The Butcher and the Italian Feasts

by Andrew Fresco


I was born and raised in Newark. I went to 14th Avenue School, West
Side High and on to Rutgers' University (downtown Newark extension). My father had a butcher shop on 6th Street and 15th Avenue for 40 years. We lived above the store. I could member my father having flyers printed up and we would deliver them to the neighbor mail boxes. They listed his weekly specials, such as:

Pork loin 21 cents
Pork butt 22 cents
Pork shoulder 18 cents
Sausage 10 pounds for $1.00
Butter 25 cents
Pigs tails 15 cents
Eggs 9 cents a dozen

He designed a punch card, that every time you purchased something at the store , the amount was punched on the card. when you reaches $25 you got ne free gift, it could be a lamp. smoking stand, towel, pots or pans.

I also remember the Italian feasts on 14th Avenue. We moved to Camden Street and 14th Avenue. From mid summer to Labor day there were weekly feasts, honoring different Saints. They were sponsored by the different Italian societies in Newark. They would have a procession started at St. Rocco's Church , going up 14th Avenue and all the side streets. The men pulled the Statue on a wooden platform on wheels Following came the women with candles, women dressed in black, bare footed women, Priests, Alter boys, a band, baskets of flowers. and they would stop from time to time for the people to pin money donations on t he statue.

In the evening there were fire works, all kinds of rides, food, and
small bags of hot roasted chestnuts for 5 cents, hot dogs and sausage
and peppers. There used to be a greased telephone pole which the boys would try to climb to reach the prizes at the top. The prizes were whole salami, cheese and groceries.

These days will never return again, except in the memories of those that lived them


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