First, let me say that I think growing
up and being raised in Newark was almost a privilege. I was born
on Morris Ave. near 14th Avenue, then my family moved Down-Neck.
I think I was about 3 or 4 years of age, and we rented a three room
apt. at the corners of Adam & Downing St's.
I can remember the Rotella Soda Company being right across the
street from where I lived, and the owner Mr. Rotella would always
give us kids soda on warm days, he was a very special man to me.
Then my family moved up-town, to 15th Ave between Camden Street
and Fairmount Ave. I attended Camden Street school until the 6th
grade, then we moved again to Stephan Crane Village, right after
it was constructed. I went to Abington Ave. School, graduated and
then went to St. Benedicts Prep on High Street for 1 year, not being
a school person. Fr. Tim, Dean of Discipline, told my Mom to save
her money and send me to public school. At that time the tuition
was $150.00 per year so off I went to West Side High School, using
my grandmothers address, since I lived out of the district and there
was no busing at that time. I would take the 6 Crosstown bus every
day to go to school. I finished in 1947.
Many happy years were spent in Stephan Crane Village and I am one
of many persons that could say truthfully that Frankie Valle, aka
Frank Castelucci, grew up together. He was a singer then and you
all know the rest of his story.
In 1951, I was drafted into the US Army during the Korean Conflict,
that's what they called it then, it turned out to be a War. I was
married to my wife in 1952, just before being shipped overseas to
Korea. I was wounded in combat in October 1952 and shipped home
to Walter Reed Medical Center Washington DC. I worked for the Coca
Cola Bottling Co. 1st Ave. and No. 6th Street, and after two years
there I took a job with the City of Newark as a Police Officer.
At that time Newark was a hell of a Town. People from New York
City came into this fine city for entertainment and restaurants.
To you the pretzel man, I can remember you or your co-workers selling
hot pretzels all over the city including under the clock at Bamberger's
at the corner of Halsey St. and Market St. I can tell many more
interesting stories about Newark as it was but, I'm sorry to say,
it's been on a downward slide since the riots of '67.
I would like to end my talk by saying that in September of 1939,
there were 49 theaters in Newark, we had at least four beer companies,
that was a tribute to Newark's water. So as a Newarker, I'm very
proud that I grew up in that town during my childhood and as I became
a grown man,who served this great country proud.