Growing up in Newark, I lived at three
different addresses, all on Schley Street, but my Grandmother always
lived in the Cambridge Apartments, and that is where I often played.
Summers were filled with outdoor play – bikes, roller skates,
clothes line jump ropes and during one particular summer, the invasion
of the hula hoop. If you had a pink Spalding ball, endless hours
would be passed playing Russia, categories, and stoop ball. A small
chain or flat rock would inspire hopscotch games.
Sometimes we would decide to put on a show, and spend the whole
day arguing over the program and making costumes out of crepe paper.
I don’t remember the actual shows ever taking place.
A few times, a group of us would walk to the public library, which
seemed very far away. On the way home, we’d stop at Dairy
Queen for a soft ice cream cone with its trademark loop at the end.
Nighttimes we would play hide-and-go-seek, red light/green light,
or collect lightning bugs often placing their light on our finger
as a diamond ring. Day or night, all play always halted when the
Good Humor man rang his bells or if the Whip came to spin you around
and let you choose a prize upon exiting (often a woven devise that
would entrap two fingers).