascella, Hey Arlette What sup?

Of course wearing those really ugly uniforms was a drag. I had to walk past Jenny’s on Summer Ave. every day coming home from school and the guys from the wrong side of the tracks would goof on me.

Some of those guys were really hot!! I ended up marrying one of those guys. Tommy and I have two children and live in a nice house in Nutley. My mom still lives in that cozy little house in Newark to my dismay.

It is painful to see what has happened to that nice little neighborhood where I used to walk barefoot. Although the memories always come flooding back each and every time I go down there to visit. If anyone from Summer Ave. comes across this memory and would like to type a few words.

I had some really good times hanging out at Elliott Street School playing wall ball or cars. My very best friend in the world Siobhan Speck would find people to go and by some beer for us at the old ladies liquor store on Summer Ave. We would use the bag from the quart of beer to sit on so we wouldn’t dirty the seat of our really tight pants.

Summer time on Summer Ave. was the greatest time of our lives. We did some great stuff. We were quite resourceful. We went camping at Camp Mohegan. We went to New York to Madison Square Garden at least 20 times to see the Hottest Groups.

We rented in the Poconos, went down the shore and rented the…..

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