We lived on Hawthorne Avenue, next door
to Cohen’s Knishes, and up the street from Silver’s
Bakery, from the time I was four years old, until I was almost eight.
Oh those wonderful knishes, which we were always able to smell from
the side door of our flat, and my absolute favorite at Silver’s
was their charlotte russe!! My father was a delivery person for
Silver’s for several years, and I recall many rides in his
truck. I also miss the fantastic treats we’d receive from
my cousin, Lily Baron, the caterer! I believe she was located on
Wainwright St., and she made the best chopped liver and kishka ever!!
I started school at Hawthorne Avenue, and I guess I will never
know for sure the reason I was terrified to go there, but when we
moved to Weequahic Avenue and I started third grade at Maple Avenue
School, everything was fine, and I was no longer afraid! I do recall
in very early grades some not so “enlightened” teaching
methods, to put it as tactfully as I can, so it’s quite possible
that this was the source of my fear.
On Weequahic Ave., we lived next door to Young Israel Synagogue,
and my most vivid memories were of all of the adults and children
congregating in front of our house, during some of the Jewish Holidays.
Some of the boys I knew also used to come over and swing in our
backyard before Hebrew School classes. (I believe our house, which
was eventually razed, became a parking lot, and the synagogue building
and its annex became an extension of the local elementary school.)
Our family doctor was Arnold Rosenthal, who had his office in his
basement on Renner Avenue; he loved to go fishing, and he always
went away for the month of August, which is when I always managed
to get sick! I was born at the Beth, as were two of my children,
all three of us delivered by Dr. Rosenthal.
There is no way to be able to go into all of my memories, but I
don’t want to forget about summer school at South Side (2
summers), in order to get through high school in 3.5 years and to
be able to graduate in the month of June, instead of January, and
how I learned to appreciate one particular French teacher, Mr. Bauer,
whose mother was our favorite substitute, and who got us through
an entire semester’s worth of French in only a few weeks!
(I will always remember Mr. Epstein’s stink bombs!!! This
was before he became the Principal of Weequahic. I will also never
forget my freshman science class and how Mr. Seltzer was never able
to figure out how the kids at the back of the class suddenly knew
the answers to all of his questions – fed to them by Mr. Epstein,
of course, as he sat back there, observing!)