Random Memories of Growing Up on Wainwright Street in the 1950's

by Andrew Malekoff


I was born in Beth Israel Hospital on May 14, 1951. As an infant we lived on Johnson Avenue, but my memories of my childhood until about 1960 are growing up at 268 Wainwright Street on a second floor flat. I believe that Wainwright was a general in the military.

Down the corner on Chancellor Avenue was Hoffman's Bakery (great Jewish rye and rolls) and Kristloff's (stationary, etc.) where I bought Camel cigarettes for my parents (at 25 cents a pack) and Pay Day candy bars for myself. Further down on Chancellor was Hot Dog Haven (I loved the greasy french fries served in small brown bags); and still further down was Halem's luncheonette where I used to buy Superman comic books. I used to go to with my mom to Pik 'N Pay. I remember the barrels of pickles especially.

In the summer's I went to Fabyan Swim Club near where they built Valley Fair. I remember Yogi Berra showing up at Valley Fair for their opening (I think).

I attended Chancellor Avenue School through the fourth grade. I remember the following teachers: Mrs. Herman (K), Mrs. Dutchin (3rd), Mrs. Finkel (1st), Mrs. Zinberg (4th). I think my 2nd grade teacher went out on maternity leave and I guess I have blocked out her name. I remember the big rock in front of the school and Untermann Field where I attended many of the Thanksgiving Day games against Hillside HS. I saw Eddie Feiner, the softball king, and his four man team play there and I still have their autographs from that day when I was probably about 8 years old.

My father owned the PON bar and grill on the corner of Clinton and Hunterdon Street. I used to go there with him on Sundays as a kid. This was a bar and packaged goods store. He once told me that Miss Frances from "Ding Dong School" went there; also the great prize-fighter Mickey Walker, whose autograph I have from the visit. I think "Ding Dong School" was a TV show from those days.

Across the street was a sporting goods store and around the corner a movie theater. I remember the riots in 1967 and the National Guard and tanks. The PON (Pride of Newark - also a brand of beer) was originally owned by my grandfather, Harry Goldberger.

My mom, Evelyn Goldberger and her sister and brother and parents (who came over from Poland) grew up in the Weequahic section and my father Izzy Malekoff grew up in the South Side Section. My father and his brothers and sister and their parents (who came over from Russia) grew up on Peshine Ave. The boys were all athletes for South Side High School. I still have many stories and photos re South Side HS sports that appeared in the Star Ledger and Newark News from those days. In one they referred to a black teammate of my father's as "the little colored flash," something that would cause huge protests today of course. In another they talked of my father being quarantined because his brother came down with the Scarlet Fever. Pretty interesting stuff.

In the fifties I recall the guy coming around with horse drawn fruit wagon; the "Whip," a ride for kids; the Ferris Wheel ride; and assorted ice cream trucks.

I moved away from Newark to Maplewood in time to attend the fifth grade there, but I often think of my days in Newark.


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