I was born January 1939 and grew up at
311 south 7 Street, between 14th Avenue and 15th Avenue. Right across
the street from Manzi's Tailor Shop. That was before they opened
the men's Clothing store on South Orange Ave. I went to 14th Avenue
Grammar school and West Side High School.
My grandfather owned the house we lived in with my mom's brothers
and sisters all living there with us.
My family lived on the right side second floor. My uncle Pat and
his family lived on the third floor, left side, right next door
to my Grandfather and Grandmother, who lived on the right side.
My Aunt Eve and her family lived on the first floor, left side with
my Aunt Rose and her family next door on the right side.
My uncle Pat moved to Clifton and his brother, my uncle Chick moved
into that apartment. My Uncle Joe stayed in one of the front rooms
with his wife when he first married.
For years we did have one family who was not related to us, the
Salerno's living on the second floor right next to my family.
In those days there was no TV, but we had something better, we had
the front stoop and the back porch. There were many wonderful hours
spent in the front or back, sitting listening to my uncles telling
stories of when they grew up. Or my grandfather telling us stories
of when he grew up in the old country.
If someone in the group was hungry there were plenty of places to
satisfy our urge. There was Jimmy Buff's for great hot dogs on 9th
Street or the Reservoir club if you felt like a pizza. If someone
felt taking a ride then a sandwich from Big Stash's could be the
treat. And there was always lots of home made wine to wash it down.
It's so hard to find a good loaf of Italian bread today but then
it seemed there was an Italian bread store on every corner. We had
DE Marie's on the corner of 7 street and 15th Avenue. If you didn't
want Jimmy Buffs hot dogs, there was Rella's, on 14th Ave. right
before 10 street and just a few doors away from Buffs. Sam's was
on 9 Street and 15th Ave, La Braccas on Littleton Ave and 16th Avenue,
and there was Mandy's between 10 and 11 Street on 16th Ave. Butcher
shops, Grocery stores, fruit and vegetable stores, were also plentiful.
One of best places to go was the lemon Ice store, no other flavors
as I remember, just lemon ice, but it was great.
St. Ann's church was on the corner of 16th Avenue and 7 Street,
right across from Sileo's Candy store. In 1953 our softball team,
the Sileo's won the West Side Intermediate Championship, with a
22- 2 season. Right after the game we played our father's a softball
game than went to Vinnie Playa's house to play moerda (Italian game)
where we had a boss and underboss deciding who would drink or who
would not have a drink. Great fun and a wonderful time in my life.
Living in small towns is wonderful, but today's kids will never
experience what we did growing up in Newark in the 50's.
When I run into someone who lived in Newark in those days, I often
suggest we round up the old gang and all move back to the old neighborhood.
But I guess that's just an old guy doing some wishful dreaming.