During the late 1920s, before I reached
the age of ten, I lived in the old Third Ward on Montgomery Street,
five blocks down the hill form Prince Street, the main shopping
street for Newark's large and growing Jewish population.
The Prince Street block, from Spruce Street to Montgomery Street,
was lined along the curbs on both sides of the street with pushcarts.
The numerous business establishments along that block also had outdoor
sidewalk stands where their merchandise was easily accessible to
the numerous passing shoppers, mostly Jewish housewives.
My Sunday Morning Treat
I recall eagerly looking forward to walking up to Prince STreet
on Sunday mornings to shop with my mother because it usually meant
a rewarding visit to "Der Grubber Peddler." (This translated
into English as 'The Fat Peddler').
Der Grubber Peddler, the name by which he was known to one and
all, had his pushcart along the curb on the west side of Prince
STreet, about 50 feet north of Spruce Street.
My excited anticipation of a visit to Der Grubber Peddler was fueled
by the strange nature of his Sunday morning offerings: broken toys
and damaged houseware and household items -- all unsaleable and
considered discardable. We suspected they came from Bamberger's.
I recall one of my mother's great buys which adorned our kitchen
shelf for many of my growing-up years. It was a large ceramic cookie
jar the size and shape and look of a pussy cat. Its cover, which
neatly fit the rounded jar opening, was a clown's head.
My earliest toys were broken wind-up toys, usually with broken
springs, or missing parts, and almost always bearing a "made
in Japan" imprint.
Money was scarce in our family, and I fondly recall that, with
minor exceptions, nearly all the toys of my early childhood originated
with Der Grubber Peddler on Prince Street, and gave me many hours
of pleasure, each at a cost of a penny, or a few pennies.