My Memories

by Elisa Serio


Last year, in October, I went to the St. Lucy Feast in Newark for the first time in over 40 years! My cousins and I pinned money on St. Gerard and walk with St. Gerard for a few blocks… was wonderful! I was so emotional and I felt like our mothers….in spirit were with us. It meant so much to be back in the old neighborhood one more time. It’s very different now but you can feel the spirit of all the wonderful people who loved Newark.

I lived upstairs from my grandparents on Norfolk Street but moved to South 15th Street in 1950 and then finally S. 18th Street around 1955. We were never very far from my aunts and uncles who lived around Newark or close by Belleville and the Oranges. My Grandfather and Grandmother lived on South 10th Street. All my mother sister’s and brother’s would visit my grandparents every Sunday. We had wonderful times together. I remember my grandfather had a wonderful yard and of course the typical Italian garden! The flowers and vegetables and of course the grapes to make wine which he did in the basement. I remember his worn out hat but also his wonderful big nose and his playful smile. He surely was a character. I remember thinking he looked like Jimmy Durante. My grandmother was the best cook although my mother won the prize in the family for the best cook. Although my mother has been gone over 40 years, people who knew her still comment on how wonderful she was and that she was the best cook! She died very young at the age of 48.

I went to South. 15th Street Elementary School. I remember walking home from school every day for lunch. Sometimes I would go to my Aunt Fran’s house on South 17th Street who lived close by and she would always fix me a bologna and cheese sandwich. And a tastycake for desert.

We had “cloak rooms”, and Mr Schwartz was our gym teacher and he taught us tap dancing, mastered the parallel bars as well as the horse. It was wonderful! Who remembers our librarian Ms. Crummy?

I later attended Madison Jr. High and then on to West Side High on South Orange Avenue. I graduated in 1963, the last of the January graduations. There were around 95 graduates that January. I got engaged at my prom.

When I was young, I lived one block from West Side Park and I remember going to concerts with live bands. Having snowball fights on the hill, only the brave went down the hill on a sleigh and lovers lane was off limits. My husband and I grew up not far from each other. He lived on South 15th Street across Springfield Avenue. He gave me my first kiss in the “alley way” when we were just 8 years old. We later met again at CYF teen club at St. Andrews Church on Clinton Avenue. We had so many memories of dances, Halloween parties, going on scavenger hunts throughout the neighborhoods. Back then everyone knew everyone. We hung out at a soda shop on Clinton Avenue called Condo’s.

Bob and I live in Florida now but visit Jersey for family reunions, weddings….etc. We always try to get the one and only Italian Hot Dog Sandwich. All the family have moved to North or South Jersey. But the memories live one and the stories are told at every get together.

I have such wonderful memories that I could fill a book and then some.

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