My 88 year-old Mom reminded me of the
highlight of 1959. It was a typical hot, Newark summer. Every Newarker
has experienced and remembers them. During the day, you could smell
the hot tar from apartment house roofs being resealed, hear the
sounds of the jack hammers as the Water Department crews did underground
repairs, and listen to the periodic sound of jet engines as the
new, revolutionary Boeing 707's were now landing at Newark Airport
( perhaps a half dozen a day ). Eleven years of age was a difficult
period. Too young to notice girls, too old to keep yourself meaningfully
The day was BORING..... totally uneventful, until quitting time
at COTAN, a vinyl manufacturing factory taking up 90% of the block
comprising Oliver, Pulaski, and Chestnut Streets, and Elm Road.
At the 5:00 PM quitting whistle, the dozens of workers, who normally
made a bee line for the nearest Gin Mills, were scattering in all
directions. "RABID DOG !" Before I could take it in, I
was scooped up by a neighbor, Joe Klimek, and thrown into the hallway.
"STAY PUT" ! Of course, I waited 30 seconds and went outside
Ten or fifteen minutes later a patrol car shows up. The older Cop
tells the younger one to lasso the dog, which is running in circles
and dropping to the ground every now and then. Believe it or not,
on the third or fourth try, he succeeds, and ties the dog to a tree.
The crowd gathers. The two policemen confer on the front seat of
the patrol car after talking to the Third Precinct on the radio.
The older Cop gets out of the car and crosses the street to Sid's
Deli, and comes back with a pound of Bologna, in wax paper. ( 19
cents a pound....). He gets to within 10 feet of the dog and tosses
the Bologna to the dog. The dog wolfs it down and "KABOOM",
he is dispatched by the older Cop with his .38 revolver. Everyone
stares at him as he holsters his gun. Not a word is spoken until
he says: "Even a dog is entitled to a last meal".......
The adults quickly dispersed to toast Newark's Finest at their
favorite watering holes, while the dozen or so kids lingered. The
older Cop pulled out a handkerchief, removed his hat and wiped the
liner. Pointing the hat at the kids, he quietly said "Don't
ever catch rabies kids"..........
Now that was a summer !!!!