Santa at Bambergers'

by Andrew Fresco


The Christmas season started with a big Bambergers' parade, which started at a park on Central Avenue in East Orange and slowly moved down Central Avenue until it got to Bambergers' department store in downtown Newark.

With the arrival of Santa, downtown went into the holiday mode. The streets were jammed with shoppers, the Salvation Army played Christmas carols, ringing their bells, many Santa's helpers and all the stores were decorated. Most famous was the Bambergers' window, which was concealed until Santa arrived, then the drapes parted to expose a Christmas animated screen. This corner was already famous for the numerous amount of people who met under the Bambergers' clock, which hung above the window.

My mother would take my sister and I downtown on the trolley car to see Santa. We would take the elevator to the sixth floor. As we stepped off the elevator there was the record department, where you could select records, go into a booth, listen to them and then decide if you were going to buy them. There were counters full of toys and games, with many wide eyed kids looking for something they would ask Santa to bring.

We stood in line to talk to Santa, told him we were good and what we wanted him to bring. We would then go to the counter which had the items we asked for and there my mother would give them our address and tell them to send it C.O.D. (cash on delivery). We were told this was what we had to do so that santa would have our address. The packages were delivered by Bambergers' trucks, to my Dad's store, where he would pay for them C.O.D.

Our next stop was the basement. Bambergers' had their 'Dollar Day Sales', everything on sale was a dollar. My mother shopped and everything went C.O.D. to my Dad's store. While we were in the basement it was time for lunch. Bambergers' had a cafeteria. A Ham sandwich for 25 cents and a cup of coffee for 10 cents. We then got on the trolley car and went home waiting for Santa to come.


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