Hey, We Vailsburgians are Alive and Kicking!

by Old Newark Memory Submission


Hey, we Vailsburgians are alive and kicking! Newark was a great place to grow up in because you lived in a community where there were so many different types of ethnic groups, second generation immigrants. There was a real sense of neighborhood back then. We never locked out doors until the riots. Then everything changed.

Oh, by the way, I'm from Oakland Terrace, and I remember "Joe Crawford's" He was a little sloppy fair-haired man, always in a dirty t-shirt and had the biggest eyeglasses! God, I remember how he used to chase the kids from the corner. Nunizio the taylor was nearby and there was a butcher shop down the street at one time. Much later I think there was an Italian Club" across from Crawfords. There was a tavern around the corner but I can't think of the name.

I graduated VHS in 1967. My father was principal of Franklin School until 1972 and my Aunt Helen taught English at Barringer. I have fond memories of riding my bike all the way up to Seton Hall, sledding down the hill in Cameron Field, feeding the ducks there. Grunnigs on the hill was the place to go for a date if you had a car. Of course, Boylan St. Pool and lemon ice on the way home. No lemon ice has ever taste as good since! On Halloween you took your pillowcase and stayed out til midnight, going over the line to South Orange to get the good stuff...quarters and apples. Never afraid, cause you were with a pack of kids from the neighborhood. I remember Farah Butan (whose family supposedly owned Polander Jelly Company) who lived on what we kids called the "island" - -a big house all by itself on a circular block.

Humn...remember Friday night dances at Lincoln School? Sticking your comb in your shoe. And how about roller skating in the gym, carrying the skate key around your neck and carrying your skating case. (Pompoms on your skates of course) I too had Ms. Racoppi and I had a crush on the crew-cutted Mr. Johnson. I do remember Ms. Racoppi used to sit everyone according to their grades. How degrading. You could never get away with doing that now. The kids would be in therapy and the parents would sue! I always felt sorry for the last kid in the last row. Ms. Racoppi would comb all the tease out of the girls' hair too. And Ms Camisa had to be the oldest teacher in Lincoln School, the nicest too. Everyone I ever talked to was in her class. ..Mr Limongello for gym....And Mrs. Weiss (scary) the principal with flaming red hair and a ton of makeup...old Ms. Smith with a cane, Ms. Schoen with the crooked mouth....the flamboyant art teacher with jangling bracelets, Mrs Quinlan Hall patrols with white belts.(what an honor)...Mr. Muscatello the wirily little music teacher teaching "auditorium" an Italian lullaby song wrote...."dormi ...bella.....?

What else....Elizabeth Lodato lived way down the street from me near the corner and the Aquinos. Ed Kozic lived two houses away. More names....the Finklesteins, Rich Garrigan.....wow...memories. We neighborhood kids all played in the street and sat on the stoop till the street lights came on. My earliest memory is going downtown, eating lunch at Woolworth's counter and my mother buying me a "Revlon doll." Then we'd stop at Chock full of Nuts and my mom would get coffee and a donut. S'kleins (on the square of course) and McCory's were on the other side as was Hahnes.

And, (sigh) Saturdays at the Stanley Theater, (two features and a cartoon), the Mayfair Theater, the Silvercrest Bakery and Margie's Cake Box on South Orange Ave and by Ivy Hill there was another bakery and a little luncheonette we'd go after shopping at Kings - Paulette's (her Italian husband MIke was a great cook) Two 5&10s on the avenue as well as two theaters. Geez, there was two of everything. At 12, I took the "54" downtown to shop or the 31. AND I am still friends with my childhood girlfriends from Sanford Avenue, the Ruggerio sisters.

Whew, Your web site has thrown me into memory lane. Thanks!


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