Newark To Me

by Joel Schanerman


What was Newark, New Jersey to me…..

It was everything; it was my entire world for my first 18 years of life. My memories of Newark are filled with smiles, joy, fun, laughter, and in the end sadness of missing what I once had the good fortune of one time living.

My life in Newark, as I remember began at 48 Demarest Street, a six family apt. building that my grandfather had built along with many other apts and houses he built on Willabay Street, Dewy St, Leslie St and others I do not even know about. My aunt and her two sons lived on the third floor and acted as the landlady of the building for my papa. Across from them on the third floor lived the Stern family. Second floor lived my parents, sister and I. Across from us was the Nash family. (Prior to the Nash family was the Zebloski family.) First floor lived the Shindelman family and across from them was the Lerman family.

Everyone in this microcosm world knew and seemed to care for and love each other. The summer nights, webbed chairs were put out in a semi circle and all our parents sat there to catch a breeze and keep their eyes on us the children. We kids ran around likes nuts catching fireflies and letting them go, playing games such as: hide and seek, box baseball, asses up, jacks, handball, stoop ball, flipping baseball cards, A my name is Alice, tag and games I can’t even remember. That carefree life of a child in this neighborhood still warms my heart as I look back at that time gone by. It felt warm and comfortable to me in ways I never have been able to feel again 60 plus years later.

The expanded world of school started with Bragaw Ave. Elementary, my first grade teacher Mrs. Rabino, Clinton Place Jr. High School, (a story in and of itself for some other time) and finally Weequahic High School. There is so much I want to say, but can not say it all in one sitting.

For entertainment there was the Roosevelt Theater, Park Theater, Mayfair Theater, downtown Newark stores and restaurants, Dairy Queen, Bonds Ice Cream and on and on I could go. Too much to tell, I loved Newark, and I loved being proud of my Papa and my uncles, aunts, my parents, my sister and all my mighty cousins. We were the Schanerman Clan and proud people were we all. I still think back on my cousins and how the older ones protected the younger ones and how I could not wait to be an older one…….and sadly that time came to be an older one for me. Sadly I say only because unbeknownst to me it was bringing me closer and closer to an ending that saddens me to this very day. The day I finally left childhood and family and became a soldier.

There are so many more things to write and say, however, I stop here for fear my writing skills may not be the caliber for others to enjoy. I just needed to write this little bit of me. Newark lives on in my heart and mind with such strength I shall pray I never forget what the world once was.

Thank you for your time.


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